POLL: How many people have ordered the pension records of their civil war ancestor(s)?

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David Wilson

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I have found my ancestors pension to be invaluable to my research. The age and depth of the collection makes it one of the oldest and widest collections of personal data available on US citizens (consider that more than half of World War II army personal records burned in a fire during the 1970's).

I would assume that many people who follow this forum here have already ordered those pension records if they could, but I was curious to know and suspect others would be interested as well.
 

John Winn

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I have ordered a number of them, both for family members and for vets buried in the cemetery where I volunteer. I agree that if there's a pension file one should definitely get it. They contain a lot of personal and genealogical information that often isn't available any place else (e.g. details of all marriages, births of children, all the places an applicant lived after the war, details of medical conditions).
 
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DixieRifles

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Collierville, TN
I have ordered a couple of Military Service Records but not many Pension Records. I was given Pension Records of my Wife's ancestor which had some detailed information about the property they owned, etc.

I have found my ancestors pension to be invaluable to my research. The age and depth of the collection makes it one of the oldest and widest collections of personal data available on US citizens (consider that more than half of World War II army personal records burned in a fire during the 1970's).
Don't believe everything they tell you about the burned records---not even the NARA archivists. I've heard many examples of people who were persistent and eventually got a file sent to them. Also, a WW2 Vet's military records can be found in the unit's records at the NARA Library at College Park, MD. Besides duplicate copies of the General Orders that issued certificates, medals and duty assignments, there are Morning Reports, artillery Daily Journals, and other documents that may detail events in a soldier's career.
 

David Wilson

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I have ordered a number of them, both for family members and for vets buried in the cemetery where I volunteer. I agree that if there's a pension file one should definitely get it. They contain a lot of personal and genealogical information that often isn't available any place else (e.g. details of all marriages, births of children, all the places an applicant lived after the war, details of medical conditions).
I have a one page document from a pension file. It has a summary of some of his activity muster and medical. My problem is with the number of dates listed with the exceptions for muster. There seem to more dates then events and events are out of sequence. Can you have a look at it or can see if any of your Union pension documents have a similar note ? Thanks
 

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Arioch

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yeppers.....I've been contemplating ordering a few others from his regiment....looking for answers to questions that have come up in my own inquiries

I found more info in his pension file than his service file....just this particular case...it is by no means a given...just happened to be in my / this case
 

John Winn

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I have a one page document from a pension file. It has a summary of some of his activity muster and medical. My problem is with the number of dates listed with the exceptions for muster. There seem to more dates then events and events are out of sequence. Can you have a look at it or can see if any of your Union pension documents have a similar note ? Thanks
I don't see events as being out of sequence; not sure what you mean by more dates than events. These summaries are in all the ones I have. The war department was basically just verifying the service record - i.e. saying "this is what our records show." Sorry I can't answer your question.
 

huskerblitz

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I did for a relative who died and whose parents applied for a pension. Unfortunately, the 80 some pages didn't give me a bunch of new details but neat nonetheless.
 
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Drew

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I have GG Gran's, GGG Gran's and my Grandad's favorite crazy Confederate uncle's pension records. They mostly bear out the family stories. It's fund to see it in their own hand.
 

J. D. Stevens

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I ordered the pension filed by the widow of my great grandfather, a trooper in the 5th Michigan Cavalry. I received 120 page gold mine of genealogical information found by the Pension Bureau. In the pension he is always referred to as "soldier." There was no problem with the "soldiers" service, but after the war he was married 3 times. He was a stone mason following the construction trade and worked in several midwest and western states until he died in Chicago in 1892. Wife #3 applied for a pension, but it could not be awarded until wife #1 and #2 were confirmed as dead or divorced. The Bureau sent investigators to several states looking for family members who gave dispositions which were included in the pension. Also included were marriage, birth, and death records found by the investigators, as well as locations where he worked at various times. The soldiers two sisters had corresponded with wife #2 while following the soldier's trade in Colorado, Oregon and California. At some point wife #2 was ill for some time and died. The investigators found and interviewed people out west who knew them, but they never located a death certificate, nor could they confirm exactly where she died. Therefore, after 10 years, the pension application was denied to the widow and wife #3.

Just for the record, wife #2 was my great grandmother. I have located a couple of city directories showing where they lived while working out west, but have been unable to confirm when or where she died.
 
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OldSarge79

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I got the pension records of my Confederate ancestors a few years back. They provided more information about their post-war conditions than Civil War experiences, but ANY new information is very welcome. The supporting affidavits by those who knew them or served with them can also be of value. More pieces of the puzzle!
 

John Winn

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Being new at this where is the best place to research or order these records? Thanks
First you've got to find out if the person of interest filed for a pension. Ancestry, and I think Fold3, both have those applications. On Ancestry, you do a search for the person of interest and then select "Military" from the list of options on the left of the page and if there's a pension application it should come up pretty close to the top of the list. I always print or download a copy; you'll need some info off the application (see example attached).

Once you've established that a pension was applied for then you have to order a copy of the file from the National Archives. You've got two choices: use their on-line service (for which you'll have to create an account with a password) or mail in a form (which is available on line). In theory the on-line service is faster - neither is even close to fast - but I've had problems getting pension files using that method for some reason - have been told several times there's no pension file when there is - so I tend to use the old-fashioned snail mail form. That allows me to attach a copy of the pension application form so there's no question there is an application (you can't attach anything with the on-line service). I've never had a problem using the mail option and have always got the files just about as fast as if I'd used the on-line service (takes six to eight weeks no matter what).

Oh, and regarding the files, you've got two options for pensions: the "complete" file or the abbreviated file. The complete file costs $80 while the abbreviated one costs $30. I've never got a complete file as the abbreviated ones are purported to contain all of the genealogical information (I'd guess the complete files have a lot more supporting documents and such).

Here's the URL for the mailable form:

https://www.archives.gov/files/forms/pdf/natf-85.pdf

Here's the URL for the Archives' on-line service:

https://eservices.archives.gov/orderonline/start.swe?SWECmd=Start&SWEHo=eservices.archives.gov

jh_hoffman_pension.jpg
 
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nc native

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I have a copy of my GGGrandfather's pension request of June 22, 1901 for wounds received at Sharpsburg which was approved. Interestingly he made his mark not a signature.
Regards
David
I found a copy of one of my 2x great grandfather's pension request in 1901 for wounds and disability suffered because of the Civil War and it was not approved. The doctor who examined him stated that while his wounds had left scars, there was no real disability that impaired
his ability to make a living since the Civil War. My ancestor was with the 34th NC Infantry and his regiment was around the Manassas /Fairfax area when his wounds were suffered according to the March 1862 date he gave when he received his wounds.
 
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David Wilson

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First you've got to find out if the person of interest filed for a pension. Ancestry, and I think Fold3, both have those applications. On Ancestry, you do a search and then select "Military" from the list of options on the left of the page and if there's a pension application it should come up pretty close to the top of the list. I always print or download a copy; you'll need some info off the application (see example attached).

Once you've established that a pension was applied for then you have to order a copy of the file from the National Archives. You've got two choices: use their on-line service (for which you'll have to create an account with a password) or mail in a form (which is available on line). In theory the on-line service is faster - but neither is fast - but I've had problems getting pension files using that method for some reason - have been told several times there's no pension file when there is - so I tend to use the old-fashioned snail mail form. That allows me to attach a copy of the pension application form so there's no question there is an application (you can't attach anything with the on-line service). I've never had a problem using the mail option and have always got the files just about as fast as if I'd used the on-line service (always takes six to eight weeks no matter what).

Oh, and regarding the files, you've got two options for pensions: the "complete" file or the abbreviated file. The complete file costs $80 while the abbreviated one costs $30. I've never got a complete file as the abbreviated ones are purported to contain all of the genealogical information (I'd guess the complete files have a lot more supporting documents and such).

Here's the URL for the mailable form:

https://www.archives.gov/files/forms/pdf/natf-85.pdf

Here's the URL for the Archives' on-line service:

https://eservices.archives.gov/orderonline/start.swe?SWECmd=Start&SWEHo=eservices.archives.gov

View attachment 306329
Your How-To was so good, you should post it again as its own post.
 
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