From the Ancestry Daily News
Before the PensionThe National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) recently began allowing researchers to make online requests for copies of some records. This week we take a look at military pensions, specifically those from the Civil War era. Completion of the request requires that the researcher know something about the ancestor's service, so our discussion begins with some ideas of where to locate those details.
Biographies and Obituaries
Mementos and Family Heirlooms
Scroll down--there is information on other microfilm publications besides T288. This index is also online at Ancestry.com and available to subscribers.
Organization Index to Pension Files of Veterans Who Served Between 1861 and 1900. T289. 765 rolls. 16mm. [rolls 1-400].
This index is not by soldier, but rather by unit. The cards are arranged alphabetically by state, then by arm of service (infantry, cavalry, artillery), then numerically by regiment, and then alphabetically by veteran's surname. The information is similar to the information contained on the General Index to Pension Files T288.
Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards, 1907-1933. M850. 2,539 rolls. [rolls 1-1000].
World War I pensioners are not in this finding aid.
Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards, 1907-1933. M850. 2,539 rolls. [rolls 1001-2100]
Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards, 1907-1933. M850. 2,539 rolls. [rolls 2101-2539]
Family History Centers
General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934. T288. 544 rolls.
Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards, 1907-1933. M850. 2,539 rolls. [rolls 1-1000]
NOTE: For those having difficult viewing the extra long links for the Family History Library, locating the film reference in the catalog is not difficult as long as the following steps are followed.
General Index to Pension Files or Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards
The appropriate reference should be located. Film can then be borrowed through your local Family History Center.
Ordering the Pension
Genealogists can order selected documents from the pension file by requesting the Pension Documents Packet from the National Archives. The entire file can also be ordered.
What You Need Before Ordering
The more details you are able to provide, the easier it will be to locate the correct file. If your ancestor's name is somewhat common or you are uncertain about many of these facts, it may be to your advantage to view the appropriate roll of the General Index to Pension Files or the Pension Payment Cards (referenced above) and determine if any entries appear to be for your soldier. The cards are not the same as the entire file, but they will provide you with adequate information (particularly pension file number) with which to order the file from the National Archives.
The pension documents packet will contain, to the extent that these documents are present in the complete file, eight documents that contain genealogical information about the pension applicant. The pension documents packet will include any of the following items that are in the file--declaration of pension, declaration of widow's pension, Adjutant General statements of service, questionnaires completed by applicants (numbered forms), "Pension Dropped" cards, marriage certificates, death certificates, and discharge certificate.
The complete set of papers costs $37 regardless of how many pages are sent.
Ordering the Records
Offline requests are done via form NATF 85 Military Pension Claim Files 1775-1916.
Those who wish to use the US Mail can request that form NATF85 be sent to them by following the directions on the NARA site.
Those who wish to request form NATF85 may also send a letter addressed to the National Archives and Records Administration, Attn: NWCTB, 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20408-0001, indicating the number of forms (limit of 5 per order) and the address to where they are to be sent.
Next week we take a look at a complete set of papers and the genealogical information it contains.
Michael John Neill is the Course I Coordinator at the Genealogical Institute of Mid America (GIMA) held annually in Springfield, Illinois, and is also on the faculty of Carl Sandburg College in Galesburg, Illinois. Michael is the Web columnist for the FGS FORUM and is on the editorial board of the "Illinois State Genealogical Society Quarterly." He conducts seminars and lectures on a wide variety of genealogical and computer topics and contributes to several genealogical publications, including Ancestry Magazine and Genealogical Computing. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at www.rootdig.com, but he regrets that he is unable to assist with personal research.
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