27 April 2007

Need a death date for a Civil War Veteran?

Need a date of death for a Civil War veteran, but have no idea where to look?

The Organization Index to Pension Files of Veterans Who Served Between 1861 and 1900, on microfilm at the National Archives, the Family History Library (card catalog reference), and Footnote.comhas a line on each index card for when and where the soldier died.

Many cards do not have a death date and place (at least I saw quite a few that did not), but it might be worth a try if you know the guy was in the service and just can't find out where he died and do not want to order the entire pension file to find out.

The card in this post is a sample of one from the 78th Illinois Volunteer Infantry, the same unit as my ancestor and his brother. Of course their cards did not have a date and place of death, but I already knew it.

The main thing is that this might be a help. Using the cards on film (NARA or FHL) requires that one know the unit (because that is how the cards are organized). Using the cards at Footnote.com
only requires a name as they are indexed.

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05 February 2007

Write Your Congressman

I never thought my family was the kind to write letters to their Congressman.
Apparently my great-great-grandmother was just that kind of person--especially when it involved her pension. One has to admire her gumption, she didn't even wait to get home to Illinois to write her complaint (she likely was visiting her daughter in Minnesota).
Nancy was denied a pension several times, but was finally approved.
We're a stubborn bunch (and apparently a little outspoken too).

Civil War Pensions are WONDERFUL documents. Treat yourself to your ancestor's Civil War pension file---it'll be a great history lesson. Mine certainly have been.

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22 January 2007

Getting Union Civil War Information

In order to order a pension from the National Archives it helps to know some details about the unit in which your ancestor served. Genealogists who are trying to pinch pennies, now have one more source to help them find if their ancestor got a pension from the federal government.


Footnote does charge, however, you can view some information at no charge...just not the images. Footnote has the Regimental Index to Union Civil War pensions on their site. Viewing the cards on the site is NOT free and requires a membership or a fee per image. However, the citation listed underneath the card is free and is enough to allow you to order a pension from the National Archives. And if your guy is in the index of pensions, then he obviously has a pension.

The image here is one you would need a membership to view, but the "citation" below the image would be enough to order the pension from the National Archives.

There are other finding aids for Civil War information, some of which are free and some of which are not. Our page of Civil War pension information has links to these sites and some articles about obtaining and using Civil War pension records.