United States, General Index to Pension Files - FamilySearch Historical Records
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United States General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934
|This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.|
|Flag of the United States of America|
|Civil War flag 1861 (33 stars)|
|National Archives and Records Administration Logo|
|Record Type||Index to Pension Files|
|Record Group||RG 15: Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs|
|Microfilm Publication||T288. General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934. 544 rolls.|
|Arrangement||Alphabetically by the surname of the veteran|
|National Archives Identifier||563268|
|National Archives and Records Administration|
- 1 What is in This Collection?
- 2 What Can These Records Tell Me?
- 3 Collection Content
- 4 How Do I Search This Collection?
- 5 What Do I Do Next?
- 6 Citing This Collection
What is in This Collection?[edit | edit source]
The collection consists of the name index to pension files held at the National Archives. The files relate to service between 1861 and 1934. Most of the files are for Union Civil War service but also include the War with Spain, Philippine Insurrection, Boxer Rebellion and Regular U.S. military forces. The index is in alphabetical order.
State and federal governments filed pension records so as to keep track of the fund leaving the treasuries to support the veterans and widows of wars. The applications are usually reliable, depending on the memory of the applicant and the records to which he had access.
- Claire Prechtel-Kluskens. Anatomy of a Union Pension File. 34 # 3 (July-September 2008): 43-48.
- Marie Varrelman Melchiori and Claire Prechtel-Kluskens. Did your Union Army Civil War ancestor apply for a pension ? NGS Magazine 40 #3 (July-September, 2014): 39-43.
- Claire Prechtel-Kluskens. Family data circulars of 1898 and 1915. NGS Magazine 38 #4 (October-December 2012): 28-31.
- Claire Prechtel-Kluskens. Did your Union Civil War ancestor have an artificial limb? NGS Magazine 40 #1 (January-March 2014):41-45.
Copies of pension files are available from the National Archives. To request copies follow the instructions in the following link. Requesting Pre-WWI Service Records
Image Visibility[edit | edit source]
Whenever possible FamilySearch makes images and indexes available for all users. However, rights to view these data are limited by contract and subject to change. Because of this there may be limitations on where and how images and indexes are available or who can see them. Please be aware some collections consist only of partial information indexed from the records and do not contain any images. For additional information about image restrictions see Restrictions for Viewing Images in FamilySearch Historical Record Collections.
To Browse This Collection[edit | edit source]
|You can browse through images in this collection using the waypoints on the Collection Browse Page for United States General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934.|
What Can These Records Tell Me?[edit | edit source]
The following information may be found in these records:
- Name of the person claiming the pension
- Service record of the soldier, including rank, company, and regiment
- Enlistment date
- Discharge date
- Date pension was filed
- Whether an invalid, widow, or minor
- Application number
- Certificate number
- Additional service information, including company and regiment
- Death date of the soldier
- Death place of the soldier
Collection Content[edit | edit source]
Sample Image[edit | edit source]
How Do I Search This Collection?[edit | edit source]
Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:
- The name of the soldier with the pension
- The age and birth place of the soldier
- The state and county where the solider lived
- The dates of military service
- The military unit in which the solider served
Search the Index[edit | edit source]Search by name on the Collection Details Page.
- Fill in the search boxes in the Search Collection section with the information you know
- Click Search to show possible matches
View the Images[edit | edit source]
View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page
- Select Surname Range to view the images.
|More images are available in the FamilySearch Catalog at United States General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934. Some catalog records link to multiple references. In this case, click on a reference to find a camera icon to see images.|
How Do I Analyze the Results?[edit | edit source]
Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.
What Do I Do Next?[edit | edit source]
I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]
- Add any new information to your records
- Use the age to calculate a birth date
- Use the death dates to search for death certificates, mortuary, or cemetery records
- Use the age to calculate an approximate birth date
- Use the birth date along with the residence or place of birth of the deceased to locate census, church, and land records
- Compile the entries for every person who has the same surname as the deceased; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual
- Continue to search the records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives who may have been seeking the pension
- When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct
I Can't Find the Person I'm Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]
- Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for alias names, nicknames and abbreviated names
- Try alternative search methods such as only filling in the surname search box (or the given name search box) on the landing page leaving the other box empty and then click on search. This should return a list of everyone with that particular name. You could then browse the list for individuals that may be your ancestor
Research Helps[edit | edit source]
The following articles will help you in your research for your family in the United States.
- United States Guided Research
- United States Record Finder
- Research Tips and Strategies
- Beginning Research in United States Military Records
- US Military Basic Search Strategies
Related Family History Library Holdings[edit | edit source]
- General index to pension files, 1861-1934 NARA T0288
- Organization index to pension files of veterans who served between 1861 and 1900- 1917 NARA T0289
- Index to general correspondence of the Record and Pension Office, 1889- 1904
- Index to pension application files of remarried widows based on service in the Civil War and later wars and in the regular Army after the Civil War NARA M1785
- Lists of Navy veterans for whom there are Navy widows' and other dependants' disapproved pension files (Navy widows originals), 1861-1910 NARA M1391
- Compiled records showing service of military units in volunteer Union organizations M0594
Related FamilySearch Historical Record Collections[edit | edit source]
- 1890 Census of Union Veterans and Widows
- United States Civil War Soldiers Index, 1861-1865
- United States Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards, 1907-1933
- United States Index to General Correspondence of the Pension Office, 1889-1904
- United States Civil War and Later Pension Index, 1861-1917
- United States Civil War Widows and Other Dependents Pension Files, 1861-1934
- United States Remarried Widows Index to Pension Applications, 1887-1942
Related Digital Books[edit | edit source]
- Thayer M. Boardman, Myra R. Trever, and Louise W. Southwick, comp. Preliminary inventory of the administrative records of the Bureau of Pensions and the Pension Service, (record group 15)Washington, D.C. : National Archives & Records Administration, 1953
Citing This Collection[edit | edit source]
Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.
When looking at a record, the citation can be viewed by clicking the drop-down arrow next to Document Information.
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.