Tuesday, August 23, 2016

CIVIL WAR PENSION RECORD FOR WILLIAM LUNSFORD ~ How I began my review and some of what I found

Page 59 - Isaac Darling_Page_002 Page 59 - Isaac Darling_Page_003

OK, so you’ve received the pension record for your ancestor.  It might be 25 pages or 225 pages.  Now what?

You can read my post here that tells you how I ordered this record.

Since I’d never done this before, the first thing I did was read through all 174 pages.  As I did, I wrote down a couple of notes of import. One was a deposition by a woman saying she was Nancy Massie Lunsford’s sister.

I have yet to prove who Nancy Massie Lunsford’s parents are, so finding a sister’s name would be a great clue.

I also noted, during that first read through, a deposition from a man who states that he married William Lunsford’s sister in about 1870.  Another great clue.

TIP:  If you’re anything like me, you are going to be so excited to have this record that you’re first read through will be done too quickly to catch all references to family and/or events.  Don’t worry about it, just enjoy it.  You have plenty of time to go back & “really” read those pages.

It’s day two now and time to begin going through this record, again, slowly.  The documents are NOT in chronological order.  One thing I generally don’t do is create any paper for my research.  In other words, I keep records digitally.  That was true here too.  I sit at my desk where I have two monitors and do my research from there.  The nice thing about reading any document on your monitor is the ability to enlarge it.
I sat here with my notepad and as I came to something important in the document I wrote down the page number and what the item referred to.

Here are a few examples of what I found.  There are many more.  Remember, you can click on any image to enlarge it.

Page 14 – Nancy’s declaration that she married William under the name Nancy Massie, and that they married on 17 Sept 1836. (I don’t have a marriage record for this couple, but found a reference to them being married Sep 1836, in Ohio, on someone’s tree on Ancestry.  I made a note of that in Legacy)  Also on this page was the name of the person who married them, Jesse Corn and the location Greasy Ridge. I know of the Corn family from Lawrence County, Ohio and also the location Greasy Ridge, from the same county.

Page 14 annotated
Page 14

Page 45 – A declaration by Joseph Massie, who states that he is a cousin of Nancy Massie Lunsford.  Good to know, as it may lead me to her parents & family.

Page 45_Joseph Massie_annotated
Page 45

Page 59 – Declaration by Isaac Darling who is not related to either William or Nancy Lunsford.  He claims that the children of the “old woman” all testified against their father and that Bazell (son Basil Lunsford) got judgement.  The “old man” anticipated the judgement and sold off property and stock.  Also on this page this person claims that the claimant (Nancy Lunsford) is living with her sister Rebecca Ferril, until a month ago when the sister died.  Now the claimant (Nancy) lives with her son, Basil Lunsford.

Page 59-1 - Isaac Darling_annotated
Page 59

Two more pages I’ll share with you today.  These give the details of William’s death on 20 May 1887 at the Central Branch, National Home for Disabled Soldiers in Dayton, Ohio.

Williams death page 1_ANNOTATED Williams death page 2_ANNOTATED

There is so much more in this 174 page file.  But, I think you have the general idea of the value of these pension files.  Do they all have this much information?  I expect it varies from file to file.  However, I’ve heard nothing but good things about the content of these pension files.

Have you received Civil War pension files for your ancestors?

If so, how did you record what you found in the file?  What was your step by step procedure?  Please leave your comments here on the blog or write your own blog post and leave the link to it in a comment.  I’d love to hear from you.

Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2016   Diane Gould Hall


  1. I have only one Civil War Soldier, Isaac Seaver (1823-1901), but he had a 93 page pension file which included birth, marriage and death records for him and his three wives. I made a table and put the pages in chronological order, and transcribed quite a few of them in my Amanuensis Monday series. I agree with you - the records are amazing and fascinating. Have fun!!!

    1. I'm surprised that you only have the one soldier Randy. Glad though that you were able to get that pension file and it contained good information. I'll go look on your blog and check for what you wrote.
      Thanks for stopping by.

  2. I have a USCT service file, pension and his 1st wife (2nd husband died) trying for widow pension after his death; except both later remarried after C/War.. It listed their early circumstances of their lives, enslavers (name/locations), their marriage date/location/by whom (a church in New Orleans LA); and their children's names/dates of birth. It appears Her 15yr plus battle, was that He remarried and was listed as a widow(&DOCUMENTS) at time of death. Causing the 1st wife, unable to receive the pension. Via her various reports of persons, - these people were either family(not listed as such) or others that had known her for over 40yrs. It was a wonderful find. We had family lore that stated she had done this. Names and their spellings change at times - via different records - census, marriage, service and pension... but we found it :) ...I enjoy your blog... thank u GJ

  3. Ok, I'll probably have to blog about my Civil War pension file, too. If I remember correctly, it is ninety something pages long. And, it was great for giving more "meat" to these ancestors!

    Anyway, you have uncovered some wonderful documents and it sounds like you should be able to make a lot of progress on this family. That's wonderful!

    I know this should be easy, but could you tell me what program you use to make the red boxes and notes? I need to be doing this. Thanks!

    1. I look forward to you post Dana. And, I use Paint for all my annotations. Easy little program.

  4. Preservation and digitization seems to be taking all of my time lately and I'm not getting to do much research so it has been extra fun to read this post and look at your find. Very interesting, thank you for sharing it.

    1. Anna,
      The preservation and digitization does take some serious time. I did it in small doses, giving myself breaks for research. That being said, it's very easy to get so sidetracked we forget to go back to the project. Good luck and thanks for stopping by.

  5. First thing I do is create a calendar of documents in the file. This list is a brief description on my computer of the nature of each page, with names so it is searchable. I do not reorder the documents at this point. When I go back for a detailed look it is easy to add more description of contents.

    1. I like your idea of the description for each page. I have more work to do on this record and especially before I receive the next one I've ordered.
      Thanks for stopping by.


I look forward to reading your comments. If you have any connection to the people mentioned in this blog, please let me know. I write about mine and my husband's ancestors and would welcome new information or meeting a new cousin or two. Thanks for visiting and come back soon.