In the 13+ years I’ve been researching, I’ve never ordered or even seen a Civil War Pension File. Well, I’ve seen images of some of them on various websites, but never seen one in it’s entirety. And, certainly not for one of my ancestors. So, this was an exciting moment for me.
I know that they can be full of family connections, history and other important information.
In this case it was the Civil War pension file for my 3rd great granduncle, William Lunsford, born 16 Mar 1816 in Mason, Warren, Ohio. He married Nancy Massie in Sep 1836 in Ohio. They had 12 known children. William served in the Civil War from 1861-1864 in Company H, 9th West Virginia Infantry. William Lunsford died at the National Home for Disabled Soldiers in Dayton, Montgomery, Ohio on 20 May 1887. Cause of death – Softening of the brain.
I had located a Pension Index cards several years ago for both William, who applied before his death, and Nancy, who applied after his death.
You can locate indexes to the Civil War Pension files at several websites. However, the records themselves are not yet scanned and available.
General Index to Pension Files 1861-1934: NARA TO288
United States Civil War Widows and Other Dependents Pension Files, 1861-1934
Here are the two pension index cards I located:
Because I belong to a Facebook page called The Lawrence Register, I have met many descendants of my ancestors. It’s an extremely active group. I’ve been back to Lawrence County, Ohio and met some of those Facebook friends in person.
One “cousin” I met was Randy. We believed we might be related via our Lunsford line. However, during the many years we have communicated we have pondered an additional marriage for William Lunsford, prior to Nancy Massie. A recent DNA test by Randy has proven that we have no actual blood connection. This is the beauty of DNA testing. It can really assist you in your research, but that’s a discussion for another post.
P.S. Randy and I have decided to remain virtual cousins anyway.
I was more anxious than ever to get the pension file for William Lunsford and discover what it would say about marriages, children etc.
One of my contacts from another Facebook group Detroit Genealogy, has been so busy pulling documents from the National Archives that she has moved from Detroit to Maryland. She is now closer than ever to the archives. Her name is Deidre Erin Denton and she can be found at Twisted Twigs on Gnarled Branches Genealogy. By ordering your pension file from Deidre you save money and time.
The website for ordering pension files directly from the National Archives is Veteran Service Records
I ordered the file through Deidre’s service and was not disappointed. In fact, I was so happy that I’ve ordered a second file for another ancestor.
This file for William contains 174 pages!!!
What will it tell me? I can’t wait to find out.
STAY TUNED FOR THE NEXT POST ABOUT THE PENSION FILE AND WHAT I LEARNED FROM IT
DISLCAIMER – I make no money nor benefit in any way from the work that Deidre Denton does regarding pulling files at the National Archives. I make no guarantee about her work. The opinons expressed here are strictly my own.
Do you have any pension files for your ancestors?
OTHER POSTS THAT MAY BE OF INTEREST
THE CIVIL WAR - HOW OUR COUNTRY DEALT WITH THE AFTERMATH
TOMBSTONE TUESDAY - Civil War Soldier Headstones
Copyright © 2010-2016 Diane Gould Hall
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. NO USE WITHOUT PERMISSION
Hi Cousin, I read this blog with interest as I would like to find more info on my Civil War ancestor, I have 64 pages for proving his children were his children but I would like to know about how he served and about his death, he was injured in the Battle of the Mines July 31, 1864 and died a couple weeks latter. Would Deidre be able to find that info? Also curious if he was awarded Metals. DebReplyDelete
Debora - As far as the battles. I know there are hundreds if not thousands of books out there documenting the various battles. I've seen them at the FHL and our local libraries as well. You might even try Google books or Archive.net to find entries from books. I've found lots of downloadable books mentioning various ancestors. Anything published before 1923 is public domain. Hope you find what you're looking for.Delete
Thanks for stopping by.
The Battle of the Mine (no "s") was more famously known as the Battle of the Crater. You can read about it here: http://www.beyondthecrater.com/resources/bat-sum/petersburg-siege-sum/third-offensive-summaries/the-battle-of-the-crater-july-30-1864/Delete
I also found it on the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors database on the National Parks website: https://www.nps.gov/civilwar/search-battles-detail.htm?battleCode=VA070
Thanks for the link and the info Miriam.Delete
I THINK THIS IS WONDERFUL!!!! KEEP UP THE GREAT RESEARCH!!!!ReplyDelete
Thank you Davey. There is certainly never a dull moment when researching our family.Delete
Very exciting! I'm looking forward to reading more.ReplyDelete
Thanks Anna. Can't wait to share. Hope I can get something up in the next two days before we go out of town for 4 days.Delete
I'm excited for you, Diane! I have NINE Civil War soldier ancestors...all my dad's ancestors! I've gotten pension files for most of them and have found the most amazing info. One in particular, who was a brick wall ancestor, had a marriage certificate for the marriage to my female ancestor which had never been recorded in the county records. There was also a doctor's statement saying he had tended to the wife as she was dying, and gave the date, place, and cause of her death, which also had never been recorded with the county!ReplyDelete
Another file told me about a third marriage of an ancestor. My great-great-grandmother was the last child of the first marriage; her mother died shortly after she was born. I knew about the second marriage (which produced no children). Not only did my twice-widowed ancestor marry for the third time to a woman who was young enough to be his daughter, but they had a son, named after Woodrow Wilson. The family from the first marriage was scandalized, and basically had no more contact, which is probably why I had never heard of these details.
Enjoy your pension file! I hope you find lots to blog about!
Thanks Miriam - It sure is chock full of family information. I just ordered another one. I think this is gonna be like eating potato chips - hard to stop :) :)Delete
How exciting! I have only one pension file in my possession - it's for my great, great grandfather who, by the way, died in Detroit. He is the only Union soldier I know of, though I have quite a few Confederate soldiers! I've been thinking about using Deidre to pull a file for me, and I believe I will! I don't know why I haven't pursued this earlier. Looking forward to seeing what you found!ReplyDelete
Just like you Dana. I wonder why I didn't pull these files earlier. I know that the cost and the lengthy wait were two reasons. But, now with Deidre working on these it will help many of us.Delete
Yes. Love the pension files! They are full of unexpected surprises. I actually found a full widow's pension on Fold3. Over 100 scanned pages. They have indeed scanned entire files, just not all of them. According to one of the Archivists I sat with at the National Archives, Fold3 scanners missed so much because they rushed the job, but they did manage to scan the bulk of the records. There's gold in these files. The last one I obtained from the Archives had original baptism records for all the children, a marriage record sent from Germany, and the marriage and death certificate for her 2nd husband (my 4x great uncle) from NYC.ReplyDelete