Pension Records

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Pension records document requests for the financial aid offered by the government to those who have given military service and offer unique glimpses into your ancestor's life.

From these files you might learn some or all of the following: the applicant’s name, spouse’s name (possibly even a wife’s maiden name), rank, military unit, length of enlistment, and residence at time of application.

Pension records document requests for the financial aid offered by the government to those who have given military service. Even if your ancestor did not apply for his own pension, his dependent family members may have. These records give valuable genealogical data such as names, dates of service, addresses and other military history. Many families were dependent on this source of income.

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  • The best way to find a military record is to enter as much information as you can into your search. The more you tell us about your ancestor, the easier it will be to find good matches about him or her.
  • In your searching, remember to allow for name spelling variations and that sometimes records only used one or more initials for the given names.
  • Since each collection includes different information, it is valuable to search collections that apply to your ancestor individually. Once you see the results for some individuals you can see what terms might be useful in the Keyword field to refine your search.
  • With some record collections, the description provides instruction for how to receive additional information. For example, when you locate someone in the US Civil War Pension Index, you can send away for copies of the case file, which contains more additional information, often including a personal history questionnaire.
  • Once you find a matching military record, save it to your family tree – that way you can provide evidence to back up the info in your family tree, easily share your discovery with your family, and quickly find the historical record again later.