The National Archives and Records Administration
(NARA) and FamilySearch
have announced a partnership to digitize case files of approved pension applications from widows of Civil War Union soldiers.
The agreement will kick off with a pilot project to digitize, index and provide access to 3,150 pension files. When that’s done, FamilySearch, along with records site Footnote.com
, plans to digitize and index all 1,280,000 pensions in the series.
Oh, happy day!
That’s a huge step toward easing genealogists’ research and restoring their good will toward NARA, which recently doubled pension file ordering fees to $75
. Pensions aren’t microfilmed, so paying the fee, visiting NARA in Washington, DC, or hiring an on-site researcher are currently your only options.
Widows' pension application files often include supporting documents such as affidavits, witnesses’ depositions, marriage certificates, birth records, death certificates, and pages from family Bibles.
According to the announcement, the digitized records will be free at Family History Centers
, with an index free on the FamilySearch Web site. Images also may be available for a fee on a commercial site.
The digitized pension records also will be free at NARA facilities, and NARA will get gratis copies of the record images and associated indexes.
This is part of a broader partnership announced today, in which FamilySearch staff will camp out at NARA five days a week with high-speed digitization cameras. Ultimately, it'll mean you have ready access, through FamilySearch and Family History Centers, to court, military, land, and other government records dating as early as 1754.