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# Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Civil War Widows' Pension Files to be Digitized
Posted by Diane

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.


FamilySearch | Footnote | Genealogy Industry | Military records
Tuesday, October 23, 2007 12:20:43 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #  Comments [4]
Wednesday, October 24, 2007 8:20:58 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
PS: If you Civil War ancestors, you might be interested in our July 2007 research guide. Lear more about this issue and see our online Civil War resource list at http://www.fwmagazines.com/product/454/36 .
Diane
Monday, October 29, 2007 11:26:00 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
I have gotten my Union soldier pension file. Does anyone have a clue if these will also include Confederate soldiers who were PRISONERS OF WAR. I have a Confederate great-uncle who was in prison on Pea Patch Island at Delaware City, Delaware. After his release he went back to North Carolina and finally returned to Delaware to work for Henry DuPont at his estate. I have been unable to locate any files on him. His name was John W. Chapple (various spelling have surfaces). Thank you for any help you can give....Kathi
Kathleen S. Gannon
Monday, October 29, 2007 1:33:27 PM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
Hi, Kathi,
As stated in the article, this digitization includes case files of approved pension applications from widows of Civil War Union soldiers.

NARA doesn’t have Confederate pension records because the Union didn’t award pensions to Confederate soldiers or widows. Try contacting the state archives of the place where your ancestor lived when he filed for a pension. (See the Civil War research article mentioned in the first note for more information on pension and other Civil War records.)

NARA has some microfilmed Civil War prison records, including M598,Selected Records of the War Department Relating to Confederate Prisoners of War, 1861–1865.

See http://www.archives.gov/publications/ref-info-papers/109/prisoners-of-war.pdf (I found this by doing a site search of archives.gov on the terms fort delaware civil war prison.

You might also be interested in Unlikely Allies, the book about Fort Delaware (the name of the prison on Pea Patch Island) excerpted at http://www.censusdiggins.com/fort_delaware.html. Also visit the the Fort Delaware Society Web site at http://www.fortdelaware.org/, where you’ll find information about submitting a research request.
Good luck!
Diane
Sunday, July 13, 2008 9:09:10 PM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)
This is great news but when can we expect it to be completed?. I need this information but $75 is a lot of money to pay.
Patsy T. Morrison
Comments are closed.