Pension Files from the National Archives

Pension 1900 2


Military pension applications can be treasure troves of information for family historians. In order to qualify for a pension, Civil War soldiers had to provide a great deal of information, often supplied by their friends and relatives who knew them well.

The Archives holds pension applications for service between 1776 and 1916. The files are most complete for Union Civil War pensions. (They do not keep Confederate pension files. They are held by the individual states.)

The National Archives website describes veterans’ and widows’ pension files as follows.

These files often contain supporting documents such as: narratives of events during service, marriage certificates, birth records, death certificates, pages from family Bibles, family letters, depositions of witnesses, affidavits, discharge papers and other supporting papers. (See

You can find the index card for your ancestor at Fold3 and use the information on that card to order the complete file. I’ll be happy to go to the Archives and copy the documents for you.

$25.00 /hour + expenses

Retainer upfront; Balance due on completion


Washington, DC, United States


National Archives at Washington, DC

Ordering instructions from jginmd

I’ll look for your ancestor’s service record and pension index card on Fold3 if you haven’t already done so. At the National Archives, I’ll submit the information from the card and copy the pages in the file, either the entire file or selected for relevant information. If the file is not found, I’ll investigate to see if additional cards were created and resubmit the request.

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