Sunday, September 09, 2007

Civil War Pension Index

Search Military Records - Fold3

I plan to order several Civil War pensions from NARA before the price goes up on October 1. Usually before I order a pension file, I first look up the soldier in the Civil War Pension Index to get his pension certificate & application number to send to NARA to make sure they will find the correct pension file.

I was looking in the Ancestry Pension Index for a soldier who was in the Pennsylvania Civil War Volunteers, but there were two soldiers with this same name from PA in the index and I wasn't sure which was the one I wanted because there wasn't enough identifying information. I had pretty much decided to order both pensions.

Then I remembered that also has a Civil War Pension Index which is from a different NARA microfilm than Ancestry's Pension Civil War Index. I had originally thought that the difference between the 2 indexes is that they had the soldiers in a different order. But when I took a closer look, I found something that made a huge difference for me to be able to determine which was my correct soldier.

General Index to Pension Files - 1861-1934.
Microfilm T288. 544 rolls. Alphabetical Soldier Index. This is the Civil War pension file available at

Organization Index to Pension Files of Veterans Who Served Between 1861 and 1900 Microfilm T289. 765 rolls. Indexed by state, then by service (infantry, cavalry, artillery), then by regiment, and then alphabetically by veteran's surname. The information is similar to the information contained on the General Index to Pension Files T288 at Ancestry with one major difference. At Footnote's index, if the soldier died after the war, the card includes the soldier's death date and where he died at the bottom of the card.

Here is the death date from the Footnote Civil War Pension Index for one of the 2 soldiers with the same name that I was trying to decide between:

The death date gave me the info I needed to be able to order the correct pension file. The soldier I wanted had been enumerated on the 1900 US census so I knew the soldier who had died on July 26, 1891 was NOT the soldier I wanted.

Even if you have no intention of ordering the pension file from NARA, it is good to know that the Civil War index is another place to check for death dates and in some cases, place of death.

You can search the Fold3 (formerly site for free and see a thumbnail of the actual record. If you find something you want to investigate further, you can Start Your Free Trial with .


Sally Staley said...

Katie: where are those cards you talked about from I have not been able to find them..I have a free trial period to look for it..I have several Ballards from Tn. that I have there muster cards but not there dates of death..Can you help.

Thanks Sally Staley

Kathi said...

Go to for the index cards for pension applications of veterans. It is called the Civil War Pension Index but it is really for all those who served in the U.S. Army between 1861 and 1917.

Any record stamped "DEAD" in the upper left-hand corner will include a soldier's death date and where he died at the bottom of the card, but only if he died after the war was over. Those who were killed or died during the war will have an application classified as a widow's file, and sometime as a minor's file.

Sally Staley said...

Thanks Kathi..I really appreciate your help...