United States, Index to General Correspondence of the Pension Office - FamilySearch Historical Records

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United States Index to General Correspondence of the Pension Office, 1889-1904
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.

United States
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Flag of the United States of America
US 38 Star Flag concentric circles 1877-1890.png
US Flag 1877-1890 (38 stars)
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National Archives and Records Administration Logo
Record Description
Record Type Index to Correspondence
Record Group RG 94: Records of the Adjutant General's Office
Collection years 1889-1904
Microfilm Publication M686. Index to General Correspondence of the REcord and Pension Office, 1889-1904. 385 rolls.
Arrangement Alphabetical by name or subject.
National Archives Identifier 588793
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
National Archives and Records Administration


What is in This Collection?[edit | edit source]

This collection is a name index to correspondence of the Records and Pension office. The index is part of RG 94, Records of the Adjutant General's Office and is NARA microfilm publication M686 located at the National Archives. This index covers only personal names. This collection covers the years from 1889 through 1904.

The “Index to General Correspondence of the Record and Pension Office, 1889-1904” indexes two groups of records held at the National Archives and Records Administration, as shown below:

  • “Document File, 1889-1904.” The Document File collection contains information about volunteer soldiers and regular military personnel including information on battles, desertions, requests for certificates of discharge, personnel policies, and other records
  • “Records Cards, 1889-1904.” The Record Cards collection includes copies of the responses of the Record and Pension Office and the sources they used

To find descriptions of these record groups, visit the National Archives Online Catalog and enter these ARC identifiers: 300385 (Document File) and 588796 (Record Cards).

In 1889, the Record and Pension Office was established in order to consolidate the information regarding military soldiers and volunteers. The office had the responsibility of keeping the military and medical records of the volunteer forces and the medical records for the regular army. They were responsible for all of the business relating to these records.

Inquiries made to the Record and Pension office cover a wide range of subjects and time periods. Some of the inquiries regard soldiers who served in the Revolutionary War, while others pertain to soldiers living at the time who were in need of documentation or proof of service.

As correspondence was received by the pension office, it was filed and indexed onto cards. Inquiries were sometimes made by the soldier himself, a governmental office, or others. The correspondence included requests for the following: certificates of discharge, certificates in lieu of lost discharge papers, medals of honor, removal of charges for desertion, information needed for admission to homes for disabled soldiers or to complete the records of adjutants general of States, and information relating to the strength or service of the organizational units.

The cards index the correspondence received from 1889-1904, but the subject matter can range from as early as the Revolutionary War to the those who were alive at the time of the inquiry. Some of the cards will indicate the war in which the individual served, but others only list the company or division.

  • Claire Prechtel-kluskens Pension Office Correspondence with Special Examiners,1887-1931. NGS Magazine 39 #4 (October-December 2013): 41- 45. FHL 973 D25ngs

Copies of pensions files are available from the National Archives. To request copies follow the instructions in the following link. Requesting Pre-WWI Service Records

Image Visibility[edit | edit source]

Whenever possible FamilySearch makes images and indexes available for all users. However, rights to view these data are limited by contract and subject to change. Because of this there may be limitations on where and how images and indexes are available or who can see them. Please be aware some collections consist only of partial information indexed from the records and do not contain any images.

For additional information about image restrictions see Restrictions for Viewing Images in FamilySearch Historical Record Collections.

To Browse This Collection[edit | edit source]

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for United States, Index to General Correspondence of the Pension Office, 1889-1904.

What Can These Records Tell Me?[edit | edit source]

The following information may be found in these records:

Pension correspondence

  • Name of soldier
  • Unit of service
  • Name of person/office making the inquiry
  • Subject of inquiry

Collection Content[edit | edit source]

Sample Image[edit | edit source]

How Do I Search This Collection?[edit | edit source]

To begin your search you will need to know:

  • The name of the pensioner
  • The name of the unit where the pensioner served
  • The name of the person making the inquiry

Search the Index[edit | edit source]

Search by name by visiting the Collection Details Page.
  1. Fill in the search boxes in the Search Collection section with the information you know
  2. Click Search to show possible matches

View the Images[edit | edit source]

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:

  1. Select Select a Surname Range to view the images.

How Do I Analyze the Results?[edit | edit source]

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?[edit | edit source]

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Information about military units was generally filed under the name of its commanding officer
  • Continue to search the index and records to identify other relatives
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct
  • You may need to compare the information of more than one person to make this determination
  • Be aware that, as with any index, transcription errors may occur

I Can't Find the Person I'm Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for alias names, nicknames and abbreviated names
  • Try alternative search methods such as only filling in the surname search box (or the given name search box) on the landing page leaving the other box empty and then click on search. This should return a list of everyone with that particular name. You could then browse the list for individuals that may be your ancestor

Research Helps[edit | edit source]

The following articles will help you in your research for your family in the United States.

Citing This Collection[edit | edit source]

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation:
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.
Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation can be viewed by clicking the drop-down arrow next to Document Information.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?[edit | edit source]

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