Pension Application Files
Pension application files are a very rich source for family
history and biographical research. The National Archives holds pension
application files and records of pension payments for veterans, their widows,
and other heirs based on service in the armed forces of the
1. The former soldier became disabled and was unable to support himself, or he became an invalid because of wounds or illness which occurred while he was in the Service.
2. The soldier was a volunteer whose State unit saw Federal Service.
3. A widowís pension was awarded to a woman and children whose husband and father served in the war.
Pension Documents Packet Contents
The pension documents packet will contain, to the extent that these documents are present in the file, eight documents that contain genealogical information about the pension applicant including any of the following items that are in the file:
∑ declaration of pension
∑ declaration of widow's pension
∑ Adjutant General statements of service
∑ questionnaires completed by applicants (numbered forms)
∑ "Pension Dropped" cards
∑ marriage certificates
∑ death certificates
∑ discharge certificate
Types of Pension Applications
There are three types of pension applications: veteranís, widowís, or minor childís.
1. A veteranís application typically contains the veteranís name, rank, military unit, period of service, residence at time of application, place and date of birth (or age), and property.
2. A widowís application typically contains more detail, including all of the veteranís information plus her name, age (or date of birth), residence at time of application, maiden name, date of marriage, and veteranís date and place of death.
3. A minor childís application may contain all of the veteranís and widowís information as well as the heirsí names, dates and places of their births, residence(s) at time of application, and date of their motherís death.
Pension Application Files at the National Archives
The National Archives in
∑ Revolutionary War
∑ Old Wars
∑ War of 1812
∑ Indian Wars
∑ Mexican-American War
∑ Civil War
∑ Other conflicts before World War I
These pension application files may be obtained by ordering from this web site.
Pension Information Available from Other Sources
Refer to these sources for information on the following:
∑ Confederate Pension Files: Go to http://www.archives.gov/genealogy/military/civil-war/confederate/pension.html for additional information about Confederate pension records.
Alabama Department of Archives & History,
∑ Kentucky Department for Libraries & Archives, Kentucky State Archives, 300 Coffee Tree Road, Frankfort, KY† 40601
Mississippi Department of Archives & History,
∑ Missouri State Archives, State Information Center, 600 West Main Street, Jefferson City, MO† 65102
Oklahoma Department of Libraries, State Archives,
∑ South Carolina Department of Archives & History, South Carolina History Center, 8301 Parklane Road, Columbia, SC† 29223
The Library of Virginia,
∑ Other requestors should use Standard Form 180 obtainable from http://www.archives.gov/facilities/mo/st_louis/military_personnel_records/standard_form_180.html.