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Re: Unable to document Civil War service

Are you sure that your ancestor had only one wife? What if he was married to more than one woman at different times or in different states? Sometimes the pension file includes references to this kind of confusion.

In one of our family lines, I've found conflicting statements in the Civil War pension file regarding the number of wives who might claim the widow's pension. There was a dispute concerning whether the deceased veteran had married his wife before a previous wife was dead or divorced. Ultimately the widow we knew as our ancestor's wife was denied a pension, even though she was able to provide a marriage certificate, when the Bureau of Pensions mentioned the possibility of a previous wife, unknown to our family. The widow we knew as his legitimate wife was unable to present proof that this other woman was dead or divorced before the date of her own marriage. So even though there is no record of this other woman filing for the widow's pension, the widow who did apply was rejected, right up to her death in 1920.

I've also seen, in another family line, a wife who filed for a widow's pension from Kentucky, where her husband had served in a USCT regiment, although she had married and lived with her husband in Ohio.

I wrote again to NARA to search for a Civil War record for my ancestor, Uriah Wise. They were unable to find a record that matches the information I could supply regarding the identity of my ancestor. There are at least six Civil War military records for at least five different men with the same or similar name.

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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