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AfriGeneas Military Research Forum Archive

Oliver Saunders Pension File
In Response To: Re: EADES-GANN Pension File ()


You are in for a treat! I got my 2nd-great-grandfather's Civil War compiled service record and it was only 3 or 4 sheets of paper, with his muster in and out info. I was crushed. Then a month ago my postman came to the door with a package that was 2 inches thick on legal size paper! It was the Civil War Pension File, what a fantastic day! I am still going through it, and it has lots of unexpected info.

To get your ancestor's files you need Forms 85 and 86. Go to the National Archhives web site, click on research room, then click on military records. Click on the link for Forms 85 and 86. It will take you to this page:

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Ship Passenger Arrival Records (NATF 81) Qty. 1 2 3 4 5
Federal Census Records (NATF 82) Qty. 1 2 3 4 5
Eastern Cherokee Applications (NATF 83) Qty. 1 2 3 4 5
Land Entry Files (NATF 84) Qty. 1 2 3 4 5

(NINA, THESE FORMS BELOW ARE THE TWO FORMS YOU WANT, Order 2 so you can get your great uncle's as well)

Military Pension/Bounty Land Warrant Applications (NATF 85) Qty. 1 2 3 4 5
Military Service Records (NATF 86) Qty. 1 2 3 4 5

Request Pertaining to Military Records (SF 180) Qty. 1 2 3 4 5

Note: NATF 80 is no longer used. Use NATF 85 for military pension and bounty land warrant applications, and NATF 86 for military service records for Army veterans discharged before 1912.

It took about a week or two to get the forms. When they come fill them out for your ancestor and his brother. You'll probably get the compiled service record first since it's not so much paper. Then when you get the pension file break out the champagne :)

The first time I went through mine I was looking at what was actually written in the documents for clues such as names of kids and wife etc. I found 3 pages of this which I didn't think was that much, although it did give the names of wife and surviving kids and I already knew most of that. Mostly it was medical affidavits about his health to bolster his claim for an increase in pension. But then when I started to go back through and pay attention, I realized that my ancestor had filed for an increase in his pension for every year from 1871-1913 (sometimes more than once a year) each time he filed a piece of paper he had to give his address!!!!! AND two people had to attest to his mark; he couldn't write his name. They also stated how long they had known him, one guy said they had been friends since they were 5. Among the people attesting on his documents I found his father in law in the 1880's whom I thought had died earlier than that, his brother, whose name I did not know, his son in the 1900's whom I hadn't been able to find in the census and then names of neighbors I had seen in the census, but wasn't sure if there was a relationship of any sort. There is so MUCH here, I made a timeline of each year he filed something and the address and who attested to his signiture which helped me figure out where he was living when his wife died so that I could find the right County to request her Death Certificate.

I hope this helps you get the forms. While you're at it, see if your ancestors were in the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) It was the Civil War version of the VFW or American Legion. They had posts in all states and many posts kept such detailed records on their members, that you are bound to find something (Obituaries, pictures, letters etc.) Many of the posts were integrated, some where not, so look at all the posts in his area to see if he was a member. Also, if his sons were in the Sons of the Union (I forget the correct name), then it's likely he was in the GAR. Google Grand Army of the Republic and it will come up.

I also found the name of the Army Camp where my ancestor mustered in. I put it in Google and it's a state park now with a fabulous web site with pictures of soldiers, regimental histories, pictures of the parade grounds and the encampmnt at the time, so now I know how he lived while he was there.

I hope this gives you some helpful ideas,

Good Luck in your search


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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