Even if you’re not applying to a Civil War related lineage society, Civil War records can still help your applications in a few different ways.
- They can put an individual in a certain place at a certain time. If an ancestor had to register for the draft or mustered in, you know where they were when the documents were completed. This can be key in building a timeline.
- They can document dates and places of death in a time before vital records. If your ancestor died in service, it should show up as part of his compiled military service records. If he died after and was receiving a pension, it would be included as part of the pension to explain why the pension should no longer be paid.
- They can document relationships; the births of children; and dates and places of marriage. Pension files are a gold mine of family information. Widows had to “prove” their marriage so that they could get access to their husband’s pensions; they had to prove their children’s births so that they could access to benefits for minors. The person swearing an affidavit of support may be a sibling.
How do you find these records? Many have been digitized and are accessible on Fold3. If they are not, they can be ordered from the National Archives . Happy hunting!