Isn’t it all online? Part 1-- Union Army Civil War pensions

Isn’t it all online? Part 1-- Union Army Civil War pensions
A common misconception out there is that most of the Civil War records are online already. This is far from being accurate though. I’ll be doing a series of posts, explaining what records are online and what ones are only available at the National Archives for Civil War and War of 1812 soldiers. You may be surprised!
Let’s start with the Civil War pension files for Union Soldiers. The vast majority of these are not online anywhere. Yes, there are some on, but those only represent maybe 5% to 10% of all of the pensions that are available.
They started scanning the widow’s pensions, starting with the earliest pensions. Since these pensions were issued in chronological order, widow’s pension number 1 was the first one issued. The reason that they got their pensions so early was because that soldier had died early on in the war, making the widow eligible right away.
They scanned the widow’s pensions up through #148,100 and then stopped the project. This means that the pensions on Fold3, for the most part, represent soldiers who died in the war or shortly after. If your ancestor lived well past the end of the war, their pension file is most likely not going to be on Fold3.
If your ancestor has a widow’s or minor’s pension number that is past #148,100 their file will be not be on Fold3. If he only has an invalid pension and not a widow’s pension, it won’t be on Fold3. Only the ones with a widow’s or minor’s certificate number up through 148,100 are on Fold3. The remaining 90 to 95% of the pension files are only available at the National Archives in Washington DC.
Looking for your ancestor’s pension file at the National Archives? Let us help! We do on site research and record retrieval and provide a quicker and cheaper alternative than ordering directly from the National Archives.

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