Friday, March 16, 2018

Women's History Month 2018: Confederate Pensions

I am acquainted with applicant  she is my sister  have known her all my life in Texas.
--John Bell Lewis in pension application for Jane S Chatham

Jane S Chatham pension application

Military pensions, and in some cases spouses' military records,  can be goldmines of  information for female ancestors. But you need to know where to look.

What information can pensions provide about a female ancestor? Marriage date and place, occupation, age, residence, and eventual death date are all possibilities when looking at a pension record.

When we look at the Civil War it's important to remember that a pension provided for Confederate service would be issued by the state the veteran lived in not the United States government. The National Archives states, "The veteran was eligible to apply for a pension to the State in which he lived, even if he served in a unit from a different State."* Consult the National Archives web page Confederate Pension Records to learn more about where to obtain pension records and when and under what circumstances they were issued. Links to online indexes can also be found on this page.

Consider the Texas application for my ancestor, Jane S. Lewis Chatham, widow of Moses H. Chatham (image at top of blog post). Her application not only provides most of the information mentioned previously but her file also includes affidavits from those who knew her including her brother who provides information about  her health, property she owns, and her financial status.

John Bell Lewis affidavit for Jane S Chatham pension

Always look for pensions because they can provide a wealth of information.

Resources - Alabama, Texas and Virginia, Confederate Pensions, 1884-1958
FamilySearch Wiki - Confederate Pension Records


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