• The Traveling Genealogist

    Orphaned Military Records

    A recent research experience at the National Archives weeks later is still blowing my mind. When Adjutant General Ainsworth was placed in charge of pensions in 1886, the approval rate for soldiers requesting disability pensions had a massive backlog, and approval of benefits took years. The task of verifying the service of the soldier was difficult, with no indexes, and included searching regimental and company records, and hospital records, which was creating a huge political liability for Congress. General Ainsworth undertook a massive project to compile the service history of soldiers during the 18th and 19th centuries resulting in the CMSR (compiled military service record), the genealogists go-to record for…

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  • The Traveling Genealogist

    Do Military Pensions Contain Asset Information?

    Yes, they may. Generally, a widow needed to prove a financial need to receive his pension, proof of his death, and proof of death (or divorce) of any of her and his prior spouses. A veteran qualified for a pension, regardless of assets, if he was injured in the service of the United States. Beginning in 1907, elderly veterans could receive a pension when they turned 62/70/75 years of age, with sufficient proof of their age, which did not require them to be disabled (34 U.S. Stat 879, chap. 468, “An Act Granting pensions to certain enlisted men, soldiers, and officers who served in the civil war and the war…

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