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You found a Civil War Pension index card

Now what?

1. Search for the name on Fold3.com (they only have about 4% digitized and indexed so far), but it is worth a shot before ordering the pension.

For short videos on how to search Fold3.com follow this link:  www.fold3.com/tour/.  (You will need to do this at home, but they really help you learn how to search Fold3.)

2. Order the pension file from NARA.gov, National Archives. You will need the information from the pension card. Click on this link to take you to the page on ordering information.  www.archives.gov/contact/inquire-form.html

3. Scroll halfway down the page and you will see the following:

4. Click on Order Online

5. On this page, you will see different NATF forms.


The first item is NATF86, Compiled Military Service Records These mainly contain the muster rolls, and donít give you any genealogical information. 

The ones you are interested in for the Civil War are the 2nd and 4th items. The NATF 85D is the complete pension file and costs $80. This is fairly expensive (contact your rich uncle), but you never know what genealogy information is on these files.

If you order the NATF 85B, they copy eight documents from the complete file and send you those for $30.  I havenít tried this, but maybe it would give you what you are looking for.


If you donít want to order online, go back to the previous page and click on Download the form.

This is a pdf form you can print, fill out, and then mail to the National Archives in Washington D.C. It costs the same amount as ordering it online.  Scroll down to the second page of this form if you have Confederate ancestors. You will see where to find records in the Confederate states.


Ashley J. Davis Pension File

I ordered the pension file for Ashley J Davis in 2003. His mother was applying for the pension because she was widowed. In the 45 pages, I learned that Ashley fought for the Union army even though he was from Florida, probably because they were paid.  He was wounded and at the hospital in Fort Barrancas Florida.  His wife and children were traveling to see him, but they all contracted a malignant disease, and died on their way.  Ashley died a few months later.  It is a sad story, and since Ashley didnít have any descendants, I was excited to do their work.  I also learned that he had 2 children that died very young, his sisters married name, when his father died, etc. It was amazing because I couldnít find the information anywhere else!! I also figured it would cost me a lot more money to go to Washington, D.C. (I copied a couple of the pages and put them in the binder on the book stand if you want to read more.)


Please contact me if you have any questions.

Carol Hill - carollovesfamilyhistory@gmail.com, 801-380-9192



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