Military pension applications and records often contain valuable genealogical information, including names and birth dates of children and spouses, proof of marriage, and depositions from a soldier’s friends and family.
- Start by searching for your ancestor’s name with the country or state name where they lived or served to narrow the list. If you don’t find the results you need, try searching for only the veteran’s name. Not all fields in pension records were indexed, so you may want to review all records that match your veteran’s name to see whether the record image contains more detailed information.
- Military pensions were sometimes granted to the dependents of veterans. Searching pension records for the names of a surviving spouse, child, or parent may reveal a previously unknown pension.
- The War of 1812 pension application files index, 1812-1815 can only be viewed by browsing, but if you have an ancestor who might have served in this war, it’s worth a look. From the collection home page, select a surname range from the "Browse this collection" section, then enter a number into the "image number" field on the content viewer to move through the pages to the part of the alphabet you want to view. If you find a record for your ancestor, use the information to order a copy of the full pension record.