I love Civil War pension files. I believe I have four of them–no make that five–and the things I’ve learned from them have been invaluable. In one deposition, my ggg-grandfather said that he was born in the “wilderness,” that his father was illiterate, and that his mother could read and write but little. He suggested that even if they had made note of his birth in a family bible, it would have been lost in a household fire when he was small.1 Where else could I find that kind of detail in his own words?
I obtained the records I have back when black and white photocopying was the only option. We’ve come a long way since then. Now the National Archives allows patrons to make digital copies of the pension files now and looking at a color images is almost as good as viewing the documents in person.
But, how many of us can get to Washington, D.C.?
Here’s where Genlighten comes in. One of our providers–familymatters2u–takes digital camera images of pension files for other researchers. And, not only can he provide color images, but he can do it with pretty quick turnaround for $50 (up to 100 pages). That’s $30 less than the $80 it costs to request copies through the mail.
We also have providers who can access records at the various National Archives regional branches across the country including Atlanta, Boston (3), Riverside, CA (2), Denver, San Francisco, Chicago, and the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis.
Do we have someone who can help you with your project? To find out, just go to Genlighten.com and search for a locality, specialty, or repository of interest.
And, if you visit one of the branches that’s not on our list, consider offering your own research services through our site.
1 Deposition of pensioner, 24 May 1910, in Civil War pension file for Charles A. Bellinger (Private, Company A, 97 Regiment, New York Volunteers), certificate no. 89795, Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C.