Thursday, November 19, 2009

Anatomy of a Military Pension File, Part 2

Previously, I reported on the acquisition of my great-great-great grandfather's military pension file. The documents contained within paint a picture of a man and his family about which I knew very little. I've decided to share this 103-page treasure chest of information with you a few pages at a time. Part one is here, below is part two:

Page 6: Pension packet cover. This document appears to be a cover for all or part of the Baerecke pension file, considering the middle crease you can see in the photo:

Based on the dates on the first items in this file, it appears that the most recent documentation is on top. So the widow's death is first, then we'll move back in time to the point of the veteran's first pension application.

What did I learn from viewing this document?

1. The certificate number is listed, but I already knew that, as I used it to request the file.

2. The DEAD stamp. I think this was the cover of Amalie Baerecke's widow's pension file. I'm not sure if the stamp pertains to the vet's death or that of the widow.

3. Max Baerecke was a Private and Sgt. in Company "I" of the 26th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War. I researched this further on the Internet. It makes for interesting reading.

4. Amalie Baerecke, Max's widow was approved to receive $8 per month commencing 23 Dec 1904.

5. Date of issue and date of mailing are in October 1906. Does that mean that Amalie was granted a widow's pension in late 1904, but didn't receive payment until late 1906?

6. The top right of the image says DROPPED on 11 Jan 1912. This coincides with Amalie's death.

7. February 1912 stamps and date notations pertaining to "Mrs. C.J. Smith." From page 5 of the file, we know she is Amalie's daughter and she wrote a letter asking for reimbursement of her mother's funeral costs.

8. Date stamp 17 April 1912 says REIMBURSEMENT ALLOWED. That must mean Mrs. C. J. Smith was reimbursed for the costs. Good to know.

Coming up, some boilerplate legalese and the first personal details about Max Baerecke. Stay tuned...


  1. I enjoy reading your posts - and have nominated you for a Kreativ Blogging Award! More folks should enjoy your writing! :-) You can see it here -

    Thanks for writing!

  2. I recently went through the same exercise with a 120 page CW pension file. I found that the documents I received from NARA were not in any order. The first thing I did was put a pencil number on the back of each page, so I could put them back in "order" if necessary. Then I sorted the file in chronological order. It made much more sense that way. Then I was able to abstract from each page.