Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Joy of a Military Pension File

In September, I ordered a military pension record for my great-great-great grandfather. The chance to do so was exciting because he's my only Union vet and the only direct ancestor I've found so far who even has a file.

Here's how I did it. I went on Footnote.com and found his card that lists his pension application and certificate numbers. Baerecke is an odd surname and it stands out:

I took the information from the card and used it to place and order with the National Archives. I paid by credit card and waited. I've heard horror stories about the wait, so I didn't sit by the mailbox or anything. To my surprise, UPS delivered a nice-sized envelope on Friday. My pension file! It only took 39 days! That has to be a record. The file contains over 100 pages and is a genealogy jackpot. Perhaps I'll open it up and share it here in a series of posts...introduce you to Max Baerecke and family.

[Edit: It's now a blog series called "Anatomy of a Military Pension File." Proceed to part one here.]


  1. Very cool. Way to go.

    I have only one Union vet also, and my uncle Ed obtained it about 15 years ago and sent it to me as a gift for doing the family newsletter for so many years. Little did he know or understand the golden nuggets in the file!

    Please share some of it with us. You need to transcribe some pages of it for your records, right? Kill two birds with one transcription!

    Cheers -- Randy

  2. Very exciting. I have ordered pension records for all four of my Civil War ancestors. Two of the files were over 200 pages each. It was like a genealogical jackpot!

  3. I pulled my great-great-grandfather's pension file out of my files because I needed it for part of my Veteran's Day blog post. I started reading, looked up, and two hours had gone by. Oops!

  4. How exciting. I don't have any ancestors who fought in the Civil War. Always wished I had, so I will have to pretend your information is mine, and I will share in your joy along side you. Thanks Amy