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.]