Post-War Military Records

Wars by their nature create records, however records are created in the aftermath of war also. There is the pension application file(s) or a bounty land application file(s). But there is so much more in addition to these records. There is pension law, payment ledgers, payment vouchers, public and private claims, correspondence, state claims, soldiers homes, and burial records.
Coordinator: Craig R. Scott, CG
  • Craig Scott, CG
  • Debra Mieszala, CG
  • Richard G. Sayre, CG, CGL
  • Michael Hall, CG 
Pension Law (Russell)
Pension eligibility is found in the law. Understanding the reasons for why a soldier was able to obtain or not obtain a pension is best understood in the context of the law.
Pension Application Files (Mieszala)
Military pension application files are invaluable resources of genealogical and historical information. Many pension application documents are preserved and contain valuable data.
The various laws that governed pensions will be discussed.
Payment Ledgers (Scott)
Payment ledgers are the method by which the government keeps track of payments made to pensioners. They provide information about migration and death of a pensioner and can act as a census.
Payment Vouchers, Last Payment Vouchers, Final Payment Vouchers (Scott)
Pensions result in payment vouchers which may provide additional information not found in pension application files. The contain information about the death of the pensioner and his heirs.
Colonial Bounty Land (Scott)
Every since King Philip’s War the expectation of “a gratuity of land” has been a reality. Frontier military towns and forts populated with experienced militiamen and their families were how the colonies expanded their influence and protected coastal centers in the colonial period.
State Bounty Lands (Sayre)
Nine states granted state bounty lands for Revolutionary War service. The use of various finding aids, to include online offerings, will be illustrated. The various locations of bounty land districts will be described. Examples will illustrate the nature of extant records and their genealogical value.
Federal Bounty Lands (Sayre)
Some 80 million acres of federal land was disposed of by bounty land entitlements. Many bounty land records rival pension records in richness of information.  Learn to use online and other resources to locate information held by relevant repositories.
Homestead Act and the Military (Sayre)
Passed in 1862, the Homestead Act offered the prospect of free land for everyone. After the Civil War special considerations were extended for Union veterans. The application requirements generated records of value to the family historian. Records of citizenship, marriage, and military service are documented in these land entry files. Use of the BLM-GLO website as index will be explained as will the online offerings of Fold3 relating to homesteads.
Public and Private Claims (Scott)
Following every conflict claims for compensation and pensions by soldiers or their heirs have been presented to the Congress and to the U.S. Court of Claims.
Post-war Correspondence (Scott)
Following every conflict there has been correspondence between soldiers and their families, and the government dealing with back pay, bounty land, burial, and other issues. The correspondence is scattered among the federal records.
State Claims to the Federal Government  (Scott)
Following every conflict since the Revolution states have filed claims with the federal government to be recompensed the state’s expense in the war. These records include correspondence, muster rolls, receipts and other materials not found anywhere else in the records.
Soldiers Homes (Sayre)
The National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers was created in the aftermath of the Civil War. Find your ancestor among the thousands of genealogically significant records. State and Confederate homes will also be identified along with strategies to locate extant records.
Veteran’s Administration Records (Scott)
The Veteran’s Administration provides post-conflict benefits to servicemen, including medical care, insurance, burial and memorial benefits and dependent and survivor’s benefits. Some of these records are available for research.
Veterans Burial Records  (Hall)
The burial records of veterans often contain vital pieces of information on the individual and the unit(s) that he/she was attached to. Those records can also mention spouse(s), children, and parents. In addition, to the burial records, an examination of obituaries from the local newspapers, can contain vital information into the life of the veteran. This class will examine the various burial records, obituaries, and other vital information from newspapers.
Obtaining Military Records and Awards (Hall)
Vital aspects into the military life of veterans can be sometimes be gathered, by obtaining the military records and awards of the individual. Military Records and Awards can provide a snapshot of the character of the veteran; that might not have been seen in life. This information, can often shine a light on the behavior patterns of the veteran in life. Often, these veterans do not talk about their military experiences due to several experiences (good or bad). In addition, newspapers will also be examined to glean information about the veteran when they have returned home after a conflict!
Fraternal and Lineage Societies (Mieszala)
Post-war involvement in fraternal organizations provides insight into the post-service lives of servicemen. Military fraternal and lineage organizations allowed collective memories and resources to be combined, often leaving records of the organization’s work, and sometimes of individual members.