United States, Civil War and Later Pension Index (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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United States Civil War and Later Pension Index, 1861-1917
This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
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What is in This Collection?

Organization Index to Pension Files of Veterans who Served Between 1861 and 1900 on NARA microfilm publication T289 part of Record Group 15 Records of the Veterans Administration. The most of the index cards pertain veterans in the Civil War veterans. Other pension records included are for the of the Spanish-American conflict, Indian wars, the Philippine insurrection, and World War I. Index courtesy of Fold3. The pension files are located in the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

What Can These Records Tell Me?

The following information may be found in these records:


  • Name of the person claiming the pension
  • Service record of the soldier, including rank, company, and regiment
  • Enlistment date
  • Discharge date
  • Date pension was filed
  • Whether an invalid, widow, or minor
  • Application number
  • Certificate number
  • Additional service information, including company and regiment
  • Death date of the veteran
  • Death place of the veteran

Collection Content

Sample of indexed information:

John Smith United States Civil War and Later Pension Index
Name John Smith
Event Type Pension
Event Date 05 Apr 1897
Event Place Louisiana, United States
Military Regiment 16
Military Unit Infantry
Shipping Company F

How Do I Search This Collection?

To begin your search you will need to know:

  • The full name of your ancestor
  • The approximate age and birth place of your ancestor
  • The state and county of residence for your ancestor
  • The approximate dates your ancestor served in the Civil War

Search the Index

Search by name by visiting the Collection Page.
  1. Fill in the search boxes on the Collection Page with the information you have
  2. Click Search to show possible matches

How Do I Analyze the Results?

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?

  • Use the age to calculate an approximate birth date
  • Use the birth date or age along with the residence or place of birth of the deceased to locate census, church, and land records
  • Compile the entries for every person who has the same surname as the deceased; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual
  • Continue to search the records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives who may have been seeking the pension
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct

I Can't Find the Person I'm Looking For, What Now?

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for alias names, nicknames and abbreviated names
  • Try alternative search methods such as only filling in the surname search box (or the given name search box) on the landing page leaving the other box empty and then click on search. This should return a list of everyone with that particular name. You could then browse the list for individuals that may be your ancestor

Record Finder

Consult the United States Record Finder to search other records.

Known Issues With This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to support@familysearch.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Citing This Collection

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation
"United States Civil War and Later Pension Index, 1861-1917." Database. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 14 June 2016. From "Organization Index to Pension Files of Veterans Who Served Between 1861 and 1900." Database. Fold3.com. http://www.fold3.com : n.d.
Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record.

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How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.