Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Military Service Records at NARA

A recent publication from the National Archives has come to my attention. It is an interesting new resource for family history and genealogy research. Military Service Records at the National Archives, Reference Information Paper 109 is a great resource for anyone doing military research. In a brief 120 pages, this booklet spells out the multitude of resources available at the National Archives. In addition, if the Archives doesn't have the information, alternate resources are provided. Finally, each chapter concludes with a brief bibliography of alternate resources that deal with specific topics within the chapter. Generally, the references are to the Guide to Genealogical Research in the National Archives, or to the National Archives journal, Prologue.

For me, one of the interesting chapter sections concerns Confederate pensions for the Civil War. I find it fascinating that Congress did not authorize pensions for Confederate veterans until 1959! Assuming that a Confederate enlistee was as young as 16 at the end of the war, that would mean he would be 110 years old when the Confederate pensions were authorized! Although the records for 1959 are not yet available, it would be interesting to know how many Confederate veterans actually qualified for a pension.

More important, though, is that this book provides resource information for the 14 states of the Confederacy and the state pensions that were provided.

This is just one example of the multitude of resources that are provided in this slim volume. Mr. Trevor K. Plante compiled this work and he has done an excellent job in briefly summarizing the many sources available for military research in the National Archives

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