The United States National Archives are an amazing collection of stuff most of us never even scratch the surface when we seek family history. It is in some ways cumbersome as you need to know what they have in order to know to ask for it. There is no single magical index of the National Archives, and some of the indexes are far from logical.
One of the things that folks hear about when people talk about when doing genealogy and the National Archives is often Civil War records. The Civil War era collections are just plain amazing. I have ordered several of the pension records, both Confederate and Union along with other pensions prior to the Civil War, including the Revolutionary War . If you have a family member who served and either they or their survivors collected pension, I encourage you to get your pension file.
The first item that you will find in every pension file is a page of apology for the quality of the photo copies. I think this is quite a hoot as the files are likely nearly 150 years old so even older!
Pension files can be as few as 20 or so pages or into the 100s. This all depends on how early they applied for pension, and how long they were on the pension. It is full of information as they needed Davidson about their service, their marriage, their children, doctor’s exams and more. If it is like most you will learn lots of information about your family member. My next posts will be about the pension files I have and what I have learned about family members.