I was going to Fairfax, VA, for my 40th high school reunion.  My husband and I would be in the area for a few days.  So, the thought came to me – go to NARA while there.  We would have entire day at NARA!

The first thing I did was decide what records I was interested in obtaining.  In order to decide this, I made a list of all of my and my husband’s relatives that were in either the Civil War or the Spanish American War.  And, there were quite a few!  Then, I did research using both fold3 and ancestry.

It is important to make a copy of the actual pension record for the veteran – this was the copy that was on ancestry.com.  It is important to have the company and regiment, and it is important to know that the index for pensions is on T288 and are in record group 15.  This is important for both the pension records and the CMSRs (compiled military service records).

Here is the pension record for Joseph Franklin Pettus:

If you look real close, you will see a small “s” on the Service line.  This little “s” means that Joseph F. Pettus was a veteran of the Spanish American War.  (His pension record was found under the Civil War Pensions on ancestry.)

The form that had to be filled out at NARA was called” Request for Military Records.”  I want to explain that this was the form when I was there.  By the time someone else goes, it could be that the form is different.  This is what the form requires:

Date – current date

Name of Requestor – your name                                                      Agency or Address – researcher’s card number

RG NO. – 15

Record Identification – Military

Name of Soldier – Joseph Franklin Pettus   (put a circle around the last name)      Name of Dependent – [blank]

Unit (Co, Bn, Regt) – Co F Regt 2 KY Inf                            War – SAW                           State Served From – KY

Pension File Numbers

Application                                            Certificate

  1. Invalid
  2. Widow                                   NONE OF THIS IS NEEDED FOR CMSRs
  3. Minor
  4. Father
  5. Other Numbers

At the bottom of the form is some signature blocks – these will be used when they actually hand you the folder.

More in my next blog.