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 Llewellyn E. Champion:
If you look real close, you will see a small “s” on the Widow line. This little “s” means that Llewellyn E. Champion was a veteran of the Spanish American War. (His pension record was found under the Civil War Pensions on ancestry.)
Since Llewellyn was also in the Hospital Corps, I went to Room G-24 – right across from where one submits pulls for pensions and CMSRs. There was an archivist there that was the expert on Hospital Records! He explained about how there may be special Hospital Corps records, and there may not be. However, it was worth it to try to get them anyway. The form that one uses in this room is different. Your name and researcher card number are required. And, then there is a big blank area. The archivist will tell you what to write in that area.
At the bottom of the form is some signature blocks – these will be used when they actually hand you the folder.