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Archive for February 7th, 2009

In Part 1 I discussed how Military Records can help you get a complete characteristic profile of your ancestors and collateral relatives. The WWII Registration Records (“Old Man’s Draft”) in 1942 list color of eyes and hair, type of build, and height as well as birth location and date and their signature. To a lesser extent so does the WWI Registration Records of 1918.

In Part 2 I listed examples ranging from employer to possibly a wife or other relative who is listed as knowing the address of the person registered. That informaton has helped me place the individual with the correct family.

In this article I will give examples of how Civil War Pension Records or Invalid Pension Records are also useful in determining dates of marriage, children’s names and birthdates, and type of duties the individual performed in service to the country.

When I first started on this genealogy quest ten years ago, it didn’t take me long to make contact with a cousin who had copies of our shared ancestor’s Invalid Pension application documents.  He copied those and mailed them off to me.  Seeing how valuable those sheets of paper were, I sent off to the National Archives for my own copy (before prices went way up!).  It seemed to take forever before I received them – but only after I got a reply that stated what they had found and how much I needed to send before I got the actual copies. 

Most of the information on the service of my maternal great-grandfather, James E. House, was posted here in a biography I wrote about him. However, as I began my search for Grandfather House, I realized that there were other people in the Coshocton area of Ohio who shared the House surname. I mentioned this to the cousin who had sent me information, and he reasoned that he thought he’d placed James in the right family based on what was on the Invalid Pension application. That’s when I thought I should pay closer attention to these records.

One page in particular was a voucher sent to James requesting that he complete and send back in order to receive his next quarterly payment.  The questions concerned whether he was married, what proof he had of the marriage, names of children and dates of their birth.

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First, Are you married?  If so, please state your wife’s full name and her maiden name.

Answer, Frances V. House   maiden Frances V. Ogan

Second, when, where, and by whom were you married?

Answer, By A.Y. Kingston J.P., Washington, Guernsey Co., Ohio May 26, 1873. 

(I believe this was probably the next question.) Third, what proof of marriage exists?

Answer, Marriage certificate also in records in probate judge’s office, Cambridge, Ohio.

This tells me the exact date and place of the marriage between my great-grandparents and where the marriage record was located.  His wife’s maiden name has been reported differently by descendents yet in James’ own hand, he listed the maiden name that I believe is correct (albeit probably a maiden name acquired as either a foster child or adopted daughter of the Ogan household.)

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Fourth, Were you previously married? If so, please state the name of your former wife and the date and place of her death or divorce.

Answer, Yes. Barbara S. House, died July 10, 1872 in Guernsey Co, Ohio

With this last bit of information, I was able to clarify which James House (out of the few I’d found in and around Coshocton) was my great-grandfather.  I also learned the date of death of his first wife which until I had this paper, I knew was sometime between the birth of her last child and the date of my great-grandparents’ marriage.

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Fifth, Have you any children living? If so please state their names and dates of birth.

Answer, E.F. House Dec. 17, 1886.  Belle D. Ruby Apr 23, 1868. Lucina Conger Sep 13, 1869.  Florus A. House Apr. 21, 1873.  Jno W House Aug. 31, 1874. James W. House June 20, 1876. Julia A. House Sep 20, 1880.  Ella M. House June 22, 1882.  Alva L. House May 9, 1886.

Date of Reply June 4, 1898 and his signature.

My first thought was “I have my great-grandfather’s signature!”.  Then my next thought was “Oh, he married Frances AFTER their first child was born!”  That first child had been “in question” as to being Barbara’s (the first wife) or my great-grandmother’s.  With James listing Barbara’s death as prior to Florus’ birth, that answered that question.

Other pages in the Pension forms included General Affidavits of persons who had known my great-grandfather either prior to and after his service or during his service in the Civil War.  One of those affidavits I realized were given by James’ parents, Florus Allen House and Julia A. House – my great-great-grandparents!  I saw that they had also signed the affidavit!

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Florus’ and Julia’s ages were listed which also gave me another documentation on their approximate birth years and the township and county in which they lived in 1888.

With just these two pages of James House’s Invalid Pension Application, I acquired information on three generations – my great-grandfather (James), his parents (Florus and Julia) and his two wives and children.

Next – more information from my grandfather’s Civil War papers.

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