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Hi, Ms. Ireland!
The Pension Office put pension files into one of four categories depending on the status of the claim: Invalid [Soldier] Original; Invalid [Soldier] Certificate; Dependent Original; and Dependent Certificate. Files were also sometimes moved from one category to another, at which point the file was given a new number.
When a veteran applied for a pension, his file was given a Soldier's Original number. When his application was approved, his file was then given a different Soldier's Certificate number. When he died and his dependent applied, the file was given a different Dependent Original number, and then when the dependent's application was approved, their file was given a Dependent Certificate number. So the file relating to a particular soldier could have four different numbers associated with it. These numbers actually have no relation to each other, they were just assigned in order as the pension office worked on these files.
The index card that we're looking at here is part of the Pension Numerical Index, and helps you when you have a pension number but don't know which category it belongs to. It tells us that when William H. Ford applied for a pension, his file was given the number Soldier's Original 290875, and also that his application was approved and given another number: Soldier's Certificate 203629. Ford's pension is most likely filed with the rest of the Soldier's Certificates, under number 203629.
This card also tells us that Webster Bradley's file is filed under Soldier's Certificate 290875; John Morris's file is filed under Dependent's Original 290875; and William Pike's file is filed under Dependent's Certificate 290875.
John Morris has no connection with William Ford beyond this index card.
I hope this helps! It's a confusing system and someone else may be able to explain it better. Mostly what you need to know is that if you're requesting this file, you're looking for Soldier's Certificate 203629.
Wow. You are really helpful! Thank you so much!
So just to make certain that I understand this right.... This index card is being used to index four very separate files... William Ford's original invalid file until he was approved and got a certificate file number; Webster's invalid certificate number; Morris' dependent application number (which is totally unrelated to Ford), and Pike's dependent certificate number. Right?
May I ask a related question? Ford (my ancestor) was part of the volunteer Mass. Infantry militia. Would his pension and other files be found under the federal soldiers' stuff or would it have all stayed within Massachusetts' filing system? Did Massachusetts pay for his pension or did the Federal government?
2 people found this helpful
No problem! I'm glad this explanation was helpful.
You've got it right: this card refers to four totally separate files.
I'm not very familiar with state-level Civil War records; you might want to check with your state archives to find out if they have any records relating to your ancestor.
The pension file you reference above is the paperwork for a Federal pension. This pension file has not yet been digitized. If you'd like to order a copy, please use NATF Form 85 here: https://www.archives.gov/forms . You're also welcome to view the file in person at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC.
William Ford's Compiled Military Service Record is also a federal record, and has been digitized. It is available on Fold3.
Best of luck!
Thank you again, ever so much! You have been most kind!