3 Replies Latest reply on Jul 2, 2018 2:16 PM by Laura Ackerman

    How to determine date of death in a Civil War Invalid Pension File?


      William Henry Davis' Civil War Pension Certificate

      I scanned William Henry Davis' entire pension file and CMSR at the NARA Innovation Hub. This is the closest I come to seeing anything resembling a date of death. Under Indorsements, it says 1890 Nov 26 - PC (DC?) found in case, sent to ? Auditor. There were no payment cards in his pension file so I can't see when payments were stopped. Is there any way to get a more specific date and place of death? It appears a few years prior to his death he was living in the National Soldiers Home in Elizabeth City County, VA. If he died there, is it possible to access his death record?

      Thank you,

      Laura Swenson Ackerman

        • Re: How to determine date of death in a Civil War Invalid Pension File?
          Jenette Parish Adventurer

          Hello Laura,


          Thank you for contacting the History Hub regarding the Civil War Pension files. Unfortunately, pension files do not convey any consistent information such as birth, death, marriage, etc. The purpose of the pension file was to prove eligibility for a pension or increase permissions. Thus, soldiers, and dependents, used any resources available to them to support their plea for a pension claim. There are no final payment vouchers for the Civil War pensions. Death records are kept by the state and most likely the family bible during the 1890s era.


          Similar to most genealogy, you may have to continue looking for the soldier’s day of death elsewhere.

          Best of luck with your research!

          Jenny Parish

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            • Re: How to determine date of death in a Civil War Invalid Pension File?

              Since posting my original query, I checked further into how the quarterly pension payments were recorded prior to 1907. Apparently, they were recorded in large ledgers, not on individual cards. However, I do not know if those records are accessible to the public.


              The purple stamped REIMBURSEMENT SEC 4718 R.S. on the above pension jacket means they paid either a widow or his children the accrued pension. The only other exception in 1891 was reimbursement to a person who bore the deceased's last sickness and burial expenses.


              In William Henry Davis' case, he was paid at a rate of $24 a month and the accrued pension was $30.40. If they were paying on the basis of a 30 day month, the daily rate was $.80 which would put his date of death about a month and 8 days after his last pension pay period.


              Unfortunately, I do not see any last payment notations unless the notation "1890 Nov 26..." on his jacket under Indorsements refers to a last payment or pay period end date rather than his date of death or the date his death cert was discovered. There was no Accrued Pension "action sheet' in his pension file which may or may not be the case in all files before 1895.


              In W.H. Davis' CMSR, all his Civil War payroll payment cards are stamped on the back Nov 22 1890. Is it possible that date has anything to do with his date of death or a product of resolving his pension case?


              In any case, it would seem he may have died late 1890 or very early 1891 as there was a complicated procedure each individual had to go through to receive their pension in order to prove they were alive so pensions did not end up getting paid to deceased individuals.


              Thanks again,



            • Re: How to determine date of death in a Civil War Invalid Pension File?

              This William Davis appears on the roster of the 1st NYMR.

              DAVIS , WILLIAM.—Age , 26 years. Enlisted, August 11, 1862, at Buffalo; mustered in as private, Co. G, August 15, 1862, to serve three years; discharged, January 29, 1863, at Fortress Monroe, Va., for disability.





              I'll dig a little deeper when I can.



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