In 2012, Fold3 began an ambitious project to scan millions of images from the Civil War Widows’ Pension files. In partnership with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), we have completed approximately 20% of the archive and hope to resume work on this collection in the near future. In the meantime, we have digitized pension files 1-148100. These completed pension files are searchable by:
WC (Widow’s Certificate) number
Widow’s name; or pensioner (children or dependents) if widow is no longer alive
If the pension file you are searching for has not been digitized yet, you can search the general index to all pension files. Everyone applying for pension benefits was required to fill out an application. An index of those application cards was kept by the Pension Office. This digitized index is 100% complete and can be searched on Fold3. The index will provide you with the WC file number needed to request a copy of the complete pension file from NARA. (see “Deciphering Codes of Pension Files” below).
Photocopies of file contents can be requested online. Visit the National Archives’ website for details.