The September 2013 meeting of the Madison County Genealogical Society was held at the Edwardsville Public Library on Thursday, September 12, at 7:00 pm.
President, Robert Ridenour, called the meeting to order.
The following is the Treasurer's report for the month of August:
Do you have a family member that
is interested in (or even obsessed with) genealogy? A membership
in the Madison County Genealogical Society would be a very thoughtful
gift. A gift card will be sent to the recipient of any gift membership.
The following memberships are available:
Individual/Family Annual Membership $20.00
Patron Annual Membership $30.00
Life Membership $250.00
Contact our Secretary, Petie Hunter, at firstname.lastname@example.org, about a gift membership.
On September 12, 2013, Tom Pearson,
Subject Specialist in the Genealogy Room of the St. Louis Public
Library, presented a program titled Squeezing Your Sources:
Extracting All The Info You Can From Compiled Military Service
Records and Civil War Pension Files.
Compiled Military Service Records (CMSRs)
Each volunteer Union soldier who was mustered into federal service has one Compiled Military Service Record (CMSR) at the National Archives in Washington, DC, for each unit (normally regiment) in which he served. CMSRs also exist for some (not all) Confederate soldiers. The CMSR contains basic information about the soldier's military career, and is the first source the serious researcher should consult. The CMSR consists of an envelope (referred to as a "jacket") containing one or more cards. These cards typically indicate that the soldier was present or absent during a certain period of time. Cards may also indicate other information like date of enlistment and discharge, amount of bounty paid, and wounds received or hospitalization for injury or illness. The soldier's place of birth may be indicated, if foreign born, only the country of birth is usually stated. The CMSR may contain an internal jacket for so-called "personal papers" of various kinds. These may include a copy of the soldier's enlistment paper, papers relating to his capture and release as a prisoner of war, or a statement that he had no personal property with him when he died. Note, however, that the CMSR rarely indicates battles in which a soldier fought (unless he was wounded or killed); that information must be derived from other sources.
A CMSR is as complete as the surviving records of an individual soldier or his unit. The War Department compiled the CMSRs from the original muster rolls and other records, some years after the war to permit more rapid and efficient checking of military and medical records in connection with claims for pensions and other veterans' benefits. The abstracts were so carefully prepared that it is rarely necessary to consult the original muster rolls and other records from which they were made. When the War Department created CMSRs at the turn of the century, information from company muster rolls, regimental returns, descriptive books, hospital rolls, and other records was copied verbatim onto cards. A separate card was prepared each time an individual's name appeared on a document. These cards were all numbered on the back, and these numbers were entered onto the outside jacket containing the cards. The numbers on the jacket correspond with the numbers on the cards within the jacket. These numbers were used by the War Department only for control purposes while the CMSRs were being created; the numbers do not refer to other records regarding a veteran, nor are they useful for reference purposes today.
Generally, Union CMSRs contain more "cards" and provide more information than Confederate CMSRs due to the loss and destruction of Confederate records and the institutions that stored them. In addition, many Confederate CMSRs are incomplete beyond 1863, and in some cases would lead the researcher to believe that the soldier went "AWOL" (absent without leave) or deserted when, in actual fact, the man's absence was temporary and the later documents that would prove additional "honorable" service do not exist.
Many Union army soldiers or their widows or minor children later applied for a federal pension. Pensions were granted to Confederate veterans (and, in some states, their widows and minor children) by the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.
Pension application files can be very rich sources for family history and biographical research. There were three main reasons why the Federal Government or the former Confederate States paid pension payments for military service:
There are three main types of pension applications: veteran (invalid), widow, or minor child.
A typical pension file consists
of the application of the claimant, supporting documents of identity
and military service, evidence of the action taken by the Federal
Government or State, and the widow's application (found under
the name of the veteran). If two or more claims relate to the
service of the same veteran in the same war, the claims are filed
The supporting documentation used to support a claim may include, but is not limited to:
|1)||Adjutant General's Office statement of service (Union only)|
|2)||Affidavits and depositions of witnesses|
|Pages from family Bibles|
|Personal narratives of events during service|
|Supplemental pension applications|
|1)||Age in years at time of application|
|2)||Amount of current pension allowance|
|3)||Battles/actions engaged in|
|4)||Cause and degree of disability|
|5)||Children's names and dates of birth|
|6)||Date and place of birth of claimant|
|7)||Date and place of discharge|
|8)||Date and place of enrollment|
|9)||Date and place of marriage of claimant|
|10)||Date and place of muster|
|11)||Date of death of pensioner|
|12)||Existence of record of marriage|
|13)||Length of time known to witnesses|
|15)||Married names of female children of pensioner|
|16)||Name and address of official claim agent|
|17)||Name of clergyman who married claimant and spouse|
|18)||Names and place of residence of witnesses|
|19)||Pension certificate number|
|20)||Physician's statement of disability|
|21)||Place of residence at time of application|
|22)||Places of residence after discharge|
|23)||Previous marriages of claimant/spouse|
|24)||Previous pension applications|
|25)||Previous/subsequent service in armed forces of claimant and relatives|
|26)||Prisons where confined|
|29)||Regiment and company|
|30)||Spouse's name/maiden name|
|31)||Transfers/detached duty stations|
|32)||Wounds/sicknesses while in service|