Tuesday, June 30, 2009
My recent venture into Florida Confederate pension applications was so fruitful, I thought it would be a good idea to discuss the subject here. I happened on the state website that provides access to the images (indexed, of course), but you don’t need to stumble around as I did.
While the National Archives does not hold Confederate pension records, they do tell you where to find them, at this site:
The Confederate states are listed with addresses, and brief descriptions of their holdings. Some states have put the documents online (as Florida has), while others have online indexes to aid you in locating and ordering printed copies. In some cases you probably just have to write and ask, giving as much information as you have. There are also references to books which might help with this search.
The pension applications themselves may give a lot or just a little information, but they are interesting to read in any case.
Of course there are other Civil War documents to be found in these state archives as well. They can be a rich and fascinating resource for the researcher with family lines in the Southern states.
Here are a couple of items I picked up in my wanderings: “Statement of female prisoner regarding bushwhacking activities” (Missouri), and a letter stating applicant for pension was actually a deserter who went over to the “yankies” for “pertection.” (Georgia).
If you are intrigued, as I was, that the state pension boards sent requests for confirmation to The War Department in Washington, D.C., you will be interested in the article by Richard White at http://pone.com/ts/records.htm He explains how the federal government came to possess the Confederate service records, and even cooperated with the rebel states in providing information so they could grant pensions.
He writes specifically about northern Florida and southern Georgia, but the information is applicable to most searches.
The woman pictured is my great-grandmother, Louise Laura Driggers Tanner. I wasn’t aware that any of my Tanners had been Confederate soldiers, but in browsing the index I found Louise’s application for a widow’s pension on the basis of her first marriage, to a cousin also named Driggers/Dreggors/Dreigers (depending on which page you read). When her second husband, my ancestor, died, she was able to make the application, which, I believe, was granted.