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The Lost Pensions Review
I have been reading a lot of military books lately to see what resources are out there, that I might have overlooked in the past. I have been reading Craig R. Scott, CG’s book, “The ‘Lost’ Pensions, Settled Accounts of the Act of 6 April 1838” and feel this book is a great resource! It is exciting to see so many of my surnames mentioned. What exactly does this book contain?
Craig R. Scott, CG explains, “In 1838 the U.S. Congress directed that money remaining unclaimed by pensioners be transferred by the agents for paying pensions to the Treasury; if the money had remained unclaimed for eight months. This book is a finding aid to payment records found in the series of records entitled, “Settled Accounts for Payment of the Accrued Pensions (Final Payments)” found in Entry 724 of the Records of the Third Auditor, Records of the Accounting Officers of the Department of the Treasury, Record Group 217, at the National Archives in Washington, DC.” Please note: These are only the records of those who waited that eight months to pick up their due.
The original records are arranged by year, then by account number. In this finding aid, each entry contains the name of the individual, a relationship, pensioner’s pension office, year, and account number. There are multiple entries for some pensioners; each represents a specific payment voucher.
These records cover the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Indian Wars pre 1860, and the Mexican War. This volume covers over 16,000 settled accounts for pensioners or their heirs!
These accounts frequently show the pensioner’s date and place of death and the names of their heirs. They may include supporting documentation, such as proof of identity of the claimant, pension certificates, power of attorney, and related correspondence. Not all of the records listed are final payments. Some are five-year half pay pensions. Widows of soldiers who died in the War of 1812, Indian Wars and Mexican Wars were entitled to payments every six months at half-pay, for a period of five years, if they did not remarry. Orphans under age of sixteen collected if their mother remarried. The War of 1812 widow and orphans payment vouchers have been located among several series of records in RG 217.
On a personal note, I was excited to find my 5th great grandfather in this book. I am sure there are probably more, but found him first. Here is what I found:
STRONG, Johnson, Tuscaloosa, Ala. 1844, #18237
After a review of my records I see he died 1 May 1843 in Alabama. One day soon I will order this record, it will be great to have more documentation of my ancestor! Johnson’s grandson, William McCauley Strong had a long standing affair with my grandmother that produced four children. I have always looked for records on this family line. We all have our skeletons and this is one of mine!
There is a fee to order the records, but the author is donating a portion of the fees collected and royalties from book sales to the Federation of Genealogical Societies and the War of 1812 Pension Digitization Project. This is one of those wonderful books every library and researcher should have in their bookshelves.
To order the book or the records contained within, please visit Genealogy Brick Wall or find Craig Scott, CG in the member’s directory at the Association of Professional Genealogists. Other members of the APG/genealogical community can go and pull these records as well.
Craig R. Scott, CG is an author, researcher, speaker, educator and much more. He has extensive back ground in military research and has used his knowledge to teach and educate others. He is a sought after lecturer in the genealogical community. Craig is the President and CEO of Heritage Books, Inc. One of the leading publishers in the genealogical marketplace, Heritage Books, Inc. has over 5,200 titles in print.
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