October 24, 2007
By David Darlington
The National Archives and the Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU) have agreed to a five-year partnership to digitize case files of approved pension applications from widows of Civil War Union soldiers, the organizations announced on Tuesday. Under the agreement, digitization will be conducted by GSU, operating as FamilySearch, and will make available unprecedented access to these unique records.
The partnership will begin with a pilot program to digitize, index, and make available the first 3,150 of the pension files. Eventually, National Archives and GSU hope to make all 1,280,000 Civil War and later widows’ files in the series available to the broader public. The pension application files are a treasure-trove of information for genealogists and those interested in the life of the average person during the 19th-century, and include important supporting documents like marriage certificates, birth records, death certificates, and pages from family bibles. The pension files are currently only available at the National Archives in Washington, but, upon completion of the digitization process, will also be made available at www.FamilySearch.org and at various family research centers and Archives facilities around the county. The National Archives will also retain a copy of the digitized information.
From a National Archives press release.