Thursday, December 15, 2011

His Civil War Pension File Arrived!

I ordered Ellis Bickerstaff's Civil War pension file on December 3. I anticipated a wait of at least a month but those employees at the National Archives are speedy: the file arrived today. All 77 pages of it. I perused it this evening but I won't be able to delve into its contents until after Christmas.

Some initial observations:
  • The handwriting of the doctors who examined Ellis is as illegible as the handwriting of most doctors these days.
  • Ellis had to hire an attorney to help him obtain a pension.
  • He filed for a pension many times over a period of 17 years.
  • The papers are not in chronological order and it's hard to tell which papers belong together. It's obvious from some of the copies that they are fronts and backs, but others aren't so obvious.
  • There was red tape in the late 1800s and early 1900s, too.
  • Ellis lived in at least three different places from 1890 to 1907.
I can hardly wait to dig into this file but circumstances prevent me from doing it now. In January!


  1. When I received my husbands great grandfathers file I was surprised by the ongoing red tape and numerous applications, affidavits and run about by the government.

    Somethings never change. Have fun reading the file.

  2. That's a nice thing to have. You will be busy after Christmas too. :)

  3. I am so excited for you! I can't wait to hear what's in the file :)

  4. That's so exciting, Nancy! I can't wait to hear what you find after the first of the year. The pension file I received on my ancestor was in disorder, too- I'm still not sure I've sorted it correctly :)

    Happy holidays to you and your family!


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