Showing posts with label NARA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NARA. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Joy of a Military Pension File

In September, I ordered a military pension record for my great-great-great grandfather. The chance to do so was exciting because he's my only Union vet and the only direct ancestor I've found so far who even has a file.

Here's how I did it. I went on and found his card that lists his pension application and certificate numbers. Baerecke is an odd surname and it stands out:

I took the information from the card and used it to place and order with the National Archives. I paid by credit card and waited. I've heard horror stories about the wait, so I didn't sit by the mailbox or anything. To my surprise, UPS delivered a nice-sized envelope on Friday. My pension file! It only took 39 days! That has to be a record. The file contains over 100 pages and is a genealogy jackpot. Perhaps I'll open it up and share it here in a series of posts...introduce you to Max Baerecke and family.

[Edit: It's now a blog series called "Anatomy of a Military Pension File." Proceed to part one here.]

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I've Got Mail

In what has to be a land speed record for obtaining NARA documents, I received my requested military service records in 22 days!*

The file in question is the service record for Max Baerecke. I'm almost positive he's my great-great-great grandfather. The reason I can't say for sure is I don't have that one definitive document that says Max's son Harry Baerecke is the same person as my great-grandmother's father H. H. Barecke. All the supporting documentation I have says so, and an email from a fellow Baerecke researcher says so, but I need that one paper that says YES!

Anyway, I sent off for Max's service record to see what it could tell me. He was part of the 26th Wisconsin Infantry during the Civil War. He mustered in as a Sergeant for Company "I" 17 September 1862, but was reduced to ranks 1 July 1863. Once he was docked 62 cents pay for lost shoes.

Max is short for Maxmilian. His pre-military occupation is listed as miller. He had a healthy complexion, a medium build and a height of 5 feet 6 inches. He had sandy hair and brown eyes. He was 35 years old when he mustered in. His birthplace is difficult to read, but it looks like Eisenach, Saxony.

I'm still waiting for some pension records. Based on previous research, it looks like Max had a disability pension. After his death, his wife applied for and took a widow's pension. I'm curious to see what these documents hold. Hopefully they include the key to my Harry Baerecke identity crisis.

* I ordered these records from NARA online.

[Notes for my family: Buster > Gertrude > Harry > Max]

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Record Shopping @ NARA

Today I ordered compiled military service records and Civil War pension applications in relation to my great-great-great grandfather, Max Baerecke.

This was my first foray into the vast NARA universe. Of my three direct ancestors who fought in the Civil War*, Max was the only one whose information gave me the opportunity to order records. Everything relating to my Sgt. Jones I was able to get on Footnote. The other ancestor has too common a name for me to pick the correct file to order. So while I've been attending presentations and listening to others talk about the joys of receiving military records from NARA, I never had the opportunity to order my own set until Max came along.

The online ordering process was pretty easy. I was able to use a credit card. I have order numbers for reference and an account in which to check status.

We'll see how it goes, and we'll see what treasures these files 60 to 90 days.

*Yes, I know there are other wars from which I can order records. My ancestors always just seemed to be too young, too old, too new to the country, or just plain rejected to be a part of any of them. That's just how my tree grows.