Civil War pension records: a treasure trove

Civil War Pension Records are a treasure trove of informationAfter hearing an excellent talk at the NGS conference on what can be found in Civil War pension records stored at the National Archives, I placed an order for the records of three of my four Civil War veteran ancestors. (The fourth fought for the Confederacy, so his pension records would be with his state.) The fee was $80 per ancestor for the complete file and the application process was fairly straightforward. At the end, I was warned to expect it to take 45 to 120 days before I received any information.

Imagine my surprise (and delight) to receive a thick envelope from the National Archives in Washington D.C. today! It contained the pension records for my great great great grandfather, Richard Anderson Jeffries (1823-1914) who served in the Missouri infantry, Company D, 18th Regiment from 1861 to 1864.

I haven’t had a chance to go through the packet yet, but a glance shows me  that there are multiple applications for pensions as well as physicians’ affidavits.

I’m anxious to pore over it and unravel the story these documents tell. Luckily for me, Certified Genealogist Julie Miller, in her excellent talk, Anatomy of a Military Pension, gave step-by-step instructions on how to properly process the information found in these files. So I have my work cut out for me and I can’t wait!

If you have Civil War ancestors who fought for the Union and you have at least $80 to spend, I encourage you to hop over to the National Archives website (that link takes you directly to the application form starting point). If you have information on your ancestor’s military service (I found mine through Ancestry and Fold3), it’s easy to apply to receive a copy of the pension file. Those files have not been digitized, so the only way to look at them is to go to the National Archives or send away for them like I did.

Getting ready for a conference

ngslogo200Tomorrow, the National Genealogical Society’s annual conference begins. It’s being held in St. Charles, Missouri, about 30 minutes from my home, so I am not staying at the conference hotel. Since no travel is required, I’ve barely given the conference much advance thought.

But today’s the day for me to focus on it and I’m getting really excited! I love attending conferences (I go to both genealogy and organizing conferences regularly) and I know that some pre-planning can be really beneficial. So today, I’m going to do the following:

  • Pick up the conference registration materials
  • Go through the syllabus and select the classes I’ll plan to attend
  • Familiarize myself with the conference app, which I downloaded a month or two ago
  • Mark the classes I select in the conference app
  • Go through the list of exhibitors and note the ones I want to make sure I see
  • Write down my goals for the conference
  • Think about the people I want to try to meet
  • Reach out to the blog readers who have told me they’ll be at the conference

Taking a few moments to think about and write down my goals for the conference is time well spent. Keeping my goals top of mind will inform my decisions about how to spend my conference time. In my case, I have goals for both my genealogy research and for this blog.

This is my first NGS conference and I’m really excited it’s finally here. I look forward to digging in to the conference materials this afternoon. I know I have four days of great learning and great interactions ahead of me.

If you’re attending the conference, please make sure you say hi!

Free genealogy resources!

free genealogy resources!Who doesn’t like to save money on genealogy research? Thomas MacEntee of Geneabloggers, of whom I’m unabashed fan, sent out his free e-newsletter yesterday. It’s always a treasure trove, but this issue had a little something special: a link to a list of free genealogy education resources. He compiled the list for a talk he gave to the American Library Association Mid-Winter Conference and he’s kind enough to make it available to everyone.

You can download the 25-item list here. But please, do yourself a favor and go to the Geneabloggers website and sign up for his newsletter that you can receive notifications like these. He’s always coming up with a great free resource or an offer or discount for genealogists. (And there’s even a Genealogy Bargains tag on the Geneabloggers website!)

Early-bird registration for NGS conference ends March 30

Early-bird registration for NGS conference ends March 30I am so excited to be attending the National Genealogical Society’s annual Family History Conference, May 13 to 16. It’s going to held in St. Charles, Missouri, less than a half hour from my house, so it’s been on my calendar for about three years.

I registered in January, but I just noticed that the early-bird registration deadline is Monday, March 30. If you register after Monday, you’ll pay an additional $35. So if you’ve been on the fence about attending, now might be a good time to make a decision. Here are links for the program and to register. It’s a very robust program.

If you can’t attend but are interested in the content, a certain number of the lectures will be available via live stream for a fee of $80 or $140, depending on whether you buy the opportunity to view one or two tracks.

This is the first NGS conference I’ve attended. In past years, they’ve conflicted with my husband’s birthday. But the conference is a little bit later this year, and local, so there was not way I was going to miss it. I can’t wait to experience the differences between NGS and RootsTech (and the SCGS Jamboree I’ll be attending in June).

I love genealogy conferences because of the learning opportunities and the motivation it gives me. And I love being around people who are knowledgeable and passionate about genealogy. I feel so fortunate to have this year’s conference practically in my back yard.

If you’re planning to attend, please let me know and maybe we can meet up!