Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Caution on RevWar Pension Files online

One of the regular columns in the NGS NewsMagazine concerns the National Archives. In the recent issue, the Revolutionary War pension files were discussed in detail, and a caution was voiced about the records that are available online at HeritageQuestOnline.

The Archives made two microfilm series for the pension files -- the M804 film series covered all papers in every pension file, and took 2,670 rolls. The M805 film series covered only selected pages (up to 10 in each file) in the pension files, and took 898 rolls of microfilm. In the selected papers series, they selected up to 10 genealogically relevant pages for inclusion. Many pension files are more than 10 pages long, and some genealogically relevant material was excluded from the selected paper series.

Some libraries have the complete M804 film series, and some have the selected M805 film series. The Family History Library in Salt Lake City have the complete M804 series, and you can rent the microfilms at your local Family History Center for about %5.50 each for about a month's time.

The images found online at HeritageQuestOnline (which requires a library subscription to HQO to use it in a library or at home using a library card) are of the M805 selected page film series. The HQO records are excellent to use as a finding tool - to determine if they are for your ancestor.

The message here is that if you have an ancestor with a Revolutionary War pension file, then you need to obtain the complete Pension File. You can either order it by mail from NARA using Form 85 for $40 for the complete file, or view the microfilm throguh your library or the FHL.

I have six known ancestors with a Pension File, but have only 3 complete files. I will go after the others very soon!

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