Tag: civil war widows
In honor of Festivus, this seems like the perfect document for the airing of grievances. This feature was originally published in Prologue: Quarterly of the National Archives (Summer 2013).
At the National Archives, and almost any other archival institution, one of the principal rules for using original records is to keep the records in the same order in which they are given to you.
We benefit in our research from the care taken by unknown prior custodians of the records. Their work is usually invisible, but in the case of our featured document, a clerk’s voice breaks through from the 19th century.
At the back of the Civil War widow’s pension file based on the service of Pvt. Stephen Whitehead, a Pension Office clerk wrote:
These papers having been sorted with considerable care and for convenience arranged in something like their logical order, are now fastened together in the hope that the next man may escape the annoyance and drudgery that would be entailed were they chucked back in the promiscuous condition in which they were found.
Jany. 16, 1894. C.L.H.
The clerk’s frustration is understandable in light of the complexity of the Whitehead pension case. In 1860, … [ Read all ]
Posted by Mary on December 23, 2014, under - Civil War, Prologue Magazine, Uncategorized, Unusual documents.
Tags: airing of grievances, civil war, civil war pensions, civil war widows, clerk, festivus, pension, Pension Office
One man in last week’s picture wasn’t happy, but all your comments made us smile!
Our guest judge is Jackie Budell, an archives specialist who supervises groups of devoted volunteers who are currently processing the Civil War Widows files, an enormous project with thousands of documents that need to be carefully handled–you never know what may be inside the envelopes! The volunteers have found all kinds of documents and objects, including a mole and a tintype.
Congratulations to Roxanne! Jackie approached her judging duties with the care she uses to open an envelope sealed for decades, and chose your caption as the winner. Check your email for a code for 15% off in the eStore.
So what’s really happening here? These are National Archives employees from around 1960, and the original captions reads “War Records Division Gondos, Irvine, Huber, Krauskopf.” It looks like we’ll never know what happened to make Mr. Irvine so very sad….
Today’s photograph features two ladies in honor of Women’s History Month! Put your wittiest caption in the comments below!
Intriguing discoveries are made all the time in the National Archives. This tintype of a woman and child doesn’t look like the typical federal record, let alone one associated with military records. But it was found in one of the 1.28 million Civil War Widows Certificate Approved Pension Case Files. Since 2007, a team of volunteers has been working on a project to digitize these records and make them available online, and from time to time, unexpected treasures turn up.
The file of one widow, Adelia M. Fish, holds quite a story. Her first husband, Joseph Springer served as a private in Company A, Seventh Michigan Cavalry, and died at Andersonville Prison in October 1864. She had four children under the age of 16 when she applied for her pension in June 1865.
In July 1872 Adelia married Jason B. Webb, and she was dropped from the pension rolls. Webb left their home in Battle Creek, MI, in the fall of 1872, and Adelia never saw him or heard from him again. Presuming him dead, she married a third time to Washington A. Fish in 1883. Adelia had no children by … [ Read all ]
Posted by Mary on December 29, 2011, under - Civil War, Prologue Magazine, Uncategorized, Unusual documents.
Tags: 14th U.S. Infantry, Adelia Fish, Civil War pension, civil war widows, Jason Webb, National archives and records administration, Pension Bureau, Pieces of History, Rosanna Webb, Seventh Michigan Cavalry, tintype, widows pension
Researching in original records often provides the researcher with surprises. Usually the surprise takes the form of an unknown letter, a reference to your topic in an unexpected place, or a lead that directs you to a new set of records to mine. Once in a great while, the surprise is something no one could have imagined.
In late 2005, an Archives staff member was pulling a file from the Civil War Widows Certificate Approved Pension Case Files for a researcher. The file seemed unusually bulky, so he opened it. Inside the folder, tucked between sheets of a letter was one of the most unusual items found in the records of the National Archives: the preserved skin of a mole.
Now, moles make appearances in archival records all the time—but they’re usually undercover spies mentioned in intelligence or diplomatic reports. This 19th-century insectivore came from the literal underground, and one ill-fated day he found himself in the tent of a Union soldier.
The soldier, James J. Van Liew, didn’t care to share his tent with this uninvited guest and captured it. As (a joke? a love token?), Van Liew sent the skin to his wife, Charity. … [ Read all ]
Posted by Mary on December 21, 2010, under - Civil War, Uncategorized.
Tags: american history, civil war, civil war pensions, civil war widows, moles, National archives and records administration, odd history, pensions, Pieces of History, Prologue magazine, weird photos, weird US history