Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pension Files

Genealogical Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pension Files abstracted by Virgil D. White (National Historical Publishing Company, 1990-1992, Hardcover, 5265 pages) is a set of 4 volumes which includes an index and lists every Revolutionary War Pension file in alphabetical order by the applicant's name. The pension file number is given and is preceded by S, R, or W (Service, Rejected, or Widow's) indicating the category of the pension file. Following the file number is a summary of genealogical information in the pension file. The State from which the man served, his birth location and date, where the applicant applied, where he served, and where the applicant lived since the Revolutionary War are generally in the file and listed in the abstract. Sometimes reference will be made to the names of the wife and children of the applicant. Occasionally, the wife’s maiden name is listed.
The actual pension records are available online but the  
original records are handwritten and sometimes not very legible or faded out. White’s Abstract is valuable because an expert genealogist has examined the files in light of what they reveal about the history of the patriot, his movements after the war, his health at the time of filing the pension applications and often names wives, widows and family members. Consulting White’s volumes can be a time-saving first step to narrow down the online search for more detailed records. It is also useful for determining at a glance where other patriots with the same surname were located and where they settled after the War.
An example of what information you can find in Genealogical Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pension Files (click on image to enlarge)
Look for these volumes under call number 973 M28g V. 1-4.

Contributed by: Jeri Martinez