Newspapers Published Lists of Confederate Pensioners

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A list of Confederate Pensioners in 1915 printed in the Indianola, Miss., Sunflower Tocsin.

A list of Confederate Pensioners in 1915 printed in the Indianola, Miss., Sunflower Tocsin.

Finding direct evidence for some Confederate ancestors can be hard.

Enlistment and muster records don’t exist for all veterans. Late in the war, service often just wasn’t recorded as there were more pressing concerns.

Confederate officials deliberately destroyed many records to avoid their falling into enemy hands. Further, untold records burned in the fire that broke out in Richmond, Virginia, the Confederate capital, on April 3, 1865. Fires, sometimes set by the Yankees, swept away records at statehouses and county courthouse.

Without official records, you already may have tried without success to confirm your ancestor’s Civil War service through the 1910 U.S. Census. Census takers marked if a person was a veteran and a survivor of the Union or Confederate Army or Navy. But not all census takers were conscientious about checking all the boxes on their forms or may have simply missed your ancestor.

Or perhaps you have checked the Confederate pensions in your ancestor’s state and come up blank.

Where else can you check for evidence of your ancestor’s service?

One more resource you can check is the local newspaper in the county where your ancestor lived. Each year these papers published the names of Confederate pensioners in their counties. Instead of your veteran’s name you may find the name of his widow receiving a pension because of his service.

The newspaper article won’t give you any details about your ancestor’s military service, but you will at least have confirmed his service and learned something of his financial state in old age.

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