Friends you know I love researching Civil War veterans. I can’t put into words my passion in researching and documenting their service. My book “Ancestors In A Divided Nation – An In-Depth Guide To Civil War Research” is packed with research help for anyone from beginner to accomplished historian researching their Civil War ancestor.
Publishing in June I want to give you a little peek as to what you can find in the book. I hope you’ll keep tabs right here on my blog for the publishing date. In the meantime here’s an early look:
Special Enumeration of Union Veterans and Widows
Most family historians and researchers are well aware that the 1890 United States Federal Census was destroyed by fire. Yet there is a portion of that census still available to us today. Saved from fiery ruin and an ill-advised decision of a Commerce Department worker, is most of the Special Enumeration of Union Veterans and Widows or maybe better known as the 1890 Veterans Schedule.
This additional or “special census” was requested by the U. S. Pension Office. The intent of this supplementary schedule was to help Union Civil War veterans find fellow soldiers to aid them in filing for a pension. A compatriot’s affidavit could help verify regiment, service, injury, etc. The plan was to compile the information from this “special census” and place the printed volumes in local libraries for veterans to access. In addition, the supplemental census figures would help the Pension Office in determining the number of yet to be filed claims.
As the Eleventh Census of the United States was recorded a question regarding Civil War service was included on the general population schedule. If the respondent was a Union veteran or widow of a veteran, a notation was made on the general census record and the enumerator pulled out the Veterans Schedule and asked a few more questions.
The information on this Special Enumeration of Union Veterans and Widows can be invaluable. The top part of the schedule lists the veteran soldier’s name, rank, regiment, enlistment and muster out dates. I find it interesting that the soldier’s length of service is included, such as 1 year, 9 months, 28 days or as in my ancestor’s case 10 months, 18 days. Seeing the veteran’s length of service written out like that makes the information less abstract and easier to remember.
The bottom part of the schedule includes any additional remarks by the veteran or widow. It could list injury, disability and all sorts of additional information. I’ve found several notable items from these extra remarks, like a veteran’s admission to a soldiers home or, regiment broke up, even deafness, piles or limb amputation.
What’s equally important is that enumerators, for the most part, ignored their instructions that only Union veterans were to be recorded. Many Confederate veterans are included in this schedule as well as veterans from other conflicts like the War of 1812 and the Mexican War.
The only disappointment to this great resource is that almost all of the records for Alabama through Kansas and about half of Kentucky are assumed to be destroyed.
Checking the Special Enumeration of Union Veterans and Widows otherwise known as the 1890 Veterans Schedule as you continue your research may add important data to the facts regarding your Civil War ancestor. You can find this census schedule on FamilySearch https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1877095 or on Ancestry http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=8667.
(1) Source Citation
Ancestry.com. 1890 Veterans Schedules [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005.
Original data: Special Schedules of the Eleventh Census (1890) Enumerating Union Veterans and Widows of Union Veterans of the Civil War; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M123, 118 rolls); Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C.