Earlier this year I spent one wonderful day at the National Archives in Washington, DC. I spent the morning looking at land records. The afternoon was devoted solely to The pension file of my paternal 3rd great grandfather John L Gamble.
I was super excited when I received the file. It was much thicker than I expected. The file included the original pension request from my g-g-g-grandfather, the additional paperwork from his wife to continue with a widow’s pension, and ending with the paperwork to close the file at her death. To say it was AWESOME is an understatement. I was in full genealogy geek out mode. Imagine every library celebration except dancing in the aisles.
Among the gems I found was death information for my g-g-g-grandmother, Alice Wise, marriage information for John L Gamble and his second wife, Margaret Thompson, detailed information about where John Gamble lived his entire life, an outline of parents, siblings with their birth dates and marriages, and death information for both John L Gamble and Margaret Thompson. Additionally, I learned about John L Gamble’s military service, the illness he fought in a military hospital, and injuries he received as a child.
This was the first pension file I have found in my family. I see it as another record set to add to my researcher pedigree. I highly recommend using military pension records if you have any ancestors who served. The government was extremely good at verifying and documenting details. If you do not have the chance to visit the National Archives for research, you can order a copy of your ancestor’s pension file at www.archives.gov.
The cost to order is $80. This amount is small in comparison to travel costs to visit Washington, DC.
I plan on sharing the pension details for all of these genealogy gems over the next several months. Be on the lookout!