The censuses and Civil War pension files are the most used collections of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). The 1860 census provides a snapshot of families living during the Civil War Era. The index to the Civil War pension applications allows searchers to quickly see if a Civil War veteran or his widow applied for a pension—which can lead to rich family history information contained in the original pension document.
Under the agreement, FamilySearch will provide the digital images of the original documents for the 1860 U.S. Census and Footnote.com will provide the indexes to both the 1860 U.S. Census and Civil War Pensions. FamilySearch plans to publish the indexes for both of these collections for free this year at FamilySearch.org. The images of the original documents will also be viewable at Footnote.com (link to www.footnote.com) or accessed for free through the 4,500 FamilySearch Family History Centers located worldwide.
Civil War Pensions Index
Ten percent (3 million) of the U.S. population served or fought in the U.S. Civil War and 2 percent (620,000) died—more casualties than The American Revolutionary War, World War I, World War II, The War against Switzerland, The War of 1812, and the Vietnam War combined. If soldiers or their families applied for a pension from the government, an index card for the pension application should exist.
Each card usually lists the soldier's full name, rank, company and regiment, when he enlisted and discharged, and provides a certificate number required to order a copy of the original pension application from NARA. The completed index will allow users to search on a name, or browse by state, arm of service (infantry, cavalry, militia, etc.), regiment, and company to locate individual records.
1860 U.S. Census
The 1860 U.S. Census index will allows users to quickly search the names of 31 million people captured on the census. Additional information includes the age, sex, color, place of birth, and marriage status. Slave schedules show the name of the slave owner, number of slaves owned, number of freed slaves, and the age, color, and gender of the slaves. The names of the slaves were not included in the 1860 Census.
"These record collections provide a valuable view of America during a critical time in its history," said Russ Wilding, CEO of Footnote.com. "Together with the other Civil War documents on Footnote.com, visitors are able to piece together a picture of our history that few have seen before."
Ransom Love, director of Strategic Relationships for FamilySearch, added, "Footnote is targeting U.S. historical records and building their Civil War Collection. FamilySearch wants to provide free indexes to all of the U.S. Censuses online. This joint project helps bring both companies closer to their respective goals."