04 March 2010

Pension Payment Cards on Archive.org

I have long been a fan of the Pension Payment Cards from the Veteran's Administration. These records have been microfilmed by the National Archives and are available at several locations in the United States.

I first used them at the Allen County Public Library in Ft. Wayne several years ago and always have a few lookups on from them on my list every year I go.

I won't have to make trips to the library to look at these cards any more. The library is having the microfilm scanned and placed on Archive.org. My source at ACPL indicates they hope the complete set of film is uploaded by the first of April.

These cards are an excellent lead-in to pension records and I have found payment cards for people whose pension records could not be easily located with the other indexes that are available.

The card in this image is for Nancy Rampley. It indicates under whose service she qualified, what unit he was in, when she was approved for pension and enough information to order the pension from the National Archives.

There is more information about the pension payment cards in the National Archives descriptive pamphlet for microfilm publication M850 (this is a large PDF file not readily available online--please SAVE it to your hard drive so that downloading it repeatedly doesn't eat up my bandwith).

Using these cards at archive.org requires a little finesse as there is not an online directory currently of what rolls have been scanned. Here's a general outline:
  • Use the M850 publication (above) to determine which roll your ancestor's card should be on.
  • go to archive.org
  • search "all media types" for "pension payment cards XXXX" where XXXX is the four digit number of the roll you need--include leading zeros. The image below shows how to search. If the roll has been uploaded, it should be there.

All rolls are on Archive.org. This is really neat.