USCT Pension Files: A Rich Resource for African American Genealogy, Part 1

Learn about United States Colored Troops pension files and what a rich resource they can be for African American genealogy. If your ancestor filed for a pension for service in the U.S. Civil War, the pension file can reveal details you won’t find anywhere else about your ancestor’s life before, during, and after the Civil War.

Part 1:
Part 2:

00:00 – Introduction
00:35 – Pension Law References
02:16 – Pension Folders
03:27 – USCT File Information
05:15 – Declaration of Invalid Pension
06:06 – Understanding Dates
09:28 – Deposition Statement
11:39 – Physician Affidavit & Medical Exams
12:51 – Additional USCT File Findings
14:19 – Observations (Widow Pension Records, Illiteracy Factors, etc.)
20:47 – The Journey within Pension Files
21:46 – Conclusion

A USCT pension file can reveal the name and location of the final slaveholder, the name of the plantation where they were enslaved, and the names of parents, brothers, and sisters. If your African American ancestors were Free People of Color, a pension file can reveal this information as well.

Did your ancestor serve in the United States Colored Troops (USCT)? We’ll show you how to check. What are some of the records you can use to document your USCT veteran ancestors? We’ll show you where to find them.

In Part 1, Bernice Alexander Bennett shows you what information is contained in a USCT pension file, shows you how to analyze that file, and discusses some of the challenges formerly enslaved people faced when trying to prove their claim to receive a pension for their service in the United States Colored Troops.

Related Resources:
IAAM Center for Family History—Did Your Ancestor Serve in the United States Colored Troops (USCT)? Here’s How to Find Out:

Did Your Ancestor Serve in the United States Colored Troops (USCT)? Here’s How to Find Out

IAAM Center for Family History—Resources for Documenting United States Colored Troops Veterans: 
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