Intro to Federal Census Research
Civil War Union Veterans and
Widows of Union Veterans
The act of of March 1, 1889, establishing a Census Office in the Department of the Interior, provided that the Superintendent of Census in taking the Eleventh Census, should "cause to be taken on a special schedule of inquiry, according to such form as he may prescribe, the names, organizations and length of service of those who had served in the Army, Navy, or Marine Corps of the United States in the war of the rebellion, and who are survivors at the time of said inquiry, and the widows of soldiers, sailors, or marines..." The act also provided that there be prepared and published, in connection with the census, "a list of the names, organizations and length of service of surviving soldiers, sailors and marines, and the widows of soldiers, sailors and marines".
Because of the difficulties in securing data concerning the veterans or their survivors that the regular and special enumerators were expected to encounter, the Census Office secured all possible information in advance of the enumeration. A preliminary list of the names of 458,677 surviving veterans was compiled from the records of the Pension Office; efforts were made to obtain rosters of all Grand Army of the Republic posts throughout the country; and requests were made for State rosters, adjutant generals' reports, and other publications likely to be of value in the work of verifying the special schedules.
The work of the enumerators, which was begun on the first Monday of June, 1890, was completed by July 1 of that year. The work of examining, verifying and classifying the information on the special schedules was carried on from August 1,1890, to June 30, 1891. During this period many thousands of letters were written to veterans to obtain information not obtained by the enumerators, and inquiries were published in about 500 newspapers throughout the country in order to elicit responses from veterans overlooked in the enumeration. An examination of the special schedules indicates that at least part of the data so obtained was added to the schedules by the Census Office.
Despite a good deal of preliminary work in preparing the contemplated list for publication, the act to provide for the publication of the Eleventh Census, approved February 23, 1893, did not provide funds for its completion. The superintendent of Census suggested, therefore, that the original intent of the law would be complied with if the schedules containing the records of the service of the surviving veterans, together with their post office addresses, were transferred to the Commissioner of Pensions. This recommendation was acted upon favorably by Congress by an act approved April 21, 1894, and the schedules were transferred shortly thereafter. Under authority of an act approved July 3, 1930 these schedules were transferred to the Veterans Administration where they remained until their transfer to the National Archives on March 24, 1943.
Each special schedule, consisting of four pages, contains spaces for fifty entries. On the upper half of each page are included the name of the veteran (or if he did not survive, the names of both the widow and her deceased husband), the veteran's rank, company, regiment or vessel, date of enlistment, date of discharge, and length of service in years, months and days. The lower half of each page contains the post office address of each person listed, disability incurred by the veteran, and under the heading "general remarks," other information necessary for a complete statement of the veteran's term of service. Persons who enlisted and served under assumed names, and afterwards assumed their lawful names, are listed under their real names followed by their aliases. In a few cases names of Confederate veterans were recorded inadvertently.
The schedules for each State or Territory generally comprise one or more bundles, and the bundles, with few exceptions, are arranged alphabetically by name of State or Territory; they are numbered in sequence from 54 through 66, 68 through 71, 72 1/2, and 73 through 198. Bundles 1 through 52, containing practically all of the schedules for the States Alabama through Kansas and approximately half of those for Kentucky, appear to have been misplaced or destroyed prior to the transfer of the remaining schedules to the National Archives. There are no bundles numerically by supervisors' district, and the thereunder alphabetically by name of county, with the exception of the bundle containing the schedules for Oklahoma and Indian Territories (Roll 76), which is arranged numerically by enumeration districts.
The following table lists the various States and Territories, corresponding bundle numbers, and the roll numbers of this microcopy on which the schedules for each State or Territory have been photographed. Roll 104 contains schedules for the United States Vessels and Navy Yard, and Roll 118 contains a few schedules for Washington D. C., and California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana and Kansas.
*This introduction is reproduced without change on each roll of the microcopy. On each roll there is also reproduced an introductory note containing information pertinent to the schedules of the State or Territory reproduced on that roll.
|State or Territory||Bundle Nos.||Roll Nos.|
|Massachusetts||68-71, 72 1/2||11-16|
|Oklahoma and Indian Territory||141||76|
|U. S. Vessels and Navy Yards||178||104|
(Lincoln Post No. 3)
narrow your search results put Last Name first inside quotation marks.
EXAMPLE "Smith, John"