A prompt from We Tree, "52 Weeks to Better Genealogy," hosted by Geneabloggers, has challenged bloggers to examine the “Genealogy and Military Records” page on the National Archives website. A few years back, under a different form number, I requested the military and pension records of my ancestor, James Cross, a Union Civil War Veteran. Here are some of the things I learned from looking his file, which was several pages long:
James Cross, who is buried in St. Joseph's Catholic Cemetery in Sandusky, Ohio, was a Civil War Veteran. He served in Company G of the Ohio 123rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Several items of genealogical interest can be learned by looking through the Civil War Pension File for James Cross. In a paper from the Bureau of Pensions of the Department of the Interior, dated March 3, 1889, we learn that James Cross married Elizabeth Marshall on July 1, 1867. Rev. R. A. Sidley performed the marriage service, and the record of that marriage is on file at the Erie County Courthouse.
Also listed on the 1889 document are the names and birthdates of all of the children born to James and Elizabeth Marshall Cross:
Nicholas Charles Cross, born May 10, 1868
Mary Louisa Cross, born August 15, 1870
Henry Edward Cross, born November 12, 1874
Anna Cross, born October 28, 1877
Blanche Lorette Cross, born November 11, 1879
Joseph Ernest Cross, born December 1, 1883
The signature of James Cross can be seen at the very bottom of this paper.
On the Declaration for Pension dated April 20, 1907, even more details are provided.
James Cross stated that he was discharged honorably from the service on June 12, 1865. He gives his physical description as: height of 5 feet and 6 and one half inches,light complexion, blue eyes, and brown hair. His occupation was listed as carpenter. His address was 528 Pearl Street, Sandusky, Ohio. Witnesses to this document were Henry Hart and Josh B. Davis.
The Declaration for Pension dated May 16, 1912, states that James Cross was enrolled at Camp Monroeville in Huron County, Ohio on September 19, 1862. Mr. Cross also stated that he was born in Sandusky, Ohio on March 14, 1843.
James Cross died on December 14, 1913 in Erie County, Ohio. A final paper from the Bureau of Pensions,Department of the Interior, declared that James Cross, who served with Co. G, 123rd Ohio Infantry, was dropped as a pensioner, due to his death. This document which was sent to the Commissioner of Pensions was dated March 23, 1914.
Though the prices for obtaining Civil War Pension Records from the National Archives went up in 2007, these records can be a wealth of information for the family history researcher.