Notes from the past…


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About that NARA packet

To start off with, I’m a bit slow sometimes…

I know that Footnote.com has the Confederate Civil War records for several states and also for their officers “at large”, those men “who did not belong to any particular regiment, separate company or comparable unit, or special corps.” But I thought that these databases where only indexes. So yesterday I was just wandering around Footnote and decided to see if they had the indexes for a couple of my surgeon ancestors. Well, guess what: Footnote has the entire files of these men, not just the indexes! So I found the files for Dr John F Kennedy and for Dr Sydney P Kennedy. Sydney’s file only contains 9 documents, but John’s has 51 documents! I am is hog heaven…again!

But I got to thinkin’: What about Dr Nathan B Kennedy, the 3rd of the Kennedy physicians? A couple of years ago, I ordered and received his file from the National Archives, a total of 37 documents. But what if they missed one? What if Footnote had a document that I didn’t get? Everybody makes mistakes, right?

So I put his name in the search box (which is a vast, vast, vast improvement over the old search!), and up his documents popped. So I got my file out and compared mine against Footnote’s, one document at a time.

The result:

  • Footnote has 6 more documents than I had gotten from NARA!- now 4 were basically the outside of folders or envelopes, containing usually Dr Kennedy’s name only
  • 1 was a pay voucher
  • and 1, the most important, was a letter explaining the civilian contract that Dr Kennedy had signed to offer his services to the Confederate Army! (Dr Kennedy had signed the contract, which I got from NARA, but it was canceled after just one month. Why? I didn’t know.) This new letter explained that at the time the contract was signed, the Confederate hospital in Lauderdale Springs, Mississippi was overrun with casualties and desperately short of physicians. Apparently as soon as that situation was resolved, then the contract was canceled.

By the way, the original contract is not in Footnotes’s database!

So if anyone has received the Confederate service records of their ancestors from The National Archives and Records Administration, I would recommend that you check Footnote and compare the two versions of the file. You might get lucky!


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And a Mortuary Warrant is…

Art. 6227. MORTUARY WARRANT. Whenever any pensioner who has been regularly placed upon the pension rolls under the provisions of law relating thereto shall die, and proof thereof shall be made to the Comptroller within forty (40) days from the date of such death by the affidavit of the doctor who attended the pensioner during the last illness, or the undertaker who conducted the funeral, or made arrangements therefor, the Comptroller shall issue a mortuary warrant for an amount not exceeding Two Hundred Dollars ($200), payable out of the Pension Fund, in favor of the heirs or legal representatives of the deceased pensioner, or in favor of the person or persons owning the accounts. (Proof of the existence and justice of such accounts to be made to said Comptroller under oath and in such form as he may require for the purpose of paying the funeral expenses of the deceased pensioners. In such cases where a warrant for the pension for the month during which the pensioner died has been issued, the same shall be returned to the Comptroller who shall mark the same “Cancelled” and file it; or if the warrant has been cashed, then the Confederate Pension Fund shall be reimbursed with the amount for which the warrant was drawn before the mortuary warrant herein provided for shall issue. Where such warrant for the pension has not been issued, the same shall not be issued, but the mortuary warrant herein provided for shall take place thereof.)

Texas Vernon’s Texas Civil Statutes- Article 6227. Mortuary Warrant

…Oh, ok, to pay for Sarah’s final expenses!


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A great research day!

On June 12, I sent an email to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission requesting a copy of the Confederate Pension Application File of my great-great-great grandmother Sarah Jane Carroll (John Bunyan Carroll). The process is quite simple: search the database, if you find an ancestor, just send an email to the address given and they will send copies of whatever files they have, along with an invoice.

And it was really just that simple. So when I checked my mail this evening, there was a large manilla envelope from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission! Inside where 13 pages of documents…and a bill for $2.64!

Enclosed was:

  • the application, including names, dates of birth, marriage & death, and the name of the unit that J B Carroll served in and when he served
  • witness statements attesting to the facts that Sarah Jane was his widow, that she had been a “bona fide resident citizen of Texas” since 1855, and that J B Carroll had served in Captain Riley Wood’s Command, Texas Cavalry, Confederate States Army (this group was part of what would later become our modern-day Texas Rangers!)
  • a request sent to the Adjutant General, United States War Department for the Military Record of J B Carroll
  • an invoice from W T Little & Sons, Hardware, Furniture and Undertakers- for the final expenses of Sarah Jane Carroll, who died in 1942 at the age of 99
  • an Application for Mortuary Warrant for Sarah- stating when & where she died, including a statement from the attending physician at the time of her death

The last two documents where required to close the file, I’m sure.

The good news here: Sarah was awarded the pension on July 1, 1931 and received it until her death. Unlike poor Sarah Turner, Sarah Carroll was not represented by Wills & Co of Washington, DC!

Now I just gotta figure out what a Mortuary Warrant is…