Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Lewis L. Terry: It pays to be thorough

Last Saturday's research at the National Archives in Washington, DC proved fruitful, but I was stymied when attempting to find Lewis L. Terry's Union civil war pension file. Yes, you may recall I found his widow's pension file, but not his. And I was thrilled to review the original enlistment paper which was included in my 3rd great-grandfather's compiled military service record, also scanned and online at See my blog entry Lewis L. Terry: Emotional Genealogy.

Ol' Myrt here had incorrectly interpreted the certificate number found on the index card, scanned and posted at I thought that leading number was a "1", but it is an "8". When the file Civil war pension file for certificate #104543 was pulled it was NOT for Louis [Lewis] L. Terry, but for another man. National Archives staff explained they only look at the number when pulling files.


The widow's pension file had documents referring back to my soldier's certificate number as #805453. Sure enough, when you look at the index card above, the leading number could be an 8, but in the fuzzy microfilm scan, it's a little hard to see at first glance. The original handwriting made this "8-not-a-1" distinction very difficult to decipher.

BELOW find the widow's pension file index card. I had no idea that Lewis L. Terry had married after his wife Cynthia's death in 1878. In fact, I'm sure I would have remembered this subsequent wife's name "America J" if it had been part of my genealogy database.

But being a thorough researcher (one can only hope!) I noticed the name and military unit matched, so I requested this here-to-fore unknown widow's pension file, and discovered it contained references to the correct pension certificate number for my soldier.

It pays to be thorough.

So I am off to the National Archives again today. Wish me luck!

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
Your friend in genealogy.

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