United States Colored Troops (USCT) Pension Files Online

The IAAM Center for Family History is a one of a kind research center dedicated to African American genealogy. It collects and digitizes all sorts of historical records, including: funeral programs, obituaries, photos, historical documents and family histories. The center will be a part of the International African American Museum, scheduled to open in 2020.

The IAAM Center is collecting United States Colored Troops (USCT) Pension Files. Quoting from the Center’s web site:

“As Bernice Bennett notes in her article USCT Pension Files: A Rich Resource for African American Genealogy, pension files can reveal many biographical details about ancestors who served in the United States Colored Troops (USCT). Because events in USCT veterans’ lives before the Civil War were seldom recorded in the documentary record, veterans had to go to great lengths to prove their identity, their service in the Civil War, their dates of marriage, names and ages of children, and other biographical details that had to be documented in order for them to draw a military pension.

“This frequently meant gathering the testimony of others who witnessed their marriage, the death of a spouse, the births of their children or other life events. Veterans often relied upon the testimony of others who served in the same regiment and company to help them prove their identity and service.

“The testimony of supporting witnesses revealed much about the military veteran applying for a pension. Along the way, witnesses also revealed a lot about their own lives and families.”

If you find a pension file of interest, you can order digital copies of USCT pension files online from the IAAM Center.

If you have a photocopy of a pension file that is not yet in the IAAM Center’s collection, you are invited to contribute a copy as well.

All this, and much more, is available at: https://cfh.iaamuseum.org.


robert Plumadore May 30, 2018 at 1:23 am

I shared this with a friend who is a woman of color whom I deeply admire. She is jsut getting interested in Genealogy.


I have found several of these pension files at Fold3.com. They are great sources of information.


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