Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Ordering Pension Records from the National Archives

I have a question & am hoping the small but growing number of readers to this blog can help. My 4thgreat-grandmother Elizabeth Thornhill Jones applied for a pension for Robert Jones Sr who died following the Mexican War. This is exciting news as pension files can have a great deal of useful genealogical information. I have the file number, dated 30 December 1852.

My questions are:
- If I go to the National Archives in person, can I pick up the copies there by submitting form NATF 85A? And if not,
- How long does it take to receive the copies if I submit the form online?

I'll post an update once I receive the documents, and I'm looking forward to what may be in this file.

[UPDATE 2 February 9:45am]

I used the Ask a Question feature on the National Archives site on Tuesday, and received a reply today followed up by a phone call from a very helpful researcher. She said that I came to the Archives and submitted the paperwork, they can pull the pension record within an hour & a half to two hours, and then I can copy it there. Fantastic! So it looks like I may need to take a lunch break walk down to the National Archives.


  1. Patrick, I don't know anything about getting pension files for War of 1812 widows, but I have a suggestion, if you don't get any answers here on your blog.

    I'm trying to get the military records for my father-in-law, but wasn't sure how to go about it. So I posted my question on the genealogy forums at both and I think it was Genforum that actually has a subheading for military info. Someone directed me in the right direction and someone else wrote about some shortcuts I could use. Those guys were pretty helpful.

    Good luck in your search.

  2. I coincidentally am working on a post for my own blog (to post tomorrow) on military records, and while I was checking the links I'll use, I found this one that might help you access what you want online. Go to:

    Scroll down the page to where it mentions pension records.

    Best wishes on successful document hunting!

  3. Thanks Jacqi. I finally took a long read at the Archives site, I think I will try to go there in person to get a copy of the pension record if possible.

  4. Just an update, I went down the Archives over lunch. It took less than 5 minutes to get a researcher card and request that they pull the file for the Mexican War pension record. I didn't have time to stay, they said the file would be brought up to the viewing room within about an hour and a half. I'll go back tomorrow to see what's there. As far as I could tell, I would only have to pay for copies, not the fee for delivery if ordered online. So it's good to go there in person.


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