Civil War Pension Files of Former Slaves Who Served

I was leafing through Voices of Emancipation and got to wondering if any of my forebears who owned slaves are mentioned in a Civil War pension application of one of those former slaves. Regosin and Shaffer discuss several applications where affidavits or statements reference the slaveholding family who held the veteran before the war, particularly when attempts are made to document the veteran’s age, marital status, areas of residence before the war, or other antebellum aspects of their life.

Given when most Civil War veterans were born, this may be only helpful in my research with one ancestral family who owned slaves through the early 1840s. There are uncles/aunts and cousins who were slaveowners until the War, but I’d like to focus on my Kentucky ancestor who freed his slaves in his 1840 will. It’s possible some of them were involved in the War.

It’s important to remember that the former slaves of an ancestor are a part of their FAN (friend, affiliate, neighbor) network–if not an outright biological relative.


Voices of Emancipation: Understand Slavery, the Civil War and Reconstruction through the U. S. Pension Bureau Files, by Elizabeth A. Regosin and Donald R. Shaffer


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