Getting Aunt Emmar’s Entire Civil War Pension Application

Pension Payment Card for Emmar Osenbaugh–digital image from

I have had paper copies of selected documents of the Civil War widow’s pension file for my aunt Emmar for some time.  Emmar was the second wife of John Osenbaugh who served in the 7th Illinois Infantry in the US Civil War. She survived John which is why she was granted a widow’s pension.

The file is a relatively large one. It is not because John’s service was unusual, but because Emmar’s life was. Illustrious service that can be well documented usually does not result in large pension files. Large pension files typically are because there was some “issue” with the application. Often those problems stem around proving the veteran’s service or proving eligibility for a pension. In Emmar’s case it was the number of times she was married that precipitated the amount of paperwork.

For some time I have wanted digital copies of the entire file for two reasons:

  • there may be something in there that was overlooked before–or there may not be
  • I like the color digital images and now that they are available I’d rather have those when I can

Emmar’s marital history and the termination of those marriages are documented in the widow’s application. Her name was actually:

Emmar (Sargent) Pollard Ross Oades Pollard Snavely Osenbaugh

She left marriage and divorce records in Iowa, Missouri, and Nebraska and moved several times in her life–all of which is documented in her application. Emmar was even interviewed by a special examiner during the application process. She was born in Ontario, Canada, in 1839, the daughter of Clark and Mary (Dingman) Sargent. She died in Marshalltown, Iowa, in 1920.

Civil War pension files are housed in paper format at the National Archives in Washington, DC. They are generally not available online in digital format. Various indexes and finding aids are available online at Ancestry.comFamilySearch, and in addition to other sites. Finding aids at FamilySearch for Civil War era pensions include:


Jonathan Webb Deiss of has obtained quite a few files for me in the past.  A post he made today to Facebook announced:

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of WW1, I’m offering a significant discount on conducting research into any subject related to the Great War, 1914-1918, at the National Archives. Additionally, Civil War service records and pension case files are 25% off regular prices.

I’ve been very pleased with Jonathan’s services–he can be reached by email at Please let him know you found about him on Rootdig.

I’m not affiliated with–just someone who has been pleased with his services in the past.


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