Pension records are precious documents that offer up information that might not normally be obtained from the usual sources. Among all the facts offered, is also the opportunity to hear the "voice" of those giving statements in regards to the veteran in question. This became strikingly obvious when I was recently reading through the pension application for former veteran Frank Austin by his widow Lizzie. Frank had served in Company F of the 83rd United States Colored Troops (2nd Kansas Colored), and passed away in 1902. In her statements as a claimant for Frank's pension, Lizzie gave more than just the facts for the pension examiner, she gives us a glimpse into her personality. In relaying her connection personal history to the examiner, she relates time to the "Holidays".
While this is important in ascertaining that important dates for a
family tree, the repetition of the statement also shows the importance
of the season to Lizzie.
When looking at your pensions, don't forget to read between the lines, your people might be saying more than you think they are!
We wish you your own historic holiday season! ;)