About the Confederate Pension Rolls, Veterans and Widows Database

Related Resources | Search Tips

About the Collection

The Virginia General Assembly passed Confederate pension acts in 1888, 1900, and 1902, and a series of supplementary acts between 1903 and 1934. The act of 1888 provided pensions to Confederate soldiers, sailors, and marines disabled in action and to the widows of those killed in action. Subsequent acts broadened the coverage to include all veterans, their widows and their unmarried or widowed daughters. The acts required that applicants be residents of Virginia. Later legislation included veterans or their survivors residing in the District of Columbia as well.

This collection consists of pension applications and amended applications filed by resident Virginia Confederate veterans and their widows. (Pension applications filed by veterans' sisters and daughters are not indexed.) The applications contain statements pertaining to the service record of the applicants and may include medical evaluations, information about the income and property of the veterans or their widows, and, in the case of widows, the date and place of marriages. The collection also includes claims submitted by more than five hundred African Americans who had worked as cooks, herdsmen, laborers, servants, or teamsters in the Confederate army.

The collection at the Library of Virginia consists of the original documents, which have been microfilmed. The microfilm is arranged by pension act, then alphabetically by county/city, then alphabetically by name.

The database of pension applications is searchable by name of applicant, status of applicant (veteran, widow, or servant, for example), date of pension act, and applicant's place of residence (county or city). In addition, each entry contains links to the digitized images of the actual applications and accompanying material. There are more than 46,000 entries in the database, linked to more than 220,000 application page images digitized from microfilm. This database is a fully searchable version of the Electronic Card Index to the applications.

Related Resources

Search Tips

Punctuation and capitalization are disregarded.  Entries in this database are arranged in letter-by-letter alphabetical order. In addition to the regular searches, you may click on any highlighted element of a database record (such as a county name) to initiate a search on that element. Each entry in the Confederate Pension Rolls, Veterans and Widows database consists of:

Names in the database are in the form of last name, first name. A Browse search in the Name index retrieves records in an alphabetical listing by last name, beginning with the word or words used in the search.

Example: A Browse search on the name "boyd" retrieves an alphabetical listing of surnames starting with the search term:

A Basic (keyword) search, or an Advanced search, retrieves records with occurrences of the search term anywhere in the record. A keyword search on "james" retrieves all of the records for the surname "James," but it also retrieves all records with "James" as the first or middle name as well.

Each record contains the date of the Virginia General Assembly act under which the application was filed. The date can be used in conjunction with other terms in a Basic (keyword) search or an Advanced search in order to narrow the search by date. The possible dates are 1888, 1900, or 1902.

Note: In this index, all applications under the acts for any years later than 1902 (from 1902 to 1934) are entered under the year 1902.

Each record contains a note giving the status of the applicant. The possible status terms are:

Status notes are searchable by keyword only. They can be retrieved using a Basic (keyword) search, using the Words Anywhere option.

Example: keyword searches:

Note: The term "Servant" includes people who worked as cooks, herdsmen, laborers, servants, or teamsters in the Confederate army.

Subject Headings
Every record has a subject heading for the place of residence (Virginia county or city) of the applicant.


The following subject headings appear in every record and should not be searched:

Click on the URL link at the top of the full record display to view the digitized images.

For more detailed help with searching, click on the "Help" link on the main search screen and scroll down to "Search Functions" and "Search Tips."

facebook twitter youtube instagram view more