Andrew Shoch or Andrew Shock? Are they the same person or are they different people?
This is a common question raised in many Civil War pensions; in fact I have seen it in happen now in 3 different pensions that I have pulled. Looking at Annie’s letter to the right, you will see that Annie is aware of the issue and is trying to address it up front. Common situations include:
- Soldier spells his name differently than his service records (Shock vs Shoch)
- Widow uses different spelling or mixed spelling (Kenly and Kenley)
- Soldier’s service records are under multiple spellings (Luther A Hays/Luther A Hayes)
Each time I have seen this confusion occur, there is either a stern from the government to the pensioner demanding that they explain the discrepancy in spelling or service names. In Annie’s case this is the
most polite letter I have seen, maybe because she addressed the issue first?
As happens today, when the government gets confused or suspicious, pensions are denied, funds are not disbursed, and affidavits and letters start flying. As in the case of the Civil war veteran or widow, during a time period where spelling was inconsistent at best, is left feeling anxious and concerned that their only source of income is about to be denied. This letter from Annie to the Bureau of pensions expresses her concerns and anxiety immediately following the death of her husband Andrew in 1916.
The mail carrier, as the official government representative in the community, upon hearing of the death of Andrew, promptly returned Andrews last pension check in the amount of $54 to the Bureau of Pensions, without delivering it to the household first!
Can you imagine the outrage today if postal carriers decided to return the mail to the government without attempting to deliver it first?
As part of a widows pension application, the widow would frequently have to provide proof of her marriage. If an official government certificate
or church certificate was unavailable, she would need to secure affidavits from the minister or witnesses of the wedding. In Annie’s case, this wasn’t an issue as Philadelphia began recording marriages before the rest of Pennsylvania in 1885!
Note the difference in answers on the Bureau of Pensions surveys. In 1898 Andrew states he has 3 living children, but by the time the 1915 survey arrives one child (James) has died.