As odd as many genealogists find it, I do not just chase down the military records of my direct ancestors, but also for the grand-uncle and the spouses of the grand-aunt, ok as long as I am confessing, and the 1st cousins. Why? Because military records including pension packets can be a gold mine of genealogical data. In addition, a lot of these men served in units with each other, they married each others siblings, and frequently their children married.
In looking at the pension packet for David Tipton “Tip” Faith, my 3rd great grand-uncle, I found several exciting documents in the 200+ pages of material. David served in the Civil War and received an invalid pension. However, David did not serve alone, he served with a couple of brothers and a brother-in-law. David, William (my 3rd great-grandfather) and Michael are the sons of Henry Faith and Elizabeth Barnhart (4th great grandparents) and Abraham is the husband of their daughter Elizabeth.
- David Tipton Faith – Company F, 75th Pa Volunteers
- William Faith – Company F, 75th PA Volunteers
- Michael Faith – Company K, 105th PA Volunteers
- Abraham Wallace – Company A, 78th PA Volunteers
In the case of David’s pension, a Special Examiner’s investigation was conducted, with depositions being gathered from several members of the community. Notice the column labeled Reputations. I’m not sure how these reputations were derived but William, his sister Elizabeth and her husband Abraham enjoyed a better reputation than father Henry and brother Michael. Nice to know that William had such standing in his community in 1885. According to a newspaper article I found, father Henry was known for his drinking and storytelling, so I must say I’m not really surprised to see he only had a “fair” reputation.
Even at age 86 Henry, who died at age 91, was able to appear in town and was judged mentally competent enough to provide a deposition to support his son David’s case and as was still able to legibly write his name!
In one Civil War pension packet for a 3rd great grand-uncle, I found the words of my 3rd great-grandfather William, his siblings, his brother-in-law, and my 4th great-grandfather, Henry. Makes me very glad I pull all of those “uncle” pension packets!