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Proving Death

Do you have civil war era ancestors? If so, have you tried to obtain a military or pension file? Over the years, I acquired quite a few. Unfortunately, it was only AFTER I had sent off for most of them that I heard that one should be sure to request the ENTIRE file. Apparently, requests by mail were sometimes filled with only parts of the files — and the person fulfilling the request made the decisions about what parts of the file were returned.

Well, I can tell you that you definitely need to request the entire file! I requested the military and pension file for Albert Hutchinson early in my days or research. Since the pension application involved his son by a second marriage, most of what I received involved affidavits about his second marriage. After retirement, I again requested this file. This time, I used researchers at American Civil War Ancestor to obtain digital copies of each page of the file.

Buried in the over 80 images from the file were two affidavits from Peter Miller of Wathena. According to the affidavits, Peter Miller sold coffins to Albert Hutchison for his mother and then for his father.

Image 78
County of Doniphan
State of Kansas

I Peter Miller of the County of Doniphan, State of Kansas
being first duly sworn do state upon my oath, that I have been act-
ively engaged in the undertaking business in Wathena Kansas, for the
past Twenty years, And on Jan 4th 1892 Albert Hutchinson Jr. sonof
Albert Hutchinson purchased from me a a coffin in which to bury his
Mother, Julia Hutchison, wife of Albert Hutchison.

Peter Miller

Subscribed and sworn to before me this 10th Day of August 1911

Commission expires Sept 5th 1911 [? Bent]
Notary Public


Image 76

County of Doniphan
State of Kansas

I Peter Miller of the County of Doniphan State of
Kansas, bing first duly sworn do state upon my oath that I have
been actively engaged in the undertaking business in Wathena Kansas,
for the past Twenty years; and on July 22nd 1896 Albert Hutchison Jr
Son of Albert Hutchison purchased from me a coffin in which to bury
his father

Peter Miller

Subscribed and sworn to before me this 10th day of August 1911
[?]
Notary Public

Commission expires Sept 5th 1911

Based on my experience, it is obvious that my request thru the mail did not return the entire file. Thankfully, I requested a digital copy thru American Civil War Ancestor! Otherwise, I doubt I would have ever found documentation for these deaths.

2 thoughts on “Proving Death

  1. Thank you for the info! I have many Civil War ancestors but have not requested files (except one when I was a teenager in which I discovered a surprise marriage) due to cost. I’d like to budget for it. Thanks for The American Civil War Ancestor link.

  2. Pingback: Friday’s Family History Finds | Empty Branches on the Family Tree

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