Applications for US military pensions often mention the act under which the veteran (or his widow) applied. The details of that act may explain why the veteran waited until then–and that reason could be a clue. Men or women who applied for federal property usually did so under a certain act. If you have records of your ancestor having “applied” for anything, look to see if the act under which the application was made is referenced. Learning about that act may tell you something about your ancestor that is not stated in the application.