Witnesses in Pension Claims

Military pensions can be a great source of information. Sometimes the clues are blunt and obvious. Sometimes they are a little more subtle. One set of clues that can be helpful is how long witnesses have known the person they are providing information on. In a high proportion of pension applications, the witnesses indicate how long they have known the veteran or the widow. Assuming that information is correct, it can be used to help track the veteran’s or widow’s movements. The start of the association could be because either the witness or the person they are talking about moved in proximity to the other one. Look at the time frame of the association and see if it precedes before the veteran was known to be in the area where the affidavit was made. Were they neighbors “back East” or when they lived somewhere else?

And the associate may have also been a relative without ever stating it.

In one file, based upon the number of years they had known each other, the witness and the pension applicant must have lived near each other before they immigrated to the United States. That was a big clue.

Association time frame clues are not always quite that big, but it never hurts to analyze them.