US—General Index to Pension Files 1861-1934 [Part C]

Project Instructions

Read the Instructions

  • Please read these project instructions carefully before indexing any batches.
  • Review this page and the field helps frequently for updates to the instructions.
  • Click here for a summary of project updates.

Mirror the Image

  • If the writing on an image appears to be backward, you can flip the image around by mirroring the image:
    1. Click View, and then click Mirror.
    2. To change the image back, click View menu, and then click Mirror again.

Rotate the Image

  • If an image is turned on its side or is upside down, you can rotate the image by clicking on either the right or left rotate icon on the toolbar. 
  • With each click of the mouse on the icon, the image rotates 90 degrees.

How to Index Given Names and Surnames

  • Do not include titles or terms, such as widow, Jr, or Mr, in the Given Names or Surname fields.
  • If a woman's maiden name and married surname were both recorded, index all surnames in the Surname field, with the maiden name first.
  • Do not expand abbreviated names. For example, do not change "Thos" to Thomas or "Wm" to William. Type the name or the abbreviation as it was written in the record.
  • If a surname was not recorded for an individual listed on the card, do not assume the surname from another individual on the card.

Alias Names or Nicknames

  • Some people in this project may have been known by an alias, which is an assumed name or a name in addition to their legal name. A clerk may have noted the assumed name or additional name in a number of ways, such as by using quotation marks or parentheses or by writing "AKA," which means "also known as."
  • To index a name that has one or more aliases, type the word Or between each name. Do not type AKA, quotation marks, or parentheses in the indexing field.
  • For example, if an individual’s name is listed as "Joseph Broski AKA Joseph Browzowski (or Jozef Brzozowski)," you would type:
    • Given Name: Joseph Or Jozef
    • Surname: Broski Or Browzowski Or Brzozowski
  • Or if the clerk wrote a name as "John (Buck) Harrison," you would type:
    • Given Name: John Or Buck
    • Surname: Harrison
  • The word Or can also be used when two different names are given on a document and you cannot determine which name is correct. For example, if a given name was written as Mary in one place on the document and as Marion in another place, both names would be typed in the Given Names field, separated by the word Or.


  • If more than one dependent was listed on a pension card, index the name of the first dependent only.
  • If only the name of a guardian was listed as a dependent, index the name of the guardian in the dependent name fields.

Handwriting Helps

  • Many of these records are handwritten. The handwriting resource on the data entry screen may help you decipher difficult handwriting.
  • To access this resource, click on the Handwriting Help icon (which looks like an inkwell with an orange feather quill).

Additional Information