Monday, December 5, 2016

Military Monday: Pension Index Cards: Not Created Equal

Pension Index Cards: Not Created Equal

by Jean M. Hoffman, CG

Pension index cards available at both and FamilySearch are not the same as those provided at Fold3. Allison recently pointed out differences in a Legacy Tree Genealogists blog post, “Civil War Pension Files Research Tips.”1 I had just found a pension index card at related to a female ancestor. It shows her application for a widow's pension, but no application for the soldier. Spurred by the article, I located the card for the soldier at Fold3. That card shows he applied for and received an invalid pension. Note, these records, if Civil War era, are for Union soldiers.

Before concluding you've found pension information for your person of interest and requesting original pension records, review both versions of index cards. The card sets were created for different purposes and organized in a different manner. Today they are indexed by both name and unit but one is arranged alphabetically by soldier's name while the other is grouped by unit from the company level. As they served different needs, they contain different data.
Civil War Pension index card for Caleb S. Whaley from Ancestry.com2
 In my example, the card has the following information not on the Fold3 version:
  1. Widow's name
  2. State from which she applied
  3. Date of her application.
Civil War Pension index card for Caleb S. Whaley from (indexed as Gales)3
The card at Fold3 provides fields not on the first card:
  1. Rank of the soldier
  2. Date of his application
  3. application and certificate numbers for his pension.
In addition, the first card was correctly indexed at under the name Caleb S. Whaley but the second card was indexed under Gales S. Whaley. As I used the Fold3 browse function to view the cards by unit, that did not cause a problem.

The index cards were transcribed from other documents and can contain errors. Also, the soldier's name on these cards is the same but one was misread by the indexer. Pay particular attention to the certificate numbers as these are what the National Archives will use to attempt to locate original records. Any error can lead to not found files. A review of more cards would give a better picture of the variation in data on them but my example and that in the article demonstrate the merit of obtaining both. FamilySearch can be accessed for free and many libraries have subscriptions to Ancestry Library Edition. Some libraries also have Fold3 subscriptions, possibly providing access from home.
    1. Allison, “ Civil War Pension Files Research Tips,” Legacy Tree Genealogists (blog), November 29, 2016,
    2. “U.S., Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934,” Caleb S. Whaley card; digital image, ( : accessed 30 November 2016); citing NARA microfilm T288, roll 510.
    3. “Organization Index to Pension Files of Veterans Who Served Between 1861 and 1900,” Kentucky>Cavalry>7th>Co. G> “Gales” S. Whaley card; digital image, Fold3 ( : accessed 30 November 2016); citing NARA microfilm T289, roll 146.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

More on David Wright, New Windsor, NY

More David Wright Family of New Windsor, New York
Jean M. Hoffman, CG

The father of Mary, second wife of Moses Nichols of New Windsor, Orange County, New York, could be the David Wright of whom I've written. [1] Looking for evidence of a connection requires examining more of the records from David Wright and his associates.

Two divergent accounts emerge from descendants of different alleged sons.
  1. Three DAR applications claim patriot ancestor David Wright of New Windsor who served in the Second Ulster Regiment. Their descent is through a son Benjamin who allegedly died in 1820 and his wife Jane Gregg. The applications show David died in 1833 in New Windsor. Benjamin was born about 1774, his mother being David's wife #2, Margaret Woodhull. The record copy of the last application refers to family records, but there appear to be no supporting documents filed with any of the applications. [2]
  1. Descendants of a son John wrote up research results. They are reflected in a 1987 compilation. [3] The compiler has provided me with a copy of the 14-page typescript Francis Wright and Maude E. (White) Cleghorn produced. They indicate David Wright of New Windsor was from Hempstead, then Queens County, on Long Island. Census records for David in New Windsor in 1800, 1810, and 1830 were not located somehow, just 1790 and 1820. One conclusion was that David moved after 1823 to live with a son, Nathaniel, in Warwick, another town in Orange County. Conversely, on another page is the suggestion that Nathaniel returned to New Windsor to care for his elderly parent. The latter could be correct, but David Wright, age 80 through 89, has a household of himself and a female not quite as old, age sixty through sixty-nine, and no others in 1830. [4]
An important document referenced in #2 above is a deed from David Wright, carpenter, and his wife Mary of New Windsor in 1783 selling land in Hempstead to Nathaniel and Samuel Wright, yeomen, of Hempstead. One of the witnesses was a Benjamin Wright. Recorded in Queens County on 13 May 1799, the deed was dated 24 June 1783. Three parcels of land were included and sold for £760. Recorded the same day, immediately prior to David and Mary's deed was one dated 5 May 1784 in which Samuel Wright, now noted as being in South Hempstead after the town was divided, sold his interest in those same three parcels to Nathaniel Wright for £380.[5] The 1785 will of this Nathaniel Wright refers to a brother David Wright. [6] It is likely that Samuel was another brother.

Missing in any of this research had been records of purchases of land in New Windsor or distribution of it following David's death. Because New Windsor was transferred to Orange County from Ulster County in 1798, I checked deeds in Ulster County. Two pertinent deeds were recorded there.

In 1774 Benjamin Wright, a house carpenter of Hempstead, Long Island, purchased two parcels in New Windsor from Reuben Weed and his wife Martha. The deed was recorded at the request of Mr. Benjamin Wright in 1787. [7]
In 1791, seventeen years later, David Wright and his wife Mary sold to John Wright, all of New Windsor, one of the parcels and part of the other purchased in 1774 by Benjamin Wright. The deed provides no insight on David's acquisition of title to the land. [8] A common reason for an unrecorded transfer is inheritance. Could David be a son of Benjamin? If so, what relation is John Wright?

Records in Hempstead, especially the eight-volume published town records, show several generations of Wrights in that location. [9] More research here might be worthwhile. I have created a timeline for all Wright surname events I've found connected to New Windsor. One for Hempstead may be needed as well. To correlate individuals I also created a name list for every Wright connected to New Windsor.

Still, this sheds no new light on the disposition of David's land after his death. Orange County deed indexes need to be followed further into the 1800s in hopes of finding a link to his heirs. I'd like to find more tax records, land ownership maps and more local history.


  1. Jean M. Hoffman, Wright blog posts on Bluegrass and Buckeye Roots: “Finding Mr. Wright?” ( : 20 May 2011); “Mystery Monday: Still No Mr. Wright ( : 20 June 2011); and “David Wright may be Mary's 'Mr. Wright'” ( : 30 July 2012).
  2. Membership application, Mirbell Shirey Pairan, National no. 226286, on David Wright (1745-1883, New York), approved 1926 or after; National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, Office of the Registrar General, Washington, DC; digital images, Daughters of the American Revolution ( : purchased 28 August 2012).
  3. Douglas Wright Cruger, A Genealogical Dictionary of Wright Families in the Lower Hudson Valley to 1800 (Bowie, Md: Heritage Press, 1987), 25.
  4. Francis Wright and Maude E. White Cleghorn, “Wrights of Long Island,” 14-page typescript of now unknown origin, photocopy provided to the author by Douglas W. Cruger, 2015; citing a deed from David Wright and wife Mary to Nathaniel and Samuel Wright (1783, recorded 1799) presumably in Queens County, NY. Regarding U.S. census records, the 1800 and 1810 are cited in my blog posts (see #1 above) although the 1800 is in error as David and John Wright were enumerated in New Windsor but mis-indexed as Newburgh which ends in the top half of their page. Also, 1830 U.S. census, Orange County, New York, New Windsor, p. 103, line 14 for William Wright and line 18 for David Wright; digital images, ( : accessed 21 May 2010); citing NARA M19, roll 113; imaged from FHL microfilm 0,017,173.
  5. Deeds Liber G: 300-304, deed David Wright and wife Mary to Nathaniel Wright and Samuel Wright (1783, recorded 1799); and 295-99, deed Samuel Wright to Nathaniel Wright (1784, recorded 1799); Queens County Register's Office, NY; FHL microfilm 1,414,480.
  6. Will Record 38: 172-73, Will of Nathaniel Wright (1785); New York County Surrogate's Office, New York, NY, apparently later copy of original Queens County record; digital images, “New York Probate Records, 1629-1971,” FamilySearch ( : accessed 5 November 2015); imaged from FHL microfilm 866,989.
  7. Deed Record vol. 9 – II: 509-14, deed Reuben Weed and wife Martha to Benjamin Wright (1774, recorded 1787); Ulster County Clerk's Office, Kingston, NY; digital images, “New York Land Records, 1630-1975,” FamilySearch ( : accessed 3 November 2015); imaged from FHL microfilm 944,744. After 1798 land in the Town of New Windsor is in Orange County, New York.
  8. Deed Record vol. 11 – LL: 480-82, deed David Wright and wife Mary to John Wright (1791, recorded 1794); Ulster County Clerk's Office, Kingston, NY; digital images, “New York Land Records, 1630-1975,” FamilySearch ( : accessed 3 November 2015); imaged from FHL microfilm 944,749.
  9. Benjamin D. Hicks, editor, Records of the Towns of North and South Hempstead, Long island, New York [1654-1880], Volumes 1-8 (Jamaica, NY, Long Island Farmer Print, 1896-1904). Also digital images at Internet Archive.