NARA to digitize Civil War-era documents

The National Archives and Records Administration will begin working with the Genealogical Society of Utah to digitize and electronically index more than 1 million case files of approved pension applications filed by the widows of Civil War-era Union soldiers, the agency announced today.

The records contain filings available only at NARA’s Washington location. The filings include extensive information on American life during and immediately following the American Civil War, including documents such as affidavits, depositions, and marriage, birth and death certificates.

Through the arrangement, the Genealogical Society of Utah will make the digitized materials available for free through its Web site and at its centers worldwide. The society will also provide NARA with a copy of all digital images and related materials to be made available for free at NARA reading rooms, according to the agency’s announcement. They may also be available at a subscription-based Web site that NARA approves.

The five-year partnership agreement will begin with a test program to digitize, index and make available about 3,100 of the pension files. Then the society, a nonprofit wholly funded by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, will work with Footnote.com to digitize the rest of the files.

NARA already has a nonexclusive agreement with iArchives, the Utah-based parent company of Footnote.com, to help it digitize documents.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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