Emilie Brouillette signature
Signature of my 4th great grandmother from her widow’s pension application.

I have several Civil War pension files that I have been wanting to order for a long time.  But they cost a pretty penny so I have been putting off.  Sometime last year I noticed some recommendations for using the website for this service as an alternative to ordering directly from NARA.  I filed that away in my mind and moved on to other things.

While I was at RootsTech I stopped by the genlighten booth and asked some questions.  I got a recommendation from the owner for a specific genlighten provider to use for Civil War Pension files.  In March I placed an order and on Friday I got my pension file.

So here’s the scoop.  I used the researcher dchristina.  She charges a flat fee of $35 (the website adds a $1.75 processing fee) but does add a per page charge for files over 65 pages.  Here is the link to her Civil War Pension file service.  She took a month to fulfill the request.  The file was scanned well and was exactly what I wanted.

The website is pretty cool.  You set up a free account.  You can browse providers to find someone who will do something you need, then you can either message them or submit a research request through their submission form.  They accept the request.  Then you submit payment which is held by genlighten until the research is completed.  The researcher does their work and then submits their files to you through the website.  You download and review the files, write a review of their work, they get paid, then they can write a review of you as a customer.  Great system.

The bottom line?  I would recommend genlighten and dchristina if you have a Civil War Pension file you would like to order.  Just know she is slower than she says she’ll be but her work was worth the wait for me.


Have you ever hired a researcher?  What was your experience like?


9 thoughts on “”

      1. GeneaBloggers is currently running a contest to win a Military Record Retrieval Package from Twisted Twigs Genealogy []. I entered, but since I won’t win(!) I checked out their GeneaBlogger special: it’s $65 for the Full Pension in digitized color photos, delivered electronically in .pdf, within 60 days. And updates are given during the process. If NARA can’t find the pension file you requested, Twisted Twigs will allow you to request another pension OR receive a refund. []

        Glad you blogged about about getting a pension file–this is something I have wanted to do with my 2x g-grandfather, but never felt it was worth the $80. Now that I have TWO cheaper choices, I’m going to order his pension file and see what new discoveries I find. Thanks!

        1. I hope you find something amazing! Mine was fascinating. It didn’t have the exact info I was hoping for but I knew that info was not likely to be in there. I will say my scans were not in color. They were black and white but perfectly legible. I would love the added authenticity of the yellowed paper but I’m not missing any info. The only other thing I’ve had scanned from NARA was also black and white so I don’t know if you would get a color version through NARA.

  1. Thanks for the tip. I always think that it’s so exciting when I find a document that contains the signature of one of my ancestors. Somehow it makes them seem more real.

    1. I agree! Her signature is especially sweet to me. Her husband signed with an x. Their marriage record has her signature and his x. His last few documents were still signed with an x.

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