National Archives Inaugurates New On-Line Ordering Service
Press Release · Monday, June 7, 2004

Washington, DC

Press Release
June 7, 2004


National Archives Inaugurates new On-Line Ordering Service

Washington, DC. . . On June 7, ordering records at the National Archives and Records Administration became easier with a new online service. Family historians can now order copies of selected records from the National Archives online. Electronic versions of the forms used to order Federal pension application files, Census schedules, and Federal land entry files are now available through the new Order Online! system, on the National Archives website at

Three of the most genealogically rich records, pension application files of soldiers who fought for the United States beginning in the Revolutionary War (1774) through the Spanish American War (1898), bounty land application files, and homestead application files, are part of the Order Online! system. These files often provide information not available elsewhere. Digital copies of samples of the different files are available by clicking on a type of order. Once visitors select a type of file to request, the new Order Online! system walks them through the entire process of filling in the required information. Help screens and drop down lists also assist in completing the requests.

Order Online! requires researchers to register as a user and pay by credit card. The system sends immediate receipt confirmation emails and follows up with a second email letting you know your tracking master number. Order Online! also features order tracking which permits you to check on the status of an order at anytime. If researchers do not want to register online, or if they prefer to pay by check or money order, the National Archives will continue to offer the options of ordering reproductions by mail using one of our National Archives Trust Fund forms. Send an email to and specify the type of form needed. The Customer Service Center may be reached by calling 1-86 NARA NARA (1-866-272-6272 ) or by writing Customer Service Center, National Archives and Records Administration, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740-6001. The fee covers the cost of the copies. There is no fee for the search.

The National Archives offers copies of the most frequently requested records for family history research through Order Online!. The most popular of these are pension application files. These records date from a time before States collected copies of birth certificates and death certificates. In some cases they are only source for valuable family history information.

The National Archives offers copies of pension application files for all of the wars until the Spanish American War through Order Online! Researchers interested in pension files can choose from two products. They may order either the full pension file or a packet of documents selected from the pension file.

The packet, which costs $14.75, includes copies of the following, if they are found in the file:

  1. the original declaration for a pension (the application);
  2. declaration for a widow’s pension;
  3. a statement of service usually provided by the Adjutant General’s Office;
  4. questionnaires completed by the applicants (numbered forms);
  5. "pension dropped" card (usually proof of death);
  6. marriage certificates;
  7. death certificates; and
  8. discharge certificates.

Researchers may also request the complete file through Order Online! This version provides a copy of everything in the file including the papers found in a document packet. The application files often contain medical information about ailments resulting from combat wounds or diseases contracted during service. Widow’s applications list the names and birthdates of all of the children under the age of 16. If a widow did not have documentation of the wedding or proof of the children’s birth, the file can contain depositions from neighbors attesting that the woman was married to the soldier and that the soldier was the father of her children. The full file costs $37.

Bounty Land application files are the third type of file that can be requested. Similar to pension applications, the bounty land applications typically provide a statement of the soldier’s service and may include family information if the widow applied. These files tend to be smaller and the cost for each complete file is $17.25.

Federal land entry files, are also available through Order Online! Some land files, such as homestead applications, contain significant genealogical information. The case files include the name of the applicant, the location of the land, the date the land was acquired, the postal address of the applicant, age or date of birth, place of birth, marital status, and if married, the name of the spouse and the size of the family. Supporting documents can show the immigrants country of birth and sometimes the date and place of arrival in the US. Land entry case files are $17.75 each. The paper version of this form is, Order for Copies of Land Entry Files, the NATF Form 84.

The final offering at Order Online! is single pages from the Federal Census schedules.

Additional records will be available at Order Online! as they become available Soon researchers will be able to order copies of specific pages from a census, a homestead case file, or a bounty land application.

* * *

For press information, contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at 301-837-1700.


This page was last reviewed on February 13, 2019.
Contact us with questions or comments.