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Researching Southern Claims Commission records | Steps for finding a disallowed claim

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Follow the steps listed below ONLY if you are researching a Southern Claims Commission claim that was disallowed. 

D6.  Have the report & office numbers for each claim. 

Be sure that you have written down the report and office number for each disallowed claim as listed in the Consolidated Index of Claims or in Southern Loyalists in the Civil War.

D7.  Begin your search. 

Use Ancestry or Fold3 to search for the name you seek. If you find it, follow through to its connected document images.

To use fiche, consult the "Disallowed Claims" section of the Descriptive Pamphlet (DP) for microfiche set M1407, Barred and Disallowed Case Files of the Southern Claims Commission, 1871–1880, to determine which fiche will contain the records for the name you seek. The disallowed claims are in numerical order by report, then office number, and appear on pages 1–86 of the DP, which is also available on the History and Genealogy Department web site. If you do not have the report and office number for a claim, see step 2 above for the indexes which will provide that information. 

D8. Locate a copy of needed fiche. 

The fiche for disallowed claims are available in the History and Genealogy Department, as well as at other research facilities. Individual fiche may also be purchased from the National Archives and then viewed on a microfiche reader available to you at your library or elsewhere in your community. Digital images of disallowed claims are also being made available on Ancestry and Fold3. 

D9. Some files contain only one document. 

When viewing the fiche, you may find that there is only a single document following the file folder for the person you are researching. That may be an indication that the disallowed claim was appealed. Look for a "Cong. No. ###" and/or possibly a notation such as "Rec'd sundry papers in above case" and signed by someone from the Court of Claims. "House of Representatives" may also appear as part of that one-page note. 

D10. Check for Court of Claims docket number to see if claim was appealed. 

Check microfilm M2007, U.S. Court of Claims Docket Cards for Congressional Case Files, ca. 1884–1943, to see if it contains an index card for the claimant you are researching. Keep in mind that SCC claims were not the only claims taken before the Court of Claims. Therefore, the existence of an index card does not guarantee that the claim to which it refers was an SCC claim. 

D11. Query NARA for availability and cost of copies for appealed claim. 

Appealed claims have not been microfilmed. It is therefore necessary to contact the National Archives to find out if the documents for an appealed claim are still available, as not all claims have survived, and if available, the cost of photocopying.

  • When making your request, be sure to include in your message
  • fact that you are seeking a Southern Claims Commission disallowed claim which you believe was appealed 
  • full name of the claimant 
  • commission claim number
  • report and office numbers 
  • state from which claim was made 

and in turn ask for

  • the availability of the original documents for the claim and its appeal 
  • a price quote for a photocopy of those documents 
SUBMITTING A QUERY ABOUT A DISALLOWED SCC CLAIM THAT WAS APPEALED
 

OPTION 1. REQUEST PRICE QUOTE ONLINE FROM THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES

  • Visit the National Archives website.
  • Because NARA updates this webpage periodically, the actual wording on the “Contact” webpage will change. In general, look for a link that says something such as questions about research and records.” Follow that or similar links until given the opportunity to enter and submit a question. 
  • Submit a question asking for a price quote for the disallowed claim that was appealed.
Be sure to provide
  • information listed above regarding the approved claim 
  • your name, e-mail address, postal mailing address, and phone number for a reply 

OPTION 2. MAIL A WRITTEN PRICE REQUEST TO THE FOLLOWING ADDRESS:

National Archives and Records Administration
Reference Section
700 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC  20408

Be sure to provide 

  • all information listed above regarding the SCC claim 
  • your name, e-mail address, postal mailing address, and phone number for a reply.
 
Appeals can be quite lengthy, and because they were filed at a later date, they were sometimes filed by the heirs of the original claimant.

D12. Claims that No Longer Exist

Not all Southern Claims files still exist. If the above steps for a disallowed claim lead to a dead end, check the second part of microfilm set P2257, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives: Southern Claims Commission, 1871–1880, which includes the Commissioners’ Summary Reports for all disallowed cases. If the original file no longer exists, the summary report may be the only surviving record of the claim.