Six years after the end of the Civil War, Congress created the Southern Claims Commission, through which pro-Union Southerners could apply for reimbursement of some of their losses. Some 22,298 cases were filed by individuals, family groups, churches, and businesses, and the adjudication of these suits created a vast store of historical data that is now maintained by the National Archives. Among other things, these case files include such items as family letters and Bibles, wills and probate records, personal accounts, and property inventories–a motherlode of genealogical data.
The present work is a “master index” to the case files of the Commission, and it is the only viable means of unlocking the vast trove of records it generated. The index gives, in tabular form, the name of the claimant, his county and state, the Commission number, office number and report number, and the year and the status of the claim.