The Union Army data has significant economic information on the recruit and his household, including his occupation. Occupational information comes from all three data sets, and includes recruit and occupation descriptions, occupation codes and dates of employment.
2. Variable Groups
Collection: Military, Pension, and Medical Records
Occupation: Recruit occupation, Recruit’s beginning date of occupation, Recruit’s ending date of occupation
Occupation Code: Recruit occupation code
Collection: U.S. Federal Census
Occupation: Recruit trade, occupation, or other work; Household member trade, occupation, or other work (1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930); Recruit occupation, nature of industry or business; Household member occupation, nature of industry or business (1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930)
Occupation Code: Recruit occupation code, Household member occupation code (1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930)
Collection: Surgeons' Certificates
Occupation: Claimant’s occupation, Occupation description
Occupation Code: Wilcox occupation code, 1950 Census occupation code, 1950 Census occupational code description
Place and date variables are qualified by a set of codes that can be found in the Quality Codes User Guide.
3. Historical Background
3.1 Original Sources
Occupation information for the veteran and household members is found in every data set, including: military records, census records, and surgeons' certificates.
- enlistment papers
- muster rolls
- discharge papers
- pension applications
- surgeons' certificates
- census manuscripts
Occupation was recorded verbatim according to the actual information provided by each record. While these variables may be useful for some specific purposes, the array of possibilities for different occupations may be too large for the aims of most researchers. With this in mind, the EI project provides two alternative methods for coding the variables into more general groups: the Wilcox classification and the 1950 U.S. Federal Census classification.
The Wilcox classification method groups recruits according to their occupation into nine different categories at a one-digit level. Although Wilcox’s classification originally focused on urban occupations, agricultural trades were later considered in order to include a full occupational spectrum. Table I shows the different categories according to Wilcox’s classification.
Table I- One-digit classification under Wilcox
|1||Agriculturalist— includes farmers and ranchers.|
|2||Professionals and Proprietors I— includes manufacturers, educators, attorneys, and other professionals.|
|3||Professionals and Proprietors II— includes clerks, merchants, and salesmen.|
|4||Artisans— includes all skilled laborers, such as blacksmiths, coopers, carpenters, and masons.|
|5||Service, Semiskilled, and Operative – includes aassistants, spinners, and policemen.|
|6||Manual Labor— includes unskilled laborers, such as factory workers, teamsters and miners.|
|7||Unidentifiable— includes all occupations that have insufficient information to include under other classifications, or nonsense words.|
|8||Unproductive— includes retirees, students, gentlemen, and others that are not productive occupations.|
|9||Agriculture Labor— includes farm hands and farm laborers.|
An alternative classification was created in order to provide less aggregate occupational categories than the Wilcox coding. This new scheme is based on the 1950 occupational coding of the 1950 U.S. Federal Census. The 1950 occupational number variables give a three-digit character that simplifies data classification. The descriptive variables contain the equivalent general occupation name. A third set of variables was included with aggregate level occupational data at a two-digit level. There are twelve categories for each of these divisions (see Table II for coding). In addition each dataset includes the recruit’s identification number, so that this information may be merged with the larger EI datasets.
Table II- Two-digit 1950 occupational classification
|00||Professional, Technical, and Kindred Workers|
Farmers and Farm Managers
|20||Managers, Officials and Proprietors, except Farm|
|30||Clerical and Kindred|
|50||Craftsmen, Foremen, and Kindred Workers|
|60||Operatives and Kindred Workers|
|80||Farm Laborers and Foreman|
|90||Laborers, Except Farm and Mine|
The Pension Record (PEN)
Civil War pensions were available for veterans with disabilities, widows of deceased veterans, minor children, dependent major children, and parents of veterans. Under the Act of July 14, 1862, the first pension legislation specific to the Civil War, the veterans were eligible only for disabilities (wounds or chronic illnesses) received during wartime. The Act of June 27, 1890 changed that requirement and expanded eligibility to include disabilities not directly related to wartime experience. As a result, the number of men on the pension rolls swelled. Laws passed after 1907 changed the pension from disability-based to age-based.
When a veteran wanted to receive a pension, he would submit an application/declaration under the supervision of his attorney.This form was sent to the Pension Bureau in Washington D.C., which reviewed the application and collected further testimony in support of the veteran’s application.The decision is recorded on a claim form, which is input alongside the pension application/declaration. Veterans could, and often did, apply for a pension under several laws or submit additional applications because of an increase in disability or a dissatisfaction with the Pension Bureau’s decision, therefore, records usually contain more than one pension application and claim.
Information about each pension application/declaration and claim was recorded separately. The pension board required that the veteran appear before a Board of Examining Surgeons to determine his rate of disability. Once the board had the veteran's application and the surgeons' determination of disability, they would issue their ruling-granting the pension or rejecting the claim.
A veteran’s application for a pension, includes supporting documentation regarding:
- family information
- occupation at enlistment
- employment after discharge from the service
- summary of military and medical wartime experience
- affidavits from comrades, neighbors, family members, and physicians
There are several types of dependent pensions. These are: widow, minor, parent, dependent major, and sibling. Dependent pensions include information on:
- dependent's name
- including maiden, married, remarried names
- dependent's relationship to the veteran
- dependent's age
- dependent's residence
- veteran's death
- date, cause, and burial
Particularly important information regarding the veteran's economic status is found in dependent pensions. For example, in order to receive a pension, a parent had to prove that her/his deceased son contributed to the support of the family in a substantial way. In such a situation, one might find an employer's affidavit testifying that the young man worked as a carpenter before enlisting and gave every nickel he earned to his mother for food. Also, to prove their economic dependency, parents might submit a letter or letters the veteran had sent home during the war which mentioned sending his army pay home for the family.
The Compiled Military Service Record (CMSR)
The CMSR for each recruit is an envelope consisting of cards with information about the recruit transcribed by War Department clerks. The clerks transcribed the information on the cards from muster rolls, descriptive books, returns (statistical reports submitted to the Adjutant General Office or the War Department by organizations such as hospitals or forts), hospital registers, prison records, and other records. Cards are arranged first by war, then by state, then by military unit, and finally alphabetically by the soldier's last name. Initially, the cards contained the soldier's name, rank, company, regiment, and the page and volume number from which the information was obtained. This is all copied onto separate cards. Most CMSR today also include information that was added later, including POW records, casualty information, hospital register information, records of desertions, furloughs, AWOLs, and MIAs, copies of enlistment papers, and copies of surgeons' certificates of discharge for disability.
As information from the CMSR was entered into the collection screens, it was compared with information already collected. When the CMSR seriously conflicted with the pension information, we attempted to reconcile the previously entered pension data with the more straightforward CMSR. Military information that came from the CMSR was judged to be more accurate than conflicting information from the pension, which may have been retrospective and self-reported.
Examples of occupation variables include recruit occupation, which is given by ro_job [01-10]. This variable is the recruit’s occupational information as found in enlistment papers of the Compiled Military Service Record and in testimonial papers of the Pension Record. The numerical suffixes represent each occupation a recruit held during his lifetime, but do not necessarily follow a chronological order. For example, ro_job03 is one job instance held by the recruit, but it does not mean it was the third job in his employment history timeline. Similarly, the variable recocc_6 is a recruit’s trade, occupation, or work as enumerated in the 1860 census manuscript. The numerical suffix in this instance represents the census year in which the information was given. The variables a_ocoad, a_ococd, and a_ococn give occupation code descriptions as found in the Surgeons' certificates. The numerical suffixes on these variables match the numerical suffix of a_ocpat and a_ocdsc to which they relate. For example, a_ococd1 is the 1950 Census occupational code description.
4. User Guide Table
|Variable Label||Variable Name||Data-Set||Source|
|ro_job01 - ro_job10||Recruit's occupation||MIL||PEN: Pension Application, Affidavit
CMSR: Volunteer Enlistment Form, Company Descriptive Book, Muster and Descriptive Roll Card, Inventory of Effects, Death Form, Certificate of Disability for Discharge
|ro_jcd01 - ro_jcd10||Recruit's occupation code||MIL||Wilcox occupation codes|
|ro_fdt01 - ro_fdt10||Beginning date of occupation||MIL||PEN: Pension Application, Affidavit
CMSR: Volunteer Enlistment Form, Company Descriptive Book, Muster and Descriptive Roll Card
|ro_fqc01 - ro_fqc10||Quality code for beginning date of occupation||MIL||Military Quality Codes|
|ro_tdt01 - ro_tdt10||Ending date of occupation||MIL||PEN: Pension Application Affidavit|
|ro_tqc01 - ro_tqc10||Quality code for ending date of occupation||MIL||Military Quality Codes|
|miloan01 - miloan10||Recruit's 1950 occupational code (two-digit level)||MIL||1950 Census Occupation Codes|
|miload01 - miload10||Recruit's 1950 occupational code description (two-digit level)||MIL||1950 Census Occupation Codes|
|milocn01 - milocn10||Recruit's 1950 occupation code (three-digit level)||MIL||1950 Census Occupation Codes|
|milocd01 - milocd10||Recruit's 1950 occupation code description (three-digit level)||MIL||1950 Census Occupation Codes|
|recocc, hocc||Recruit/Household member trade, occupation, or other work (1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930)||CEN||U.S. Federal Census (1850 - 1930)|
|recind, hind||Recruit/Household member occupation, nature of industry or business (1910, 1920, 1930)||CEN||U.S. Federal Census (1910, 1920, 1930)|
|recocd, hocd||Recruit/Household member occupation code (1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1930)||CEN||Wilcox occupation codes|
|recoan, hoan||Recruit/Household member 1950 Census two-digit occupation code (1850, 1860, 1870, 1900, 1910)||CEN||1950 Census Occupation Codes|
|recoad, hoad||Recruit/Household member 1950 Census two-digit occupation description (1850, 1860, 1870, 1900, 1910)||CEN||1950 Census Occupation Codes|
|recocn, hocn||Recruit/Household member 1950 Census three-digit occupation code (1850, 1860, 1870, 1900, 1910)||CEN||1950 Census Occupation Codes|
|recocb, hocb||Recruit/Household member 1950 Census three-digit occupation description (1850, 1860, 1870, 1900, 1910)||CEN||1950 Census Occupation Codes|
|a_ocpat1 - a_ocpat5||Claimant's occupation||DIS||Surgeons' Certificate|
|a_ocdsc1 - a_ocdsc5||Occupation description||DIS||Surgeons' Certificate|
|a_ocoan1 - a_ocoan5||1950 Census occupation code (two-digit level)||DIS||1950 Census Occupation Codes|
|a_ocoad1 - a_ocoad5||1950 Census occupation description (two-digit level)||DIS||1950 Census Occupation Codes|
|a_ococn1 - a_ococn5||1950 Census occupation code (three-digit level)||DIS||1950 Census Occupation Codes|
|a_ococd1 - a_ococd5||1950 Census occupation description (three-digit level)||DIS||1950 Census Occupation Codes|
|a_occod1 - a_occod5||Wilcox occupation code||DIS||Wilcox occupation codes|