Manerva Barbee: A Most Determined Woman – Gen-Fed Alumni Luncheon

March 26th, 2018 by National Genealogical Society Blog Editor

Title: Manerva Barbee: A Most Determined Woman

Session Number: T233

Time & Date: Thursday, 03 May 2018, 12:15 p.m. (Luncheon – Paid registration required)

Sponsor: Gen-Fed Alumni Association

The Civil War lasted for four years, but Manerva’s pension battle through multiple applications during 35 years is a great story illustrating the changing requirements and the tenacity of this most determined woman. Civil War pensions rippled through the North from 1862 to past 1900. On one side, every invalid, war widow, or orphan sought a pension. Against that desire, the U.S. Government wanted to ensure that every applicant met the appropriate requirements. Statutes were passed by Congress, printed in the Congressional Record, and amended regularly. Manerva’s story illustrates changes in the law, the proofs offered by an illiterate woman, and ultimately how this very determined applicant finally saw her “claim allowed.”

This session is the luncheon program of the Gen-Fed Alumni Association. Enjoy a talk about a group of records that virtually every researcher will explore, illuminated through the multiyear tenacity of Manerva to get her pension. Attendees will learn where to access online copies of the various statutes. See also how the application process changed, understand what the pension money meant to the family, and why it might be worth fighting for.

Brief bio: Liz Ross lectures & writes in the greater Chicago area. She taught a monthly “2nd Saturday Genealogy” from 2014-2016. She is current Secretary of the Gen-Fed Alumni Association, and Past President of Clan Ross Association. Ms. Ross blogs at, and has started 2018 with an “ABC-darium,” a walk through the alphabet expanding into short comments on matters genealogical. Contact her at