This study is maintained and distributed by the National Archive of Computerized Data on Aging (NACDA), the aging program within ICPSR. NACDA is sponsored by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at the National Institutes of Heath (NIH).

Aging of Veterans of the Union Army: Surgeons' Certificates, Version S-1 Standardized, 1862-1940 (ICPSR 3417) RSS

Principal Investigator(s):


This data collection constitutes a portion of the historical data collected by the project "Early Indicators of Later Work Levels, Disease, and Death." With the goal of constructing datasets suitable for longitudinal analyses of factors affecting the aging process, the project collects military, medical, and socioeconomic data on a sample of white males mustered into the Union Army during the Civil War. The surgeons' certificates contain information from examining physicians to determine eligibility for pension benefits. Also included are questions regarding the age, occupation, residence, and military experience of the veterans. These data can be linked to AGING OF VETERANS OF THE UNION ARMY: MILITARY, PENSION, AND MEDICAL RECORDS, 1820-1940 (ICPSR 6837) and AGING OF VETERANS OF THE UNION ARMY: UNITED STATES FEDERAL CENSUS RECORDS, 1850, 1860, 1900, 1910 (ICPSR 6836) using the variable "recidnum." This version of the Surgeons' Certificates differs from the previous version, AGING OF VETERANS OF THE UNION ARMY: SURGEONS' CERTIFICATES, 1860-1940 (ICPSR 2877), in that the data contain standard codes for medical variables and that 5,346 new observations have been added from Ohio veterans. This collection studies the health conditions and disabilities of Union Army veterans, identifying relationships between biomedical and socioeconomic conditions. Also examined is the impact of age at onset of disabilities, comorbidities, and rates of deterioration on waiting time to death. These data also look at the connection between the burden of diseases and the cause of death among Union Army veterans compared to that of persons dying toward the end of the twentieth century. The investigators seek to determine how the age-specific curve of chronic disease burdens after age 50 has changed over time.

Series: Civil War Veterans Series

Access Notes

  • These data are freely available.


WARNING: This study is over 150MB in size and may take several minutes to download on a typical internet connection.

DS0:  Study-Level Files
DS1:  Variables A_AGE through H_RAT31 - Download All Files (1,860.3 MB) large dataset
DS2:  Variables H_REL101 through Q_MALASS - Download All Files (1,646.2 MB) large dataset
DS3:  Variables Q_NAUSEA through W_DIS101 - Download All Files (1,705.1 MB) large dataset
DS4:  Variables W_DIS102 through Y_CMT - Download All Files (1,678 MB) large dataset
DS5:  Variables Y_CNJ101 through Z_REL8 - Download All Files (376.9 MB) large dataset

Study Description


Fogel, Robert W., et al. Aging of Veterans of the Union Army: Surgeons' Certificates, Version S-1 Standardized, 1862-1940. ICPSR03417-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2002.

Persistent URL:

Export Citation:

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  • EndNote XML (EndNote X4.0.1 or higher)


This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health (NIH-PO1-AG10120)
  • National Science Foundation (NSF-SBR-9114981)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   aging, American Civil War, causes of death, census data, demographic characteristics, disease, health status, labor force, medical records, midlife, military pensions, military recruitment, military service, mortality rates, nineteenth century, nutrition, socioeconomic status, twentieth century, Union Army, veterans

Geographic Coverage:   United States, Ohio

Time Period:  

  • 1862--1940

Date of Collection:  

  • 1992--1999

Universe:   Union Army recruits in white volunteer infantry regiments. Commissioned officers, Black recruits, and other branches of the military were excluded from the universe.

Data Types:   medical records data

Data Collection Notes:

(1) This collection contains 87,233 cases that are split into five files containing all the cases per group of variables. (2) Files can be merged by using the variables "recidnum" and "examnum." Users should refer to the Supplemental Documentation for information on merging these files.(3) The codebook and supplemental documentation are provided as Portable Document Format (PDF) files. The PDF file format was developed by Adobe Systems Incorporated and can be accessed using PDF reader software, such as the Adobe Acrobat Reader. Information on how to obtain a copy of the Acrobat Reader is provided on the ICPSR Web site.


Sample:   A one-stage cluster sample of Union Army companies was randomly selected from the "Regimental Books" housed at the National Archives in Washington, DC.

Data Source:

surgeons' certificates from Civil War pension records stored at the National Archives in Washington, DC


Original ICPSR Release:  

Version History:

  • 2006-01-18 File DOC3417.ALL.PDF was removed from any previous datasets and flagged as a study-level file, so that it will accompany all downloads.
  • 2006-01-18 File CB3417.ALL.PDF was removed from any previous datasets and flagged as a study-level file, so that it will accompany all downloads.

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