Yes, you can! If you live close to Washington, D.C., then you can go there yourself and get your hands on the original documents. It can be thrilling to have your ancestor’s pension file in your hands, knowing that he held those same documents, some of which bear his signature. You can then take photos or scan copies of the documents. NARA even has scanners which you can use (you’ll pay per page), or you can use the scanners in the Innovation Hub for free.
If you’re considering a trip to NARA in D.C., you may want to contact us first. We will be happy to meet you there and walk you through the process at no charge.