War of 1812 Pension Records: Preservation Effort and Free Access

Published by Genealogy-Research on

More than two centuries after its inception an important effort is underway to preserve the pension records from the War of 1812. For the last several years, donations have been raised to digitize these records and make them free to the public.

The Federation of Genealogical Societies has created the Preserve the Pensions page in conjunction with Fold3, Ancestry and the National Archives to accept these donations and provide information about the important historical treasures they are working so hard to save.

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The Federation of Genealogical Societies reports:

The Pension Records from the War of 1812 are among the most requested documents at the National Archives. Unfortunately, these fragile documents are in urgent need of digitization. In support of this monumental task of digitizing 7.2 million pages, Ancestry.com has provided a dollar for dollar matching grant, so every dollar you contribute will make four more pages accessible and free for everyone.

You can access the pension files that have already been made searchable online free of charge on the Fold3 website.

Here is the information you can expect to find in the pension files, as stated by Fold3.

This series consists of approximately 180,000 pension and bounty land warrant application files relating to claims based on service between 1812 and 1815. The files generally contain documentation submitted in support of a claim, such as the original application form, affidavits, and statements from witnesses.

The following information will be captured with the images and available to researchers when it exists in the file.

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  • Veteran’s name
  • Age
  • Place of residence
  • Widow name
  • Service data & dates
  • Organization & rank
  • Widow’s maiden name
  • Acres Granted
  • Marriage date
  • Soldier death date
  • Widow death date
  • Year of BLM act
  • Warrant number
  • Additional names

So far, the Preserve the Pension effort has raised about 35% of the total funds needed to save all of the available records. You can read more about the digitization project and find out how to help here.

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