Subscription genealogy website Fold3 is opening up its War of 1812 records for free access during June.
This is prime time for researching ancestors who were soldiers in the War of 1812. The war started 200 years ago June 18 when the United States declared war on Great Britain.
Fold3’s collection has more than 400,000 record images. That includes 233,000 images of War of 1812 pension files never before available online. Here’s an overview of the free databases:
- War of 1812 Pension Application Files: These pension and bounty land records are being digitized as a project with the Federation of Genealogical Societies. So far, only 3 percent of the records are digitized in Fold3’s collectionbut who knows, you may get lucky.
- War of 1812 Service Records: These records consist of cards compiled from muster, pay, receipt and other rolls for soldiers and sailors who served in the war. For each person named, you’ll usually learn his service dates, terms of service, monthly pay, where he served, and other notes.
- War of 1812 Prize Cases, Southern District Court, NY: These records relate to British vessels seized by American privateers and US Navy vessels. “Prize courts” helped dispose of the ship and its cargo as war prizes, and the records document questions asked of sailors, witnesses and others.
- Letters Received by the Adjutant General, 1805-1821: This correspondence came from Army officers and enlisted men, the Secretary of War, President and other officials, and it deals with Army personnel and administrative matters. The records are part of NARA record group 94.
Start searching Fold3’s War of 1812 collections here. You can search them all at once using the search box at the top of the page, or scroll down and click a collection title to search just those records.
For more help researching your War of 1812 ancestors, look for our how-to guide by David Allen Lambert in the July/August 2012 Family Tree Magazine (it starts mailing to subscribers in early June).
The War of 1812 is also covered in our guide to researching ancestors in 10 of America’s “lesser-known” military conflicts.