For many Americans, the War of 1812 remains an enigma. That’s no surprise, though: Unlike the Revolution before and the Civil War following, it wasn’t about independence or freedom. Instead, “Mr. Madison’s War” was all about special interests.
New England remained staunchly neutral—after all, it was making a fortune supplying England in its war with Napoleon. The Manifest Destiny crowd, however, saw it as a way of grabbing Florida and Canada. Congress said it was about freedom of the high seas. Regardless of what individual Americans might have thought (and there was plenty of dissent), the war began in 1812 and lasted until 1815.
Was your ancestor one of the many who served in the Army, Navy or Marines during this conflict? If so, you might be interested in these sites:
Veterans of the War of 1812
You’ll find veterans listed in the 1903 membership roll of the Pennsylvania Society of the War of 1812.
The Ohio Historical Society War of 1812 Roster of Ohio Soldiers
This fully searchable database contains names of 1,759 officers and 24,521 enlisted men.
Database of Illinois War of 1812 Veterans
Follow the directions on the site to obtain copies of the original records.
The Library of Virginia Index to the War of 1812 Pay Rolls and Muster Rolls
Search a database of approximately 40,000 names.
National Archives War of 1812 Resources
Read about the National Archives’ records created before and after the War of 1812, and learn how to obtain them.
Officers of the Navy and Marine Corps in the War of 1812
Access lists of all commissioned and warrant officers of the Navy and the Marine Corps.
- Research Strategies: Online Military Records digital download
- Research Strategies: 10 Lesser-Known Military Conflicts digital download (includes the War of 1812)
- Military Research Guide CD