FGS Plans War of 1812 Pension Records Digitization Project

By Allison Dolan

What’s great about 2012? The release of the 1940 census, of course, but what else? It’s also the bicentennial of the War of 1812. The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) has started a Preserve the Pensions project to digitize National Archives and Records Administration’s (NARA) pension files from that war.

FGS wants to raise $3.7 million for the digitization. It’s hoping to finish digitizing all 180,000 files before the 2015 bicentennial of the war’s end (the Treaty of Ghent was signed in December 1814, but battles continued until news of the war’s end crossed the ocean).

NARA’s War of 1812 pension files aren’t microfilmed; the archives receives upwards of 3,000 requests a year for photocopies.

What’s in a pension file? Here’s one of several War of 1812 pension files on the Allen County Public Library website.

It has details about the soldier’s residence, marriage, military service, pension amount and more.

If you have a War of 1812 ancestor and can’t wait for 2015, you can look for him in an index, then request copies of his pension file from NARA for a fee. Subscription site has a War of 1812 application files index. The index also is on microfilm at NARA and the Family History Library, and it’s transcribed in the book Index to War of 1812 Pension Files by Virgil D. White.

Read more about War of 1812 pension records in NARA’s research guide.

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