During the War of 1812, the British seized more than 20,000 Americans and imprisoned them in Canada, South Africa, England, Bermuda and the West Indies. Thousands were banished to the infamous Dartmoor prison in Devon, England; learn more at the companion site to PBS’ “The War of 1812.”
To start your research on American prisoners of war, search the Ancestry.com database called War of 1812 Prisoner of War Records, 1812-1815 (taken from NARA microfilms M1747 and M2019). The records include lists of prisoners and men exchanged, accounts of clothing provided to prisoners in Canada and correspondence regarding prisoners.
If your naval ancestor was held prisoner, consult NARA Record Group 45, Naval Records Collection of the Office of Naval Records and Library, 1775-1910. These records contain prisoners of war held in Canada, England, Bermuda and the West Indies who were named in lists the Office of the Adjutant General received from the Treasury Department and the Department of the Navy. Besides the name, you’ll learn the rank, regimental organization, date and place of capture, and the date of release. Also in these records is the Register of United States Prisoners of War at Quebec, 1813-1815.
From the July-August 2012 Family Tree Magazine