The War of 1812 Pension and Bounty Land Records are filled with family details. These records are housed at the National Archives in Washington, DC. Unfortunately, they are in deteriorating condition.
William Lamson served in the War of 1812 in a New York militia unit led by Captain Cornelius Dubois. His War of 1812 Pension and Bounty Land record gives some nice clues for family history research. Among those clues:
- His widow, Mary, applied for widow’s pension from Adrian, Lenawee County, Michigan
- William died 2 March 1868
- He enlisted at Greenville, Rensselaer County, New York
- They were married 12 September 1815
- Possible maiden name of Betts for Mary
- He was provided 160 acres of bounty land
- 12 April 1856 he was in Belfast, Allegany County, New York
- The will of William Lamson is referenced
- A Matthew Lamson attested to their marriage date
- The file says a family record showed their marriage date
- On 22 August 1879 it was stated that she would be 82 on 13 December
A statement in the file says that due to her age, there is no great danger of her ever marrying again. I had to laugh at that. A bit presumptuous? Maybe Mary was a cougar and had other plans?
I have no connection to Mary or William but thought this was a interesting file. I did not find it by searching for Lamson. I was looking for DuBois. Other names are searchable in some files now. Where did I view the file? Not in DC but at home. On my computer. For FREE. On Fold3.com. With bare feet. At my own desk.
The reason this was doable is that many genealogists and historians have donated toward the digital preservation of these files. The project is spearheaded by the Federation of Genealogical Societies. Ancestry.com and Fold3 have joined to match donated funds and other details. Once all the funds are raised, the digitized files will be free forever on Fold3.com. At the present time, the project has reached 50% of the necessary funding. If you have a ancestor with a surname later in the alphabet, you are likely tapping your toes while waiting for “your” files to appear online.
To make that happen, the rest of the funding is needed. I guess it’s not totally free. I have donated to this project several times. Let’s get this totally funded soon. I need some file for names beginning with S and W. What do you need? Learn more and donate at the FGS website’s Preserve the Pensions link.
UPDATE: Some trees on Ancestry.com do not have the marriage date or Mary’s probably married name. I learned those for free.
© 2015, Paula Stuart-Warren. All rights reserved.