Memorial Day 2011: War of 1812 Ancestry

Several times this past week I drove by Fort Snelling National Cemetery. My father and mother, father-in-law and mother-in-law, and some other relatives are buried there. Seeing all those rows of stark white stones against the vibrant green grass is both sobering and exquisite.

I have U.S. ancestors and family that participated in the Civil War, Spanish-American War, World Wars I and II, Korea, and Vietnam. I have no known Revolutionary War or War of 1812 ancestry.

But, no matter the war, I am happy when the stories of those who served are preserved. Diaries, journals, letters to and from, photos, pension and service records, enlistment and discharge papers, and other documents tell us more about each person.

During our Federation of Genealogical Societies board meeting this past week we talked about the War of 1812 pension and bounty land papers because FGS is in the midst of the “Preserve the Pensions Project.” This project is a joint venture of FGS, the National Archives,the genealogical community, and now The goal is to get all 7.2 million pages digitized and online for anyone to view. Right now 5,000 images are free to view on This will remain FREE viewing if we all pull together and raise the funds to do so. It takes money for the digitization equipment and operators among other costs. 

Click here to read a press release about the initial posting on and the commitment of iArchives to this project. 

These more than 5,000 documents are online and free to view, download, or print at This is less than 1% of the total records to be digitized. We need to keep this number growing. For every $100 donated, 200 more images can be done. For $500 that means 1,000 more pages. In 2012 we will celebrate the bicentennial of the beginning of this war. Wouldn’t it be neat to have this fund-raising effort nearing completion before the end of 2012!

Click here to donate to this worthwhile effort.

To learn more about records at the federal level that are related to those who served in the War of 1812, visit the website of the U.S. National Archives at Enter the phrase “War of 1812” in the search box you see in the upper right hand corner.

© 2011 – 2014, Paula Stuart-Warren. All rights reserved.

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