November 27, 2012 – Austin, TX. The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) is pleased to announce that the War of 1812 “Preserve the Pensions” Digitization Fund received a generous donation this week of $250,000 from FamilySearch, a nonprofit organization and world leader in the genealogy community. The donation helps move the Fund closer to its goal of $3.7 million in donations to digitally preserve and index the War of 1812 pension and bounty land records.
The War of 1812, often called the “Second Revolution,” was a pivotal moment in our Nation’s history. Individual states struggled to become one nation after a long-fought Revolution, and the “American Experiment” was still at a precarious stage. The strength and courage of the patriots who fought in the War of 1812 ensured that our American Revolution did not end up as a mere footnote to British history and conquest. Instead, valiant farmers, merchants, seamen, fathers, and sons became soldiers to fight for what they and their fathers had believed in: their American home.
Now, two hundred years later, the War of 1812 “Preserve the Pensions” Digitization Fund celebrates their success, honor, and memories by digitally preserving the veterans’ pension records and making them freely accessible to all online. The initiative will digitally preserve the 180,000 War of 1812 pension records (7.2 million pages) located at NARA, and create a searchable index online. Currently, NARA receives over 3,000 patron requests per year for copies of soldiers’ files.
“The Federation is extremely grateful to FamilySearch for their generous support of this enormously important endeavor,” said Curt Witcher, vice president of development for FGS. “Linking the genealogical community, marshaling that community’s resources, preserving and making accessible records that document our heritage—all are central to the Federation's mission. FamilySearch’s very generous pacesetting gift helps ensure that this 21st century preservation and access project is a reality.”
David Rencher, chief genealogy officer for FamilySearch, said, “FamilySearch publishes over 400 million images of historic documents online for free each year, and is honored to support community efforts like the War of 1812 ‘Preserve the Pensions’ Digitization Fund to preserve and make additional high priority historic records more widely available.”
The War of 1812 files are very valuable to family historians and genealogists because they contain rich information such as:
- Veteran’s name and age
- Widow’s name and maiden name
- Service history and dates
- Military rank and organization
- If Bounty Land was granted and information on those warrants
- Marriage information
- Death dates for soldiers and widows
- Additional names of neighbors and comrades
Family Search: https://familysearch.org/
Federation of Genealogical Societies: http://www.fgs.org/
Disclosure: I am a member of the Board of Directors of the Federation of Genealogical Societies