FGS announces plan to fund digitization of War of 1812 pension records

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In conjunction with the beginning of the 2010 National Genealogical Society Conference, the Federation of Genealogical Societies has announced a new fund-raising effort, with the goal of digitizing and making available the pension files for War of 1812 veterans. This effort will help to commemorate the bicentennial of the War of 1812.

The state of Maryland played a significant role in the War of 1812. The battle of Fort McHenry in Baltimore inspired Francis Scott Key to write what would become our national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Other battles in Maryland lay on the British route from the Chesapeake Bay to Washington, D. C. During the War, the British laid siege to our Capital, even burning the White House before eventually being defeated.

Pension files constitute one of the most genealogically rich record groups. In addition to details concerning military service, often including affidavits from both the applicant and other members of his regiment, many pension files contain personal information about the lives of the these soldiers. For example, when a veteran’s widow applied for a pension, she was required to prove her marriage and one will often find marriage records, copies of family Bible pages, or affidavits from the minister or witnesses to the marriage. A wealth of other information can also be found in these wonderful records....

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