Monthly Archives: August 2013

Actor Chris O’Donnell’s War of 1812 Ancestor Featured on WDYTYA

chris odonnell who do you think you are?

On a recent episode of Who Do You Think You Are? on TLC, actor Chris O’Donnell discovers that he has a War of 1812 ancestor, George McNeir who was his 4th great-grandfather. McNeir served as a Lieutenant with the Sea Fencibles during the famous Bombardment of Fort McHenry, Maryland.

As O’Donnell learned, McNeir fought valiantly during this famous battle in September 1814 which ended an attempted land assault by the British. The battle is better known as the event when the words to the Star-Spangled Banner, our national anthem, were penned by Francis Scott Key.

Help Others Find Their War of 1812 Ancestors

Do you have War of 1812 ancestors or know others with a possible connection? One way of finding out is to research the War of 1812 Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files slowly being made available on Fold3.

The War of 1812 pension consists of approximately 180,000 pension and bounty land warrant application files relating to claims based on service between 1812 and 1815. The 180,000 files contain of approximately 7.2 million individual pages of these there are already more than 765,000 images online at These rich documents contain details of your ancestors such as affidavits, statements from witnesses, widow’s maiden name, acres granted, marriage date, service data and more.

Your Help Needed NOW!

Many of these records are old and in poor condition. They must be rescued by being digitized so future generations of researchers can discover War of 1812 ancestors similar to the one in Chris O’Donnell’s amazing story.

You can help others learn more about their own ancestors in the War of 1812 Pension Files by making a donation via Preserve the Pensions. Click here to donate today!