Monthly Archives: November 2014

With Our Thanks

As our country settles into the celebration of Thanksgiving, we at Preserve the Pensions wanted to also give our thanks. Our effort to raise enough funds to digitize the War of 1812 Pension files continues, but today, we stop to reflect on why this project is so important. Not just to us, but to thousands of people through history.

We asked our team; what are you thankful for?

I am thankful for patriots who stood tall when their country needed them and risked their lives for my freedom! ~ David Rencher

I am thankful for the Preserve the War of 1812 Pensions Project because they reveal so much about the time, the individuals, and their spouses. It has been wonderful browsing through the records and learning. ~ Fran Ellsworth

I am grateful for those families the soldiers left at home – the women and children who also sacrificed to make this country what it is today. ~ D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS

I am thankful for the record keepers who recorded and preserved the valuable information found in the War of 1812 Pension records, so that we might read these records today. ~ Elaine Hasleton, AG

I am grateful for the amazing generosity of many thousands of individuals and organizations who are putting more than seven million historical documents in every classroom in America – documents that tell stories of patriotism, hardship, longing, honor, and every-day life. ~ Curt Witcher, MLS, FUGA, IGSF


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America. To those, who wish to sheathe the desolating sword of war. And, to restore the blessings of peace and amity, to a divided people


I am thankful for everyone who has made it possible to digitize and publish the pension records from the War of 1812. I am deeply grateful that these records are online for everyone to freely use. This project made it possible for me to see my ancestors pension for the very first time! ~ Fran Jensen

I am thankful for a glimpse into the lives of our ancestors. Seeing their struggles, their relationships, and just who they write about their lives particularly during the war helps me visualize them so much better and brings them to life for me. ~ Rebecca Whitman Koford, CG

I am humbly thankful for the blood that was shed on our behalf by the soldiers, sailors, and Marines that died during this second war of Independence. ~ Mike Hall

I am thankful for my expanded knowledge of the War of 1812. In learning I have a new appreciation for my heritage, before and since America became the United States of America. The cost is far greater than I had imagined before. God bless those that fought then and today. ~ Janett Call

My thanks go to those that work so hard today to preserve the stories of the past, whether it be within the War of 1812 Preserve the Pensions project or elsewhere. My thanks go to all those who sacrificed for this country during a time of war; those who fought, those who stayed at home. My thanks go to the thousands of people who have supported this effort, and who continue to do so. ~ Jen Baldwin

This week, we will sit down at our tables and feast. We will work together to make our nation stronger, to do what is right, to do what is good. We will all give thanks for those that came before us, for those that serve our country today.

From our family to yours, may you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.



New book to assist in War of 1812 research

Craig R. Scott, CG, FUGA announced today his new book is now available. The following statement is made available by Heritage Books, Inc.

Understanding Revolutionary War and Invalid Pension Ledgers 1818-1872, and Pension Payment Vouchers They Represent


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Understanding Revolutionary War and Invalid Pension Ledgers 1818-1872, and Pension Payment Vouchers They Represent

The purpose of this pamphlet is two-fold: to provide advice on how to effectively and efficiently use pension ledgers and as a finding aid to pension ledgers and pension vouchers that relate to Revolutionary War pensioners and some invalid pensioners of the War of 1812.

It is based on a finding aid found in the Microfilm Reading Room of the National Archives, Washington, D.C., and the author’s many years experience with pension ledgers and payment vouchers. The pensions that are the focus of this pamphlet are the various Revolutionary War and Old Wars pensions that were paid under various acts from the end of the Revolutionary War until the last act dealing with Revolutionary War widows in 1858.

They include:

  • Revolutionary War survivor pensions paid under the Acts of 1818, 1820, 1826, 1828 and 1832.
  • They include Revolutionary War widow pensions paid under the acts of 1836, 1838, 1843, 1844, 1848, 1853 and 1858.
  • They include payments made to invalid pensioners paid under the Old Wars pension act.
  • Some widows of soldiers who died in the War of 1812 are included among these ledgers, when paid prior to 1873.

Chapters include:

Pension Ledgers; Pension Payment Vouchers; Last Payments; Final Payments; Case Studies: Case Study #1: Isaac Kingman of Goshen, Massachusetts; Case Study #2: Daniel Waldo, one of the last surviving soldiers of the Revolution; Case Study #3: Hedgeman Triplett of Franklin County, Kentucky.

Facsimile reprints of original documents and two appendices (Pension Ledger roll list and Pension Ledger List by State, Location, and Act) add to the value of this work. 2014, 8½x11, paper, 78 pp.

ISBN: 0788455869


You can purchase this publication via Heritage Books, Inc.


Finding the Women in the War of 1812 Pension Files

Our great-great grandmothers were not well represented in early records, especially married women who often couldn’t own land or vote. Those married women are the ones we are most interested in, as we are the descendants from that marriage. Fortunately some of the most revealing records for our female ancestors are found in military pensions. War of 1812 Widow’s Pensions are especially valuable for a whole generation of ancestors that are often difficult to find.

First Step: Indexes.

Three very valuable indexes for the War of 1812 are available online. Before searching, follow these guidelines. 1) Search for the soldier, 2) search using each of the widow’s known names (maiden, and all married names), 3) vary spelling on all names – not all online search engines will also search for phonetic or close spellings.

  • Case files of pension applications based on death or disability incurred in service in the War of 1812, 1812-1900 (National Archives, Records of the Veterans Administration, RG 15, film M313). These are the basic files for all soldiers and/or their widows who applied for assistance from the government, based on need. Not all the applications were approved, but even the rejected claims have been preserved and are just as valuable. Find this online for free at or at
  • Old War Pension Index, 1815-1926 (National Archives, Records of the Veterans Administration, RG 15, film T316). This index covers soldiers who served in the regular army, as opposed to a state militia, between the years 1783 – 1861. Find this online for free at or at
  • Index to pension application files of remarried widows…based on service in the War of 1812 (National Archives, Records of the Veterans Administration, RG 15, film M1784). If a widow was receiving benefits from her husband’s service, but then remarried, the payments were stopped. If she then became a widow again, she could reapply to have the pension payments renewed. Again, it is important to check all of her known names. Find this online for free at


Get an original copy.

Each of these indexes should supply you with what looks like an index card with names, dates, and numbers. Use these numbers to go to the National Archives in Washington D.C. to view the original records, or order copies to be sent to you from However, the good news is that the War of 1812 Preserve the Pensions project spearheaded by the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) may just save you time and money. The project is photographing and digitizing in color all of the soldiers’ pensions from the War of 1812, and those are available for free at As of today, the team of experts is up to surnames with the letter J. Making these wonderful and invaluable documents available to the public is only possible through donations from people like you.

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The Soldiers Wife at Fort Niagara

Genealogical Gems for Women in the War of 1812 Pensions

Generally, if a woman applied for benefits based on her husband’s service, she had to prove their marriage and his service (if he had not applied earlier). Generally, a man who did not die of his wounds, either during the war or later as a consequence of those wounds, was denied a pension. That didn’t stop many of our ancestral grandmothers from trying and their records tell us so much. You may find marriage dates, maiden names, children names, and even sometimes the names of some of the widow’s family. Here are some samples:

  • Eliza Creamer informed the pension office that her maiden name was Eliza Harry; she was married to John Creamer at her father’s home in Montgomery County, Maryland, on 23 Aug 1822 by John Magruder, a Methodist preacher. As of 1850 Eliza was 68 years old and illiterate.
  • In an effort to prove not only her husband’s service but also her family’s long years of patriotism, Joseph Whitman’s widow, Nancy, named her father as Captain Shubill Sumner who served in the Revolutionary War, and that she had a brother who served in that war as well (unnamed). Nancy gave her age, her maiden name as Nancy Sumner, that she married Joseph Whitman on 1 May 1840 in Franklin, Franklin County, New York, and that she had previously been married to Thomas Mayhew (no date given) who died in Buffalo, New York, on 4 Jun 1840.
  • Nancy Treadwell’s pension request based on her husband’s service includes a beautifully transcribed full color family register, naming hers and her husband’s birthdates as well as all the children’s names and birthdates, and a few death dates. Sadly, her claim was rejected but descendants tell us that this is the only remaining family document after a fire.

Look at the online pensions often. One more reason you should check out the free digitized War of 1812 records at the every-name index. Even if your ancestor never applied for a pension, he or she may have signed an affidavit or been mentioned by another. As more and more pensions are digitized there are more opportunities to piece together the lives of those mystery women in our families.


[1] John Creamer (Pvt., Capt. McLaughlin’s Co., Maryland Vols., War of 1812), widow Eliza Harry, WO 14535,WC 1765, BLW 62696, War of 1812 Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files, Records of the Veteran’s Administration, RG 15; National Archives (NARA), Washington DC.

[2] Joseph Whitman (Pvt., Capt. Lewis Torrance’s Co., NY Militia, War of 1812), widow Nancy Whitman, WO 19691, WC 24169; War of 1812 Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files, Records of the Veteran’s Administration, RG 15; NARA.

[3] Family Register, Stephen Treadwell (Pvt., Capt. Clem Guyton, MD Militia, War of 1812), widow Nelly Treadwell, WO 2487, Rejected; War of 1812 Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files, Records of the Veteran’s Administration, RG 15; NARA; see also Jon Harland Livezey, “Genealogical Treasure in a War of 1812 Pension File,” Maryland Genealogical Society Journal, Vol. 5, no. 2, 2014.