Author Archives: Thomas Macentee

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 Fold3.com/1812pensions. 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!

And the Grand Prize Winner in the Genealogy Road Trip Contest Is . . .

Genealogy Road Trip Contest

Congratulations to the Grand Prize winner in the Genealogy Road Trip Contest at Preserve the Pensions. Pam Donahue has won her choice of the following research trips:

  • Salt Lake City Genealogy Research Package: A 7-night stay at the Salt Lake Plaza Hotel, a $200 meal gift card, and a $50 Family History Library photocopy card. Total value = $1,100; OR
  • Fort Wayne Genealogy Research Package: A 7-night stay at the Fort Wayne Hilton Hotel, a $200 meal gift card and a $50 Allen County Public Library photocopy card. Total value = $1,100.

Thank you to everyone who entered the contest as well as all of our prize sponsors! And stay tuned for some exciting news about the Preserve the Pensions program next week!

Thursday’s Winners in the Genealogy Road Trip Contest

Genealogy Road Trip Contest

Congratulations to the Thursday, May 23rd winners in the Genealogy Road Trip Contest at Preserve the Pensions:

And don’t forget that the grand prize – a choice of a research trip to either Salt Lake City or Fort Wayne, Indiana will be drawn tomorrow, Friday, May 24th!

Entries in the Genealogy Road Trip will be accepted up until 11:5 9pm this evening, Central Daylight Time, Thursday, May 23rd – there’s still time to enter!