Category Archives: War of 1812

Stories about the War of 1812 including important battles, dates and people who helped fight America’s Second Revolution.

Native Americans in the War of 1812

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[Editor's Note: Michael Hall, Deputy Chief Genealogical Officer at FamilySearch, provides us with new perspectives on the War of 1812 and its history.]

With the ongoing online publication of the War of 1812 Pension Records at fold3, critical historical and genealogical information has come to light after almost two centuries of obscurity. As so often happens with the passage of time, history overlooks and/or ignores the actions of individuals or groups of individuals that affect the course of history. One such example, is the role of the Native Americans who served on behalf of the United States during the War of 1812; specifically the Native Americans of upper New York (Oneida and Seneca). There is little written about the contributions that these tribes made to the American cause in 1812.

“Our only reference to Oneida military service in 1812 derives from an individual’s petition to the state (1857) to recover costs of trans­portation and equipment incurred that year. Having served at Sackets Harbor, Oneida Jake Antoine asked to be reimbursed for use of his own equipment (including a rifle) as well as $60 in back pay. His claim was judged correct, and, in 1859, New York awarded him $58.00 to compensate expenses though not, as far as we know, his pay.” 1

However, a very brief examination of the War of 1812 Pension Records has rediscovered not only forgotten history, but also individuals. In one record set alone, the following was found:

  • A detailed description of individual actions during military engagements that involved Units with Oneida tribal members.
  • Additional names of Oneida veterans that were not originally included in the reconstituted Unit rosters and/or lists.
  • Variant spellings of Oneida veteran’s names; who provided testimony in behalf of the veteran seeking a pension.
  • A thorough description of injuries sustained by Oneida veterans in various engagements conducted by a Unit.
  • The plight of Native American veterans after the War of 1812, such as, forced removal from New York to Wisconsin.
  • The extraordinary methods, proofs, and hoops that the Native American veteran had to jump through in order to obtain a pension.

It is believed that approximately 160 Oneidas fought for the United States during the War of 1812. To date only War of 1812 Pension File records for the letters A-C (representing the first letter of the surname of veterans) have been published. Imagine what additional information can be gleaned when the remainder of the records (D-Z), are published! Not only have Native Americans representing the Oneida tribe been found; but additional Native American tribes have also appeared; such as the Seneca (another tribe originally from New York).

Again, a cursory examination of one of the Seneca records indicates similar information found in the Oneida veteran’s record. Perhaps the history of these long forgotten veterans can return to the forefront of mainstream America, and thus gain the much deserved recognition for these long overlooked veterans.

Often with new discoveries, we ask ourselves “How can I help?” To preserve their stories and history, we can contribute to the Preserve the Pensions War of 1812 Project. The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) is proud to be leading the national fundraising to support this project and is actively seeking donations from genealogical and historical societies, patriotic and military heritage societies, as well as interested corporations and individuals. Ancestry.com and fold3 are providing a dollar-for-dollar match of each donation through a provision of services. Help in preserving crucial and exciting historical facts as represented by the recent discoveries of the Native Americans who fought for the United States in the War of 1812.

To learn more and contribute to the Preserve the Pensions project, visit www.preservethepensions.org.

Notes:

  1. Wonderley, Anthony. Oneida County (New York) Historical Society: Where Oneida County’s rich history is yours to discover, explore & enjoy. http://www.oneidacountyhistory.org/OneidaIndians/OneidasWar1812.asp: accessed 12 April 2009, “The Oneidas in the War of 1812.”

FGS Dell Tablet Contest at Rootstech

The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) is pleased to announce that Marilyn Oblad of Salt Lake City, Utah is the winner of the Dell XPS 10 32GB Tablet with Mobile Keyboard Dock offered in a drawing by FGS at the 2013 RootsTech conference held in Salt Lake City.

FGS Dell Tablet Winner at RootsTech

Marilyn, pictured here with her grandson said, “I was so hoping I would have something portable since all I have is a desktop computer.” She also indicated that she has an older grandson that is a computer expert who will help her to configure the new tablet with all of the genealogical programs she wants to use.

FGS thanks Dell Corporation for generously making the tablet available as the prize in a drawing for the attendees of RootsTech 2013. Dell was a major corporate sponsor of the conference and is anxious to see genealogists use a wide array of technologies to advance their research.

FGS will be launching the second half of the prize drawing shortly, so stay tuned, you could be the winner of an exciting research trip package and other offers from the community of genealogical vendors!

War of 1812 Preserve the Pensions Project Ahead of Schedule

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[Editor's NotePreserve the Pensions chair David E. Rencher gives a progress report on the digitization and fundraising efforts involved with preserving and digitizing the War of 1812 Pension File records at the National Archives.]

The Federation of Genealogical Societies is leading the effort to raise the money needed to digitize the Pension and Bounty Land files of the War of 1812. To date, nearly one-third of the money needed has been raised through the generous contributions of many individuals, society board matching gifts, non-profit and corporate sponsors. Midway through 2012, the project was able to add a second camera to accelerate the image capture.

The Federation is working in partnership with the National Archives, the Fold3 website, Ancestry.com, and FamilySearch to make these images available. Ancestry.com has generously agreed to match all donations with an equivalent number of images for each dollar. These records were a high priority project for the National Archives since they are one of most requested documents by researchers. Prior to this project, users were required to either examine the files onsite at Archives I in Washington, DC or apply for a photocopy of the file. Each photocopy request costs a researcher fifty-five dollars. Now, these images will be available for free to researchers throughout the world.

Digital camera operators at the National Archives are producing images of the War of 1812 Pension and Bounty Land files at a pace faster than anticipated. The files are stored in 3,619 archival boxes and in October 2012, the digital camera operators imaged an average of 10 boxes per week, 3 boxes faster than originally projected. November saw even greater gains in production with their image capture rate increasing to an average of 13 boxes per week. To date, they have imaged 580 boxes, or roughly 16%.

These documents have already been prepared for digital camera image capture by the National Archives staff and volunteers who painstakingly unfolded, flattened, and filed the individual pensions. This preparatory work is required prior to any project and actually takes longer than the camera work itself. This work has directly led to the success of the camera operators being able to increase their overall productivity.

The already imaged documents are freely available on the Fold3 website at: http://go.fold3.com/warof1812/. The files are alphabetically arranged in the National Archives and the project started with the letter “A” and the work is systematically moving through to the end. The files are searchable by the name of the pensioner. The software available on Fold3 allows researchers to add value to the indexes by identifying other names within the pensions, indexing and submitting those names to the searchable database. This “indexing on the fly” software provides a wealth of additional data for researchers. Many of the files contain testimony by members of the unit of the pensioner stating that they had first-hand knowledge that the pensioner served in areas or battles of the War of 1812.

In addition to vital information about the pensioner, the files often contain marriage information, record of service, and occasionally Bible pages. Many researchers often overlook the wide array of valuable information in these files because they don’t believe they have a direct line ancestor that fought in the war. An important strategy to researching in these pension files is to investigate the lists of members of the unit in which the pensioner served and to read the files of these associates. With the files going online, this research will become much easier.

To learn more about the project or to donate to the capture of these images and making them freely available, go to www.preservethepensions.org . Each dollar donated to the project preserves two images. Ancestry.com has generously agreed to match all donations dollar-for-dollar, so in fact, each dollar preserves four images. Please add your contribution of $25, $45, $100, $250 or $500 today!