Leading the Charge to Preserve the Pensions!

War of 1812 - Battle of New Orleans

[Editor’s Note: David E. Rencher, Preserve the Pensions committee member, provides an update on recent progress with fundraising including genealogy and historical society matching programs!]

A number of genealogical societies have stepped up and offered matching grants to encourage their members to help in the Preserve the Pensions campaign to digitally image the War of 1812 Pension and Bounty Land Files in the National Archives. Having caught the vision, the leadership in these societies is heeding this “call to arms.”

Every dollar generously donated by their members is matched by the participating society and then again by the generous matching program offered by Ancestry.com – thus every dollar donated equals four and digitizes eight precious images!

The Multiplying Effect – Building Community

This multiplying effect was well illustrated by two genealogical societies at the forefront of the matching efforts, the Indiana State Genealogical Society and the Illinois State Genealogical Society. Both determined that they would match donations up to $10,000 by their members and both were able to achieve this lofty goal. Those donations, matched by the society to become $20,000 were then matched by Ancestry.com to total $40,000 toward our $3.2 million dollar goal. These are significant efforts and really illustrate how the grassroots campaign on the local and state level can make all the difference in reaching our goal.

ISGS President Jane Haldeman notes: “The ISGS board made a strong commitment to the preservation of the War of 1812 Pension Records when it issued the fundraising challenge earlier this year. ISGS thanks all who contributed, especially those members of the genealogy community who are not members of ISGS. Digitizing these records will benefit ALL genealogists and hopefully result in more people locating information about their ancestors.

Leaders in genealogical societies across the country are beginning to take up this challenge and committing to raise various amounts – all are a key to the success of this effort.

Societies with War of 1812 Matching Programs

These societies either have a War of 1812 matching program in progress or have completed their fundraising drive:

Name of Society Matching Amount Committed Total Raised Coupled with Ancestry.com Match Completed/
In Progress
Indiana State Genealogical Society $ 12,117 $ 24,234 $ 48,468


Illinois State Genealogical Society $ 10,000 $ 20,000 $ 40,000


Texas State Genealogical Society $ 5,000

In Progress

Fairfax (VA) Genealogical Society $ 2,500 $ 5,000 $ 10,000


Florida State Genealogical Society $ 2,000 $ 4,000 $ 8,000


Colorado Council of Genealogical Societies $ 1,000

In Progress

Williamson County, Texas Genealogical Society $ 1,000

In Progress

Donations Rolling Up

A great example of a smaller society making a real difference is the Florida Genealogical Society (Tampa) committing in 2011 and 2012 to donate $5 per member each year. This year, they supported the Florida State Genealogical Society with their contribution of $750 toward FSGS’ $2,000 matching campaign. At their annual conference over the Veteran’s Day weekend, they successfully reached their $2,000 goal. This is just another wonderful example of societies partnering with each other and working together to make great things happen for the Preserve the Pensions project!

Individual Society Contributions

A handful of societies are also working hard to raise the funds within their membership and forward those to the Federation of Genealogical Societies. These societies have all chosen various methods of raising the money – some from projects, some from a percentage of their annual conference revenues, some from passing the hat!

Some recent genealogical society donations received include:

We are also grateful for donations from a number of 1812 and American Revolution Patriotic societies:

  • Ora Fina Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (MT)
  • Tennessee Society U.S. Daughters of 1812 Chapter
  • Texas Society U.S. Daughters of 1812, James Smith Chapter #438
  • Abraham Baldwin Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (GA)
  • Chalmette Chapter (LA) Society U.S. Daughters of 1812

What Can Your Society Do?

From these examples, perhaps you can see how every society can participate in some manner:

  • Consider a matching dollar amount and challenge to your members to contribute
  • Work in conjunction with another society and add your efforts to their matching campaign
  • Choose a project or event and donate the proceeds from your society


Click here for more information or email 1812@fgs.org to start your own matching campaign for Preserve the Pensions!

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One thought on “Leading the Charge to Preserve the Pensions!

  1. Theresa Casteel

    I was glad to be a part of this great effort by donating thought FxGS.
    I am especially excited to see Casteel files starting to be scanned and uploaded. :-)
    Theresa (Tangled Trees)

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