Trouble with Surname Spellings? Tips for searching multiple names in the War of 1812 Pensions at!

Like many websites, to search for your ancestor properly, you need to change the surname spelling for every search you make. Fold3 is one of those, but there is a work-around you may not be aware of. When searching for a name with multiple spellings, try this trick. For this example, we will be using the surname “Clements.”

  • At Fold3, click on the tab “War of 1812” under the heading “Browse US Military Records by War.” When you do, a box will show up to the right about War of 1812 records available in the site. Now click on the dark blue words “Browse all War of 1812 Titles.”
  • Now your screen will show two columns. Go to the second column titled “Publication,” and scroll down to click on “War of 1812 Pension Files.”
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Layout on

  • A new column will show up on the right side, titles “State Organization.” Click on the state where your ancestor served. For this example, we will use Maryland.
  • The next column that now shows on the right is “Surname Starts With.” Here we click “C” for Clements.
  • Now another column shows to the right alongside the surname list. If we scroll through those names we find three surname spellings in the Maryland records only that may be variants of the Clements name: Clemans, Clements, Clemmer. Clicking on each of these will give the name of the soldiers who applied for pensions (or pensions applied for by widows under their husbands’ names).
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Surname searching on

Using this search technique, you may find surname spellings for your ancestor that you had not considered.  Don’t forget to search for your ancestor’s name (with each possible spelling) in the regular search – he may be listed in someone else’s pension, too.

Happy Researching!

Remember that records are made available online – FREE forever – by donations from people like you. Help us preserve the War of 1812 pension files and make a donation today!



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