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War of 1812 Pension Files Digitization Moves Forward!


We have some exciting news to share. Ancestry® and the National Genealogical Society® have recently finalized a contract with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to resume digitization of the War of 1812 Pension Files. Like so many other things, this ongoing project came to a screeching halt during the closure of NARA due to COVID-19.

Pension File for Hugh Magee

This massive undertaking to digitize some 7.2 million pages in this collection began in 2010. So far, we’ve completed 83% of these records. We’re just finishing up the final files for surnames beginning with ‘R’ and will move on to files with surnames beginning with the letters ‘Sj to U’ next. These digitized records are available to view for free on Fold3®. Our goal is to complete this next phase in about a year. We’ve already added new files to the site and will continue to update this collection regularly.

The War of 1812 Pension Files include full pension application files for soldiers, sailors, and their widows and children, who served in the War of 1812. They can reveal extraordinary details about military service and often include critical genealogical information.

If you’ve already scoured this collection, and have been waiting patiently for new content, here’s how to use our Fold3® Browse feature to filter recently added records. From the top menu bar, select “Browse” and then enter War of 1812 Pension Files under Publications. You can then filter to State and narrow your results to content added in the past month. Here you will see the names of those whose pension files we’ve recently added.

Start exploring the War of 1812 Pension Files today on Fold3®!


  1. Robert A. Lynn says:

    Dear Ms. Ashcraft,
    Have the Morning Reports (dated from January, 1920 to April, 1920) for H Company, 31st Infantry Regiment American Expeditionary Force Siberia been digitalized yet? If they have been, are they available on Fold 3 yet? But if not, when? Also, are the Personnel Rosters available for H Company, 31st Infantry Regiment from August, 1918 to April, 1920? If so, are they on Fold 3 ?

    Respectfully Submitted,

    Robert A. Lynn

    • Jenny Ashcraft says:

      Hello Robert, it appears we have Morning Reports for the 31st Infantry Regiment, Company H from January 1917 through December 1919. I do see images from Siberia.

  2. Dennis Au says:


  3. D. B. King says:

    When this project is completed, I hope their next project might be to digitize and index all the Naturalization records (including application forms) in the United States. A golden dream, but ‘twould be oh so helpful.

  4. Dee says:

    We are fortunate to be able to have these records digitized and available for our family history research. Thankful that the War of 1812 will be completed.

  5. Gayle says:

    Are the Civil War widow’s pensions in the works too? Really, really need them to resume.

  6. Dean McLeod says:

    This really IS good news. Keep at it. What major military sources are not on line?

  7. bill says:

    This is great news, unfortunatly my ancestrer died while on a British Man of War as a ships carpender

  8. Cathleen S Zepelin says:

    Will wait patiently for Winship in the W’s, and for the Rhinebeck Rangers. Thanks so very much.

  9. Martha Chromik says:

    Are you able to join Fold3 without having to join Ancestry?

    • Jenny Ashcraft says:

      Hi Martha, the answer is YES! The War of 1812 Pension Files will be available for free. You just need to register for a complimentary Basic membership. If you are interested in other collections, you can sign up for a Fold3 account here:

  10. Robert Lynn says:

    Dear Jenny,
    I already have the Morning Reports for the dates mentioned but I do need the status of the January, 1920 to April, 1920 Morning Reports. Where are they and who has them? Also, where are the Personnel Rosters for specifically H Company, 31st Infantry Regiment for their time in Siberia? What specific images of Siberia are you talking about? I hope you are enjoying your Memorial Day, 2023. Please let me know. Thanks.

  11. Joan says:

    What’s really frustrating is that records of Confederate soldiers, who fought against the U.S., have been digitized before Union soldiers. Those of us who descend from patriotic Americans who fought for our country have to pay a pretty penny and wait (it took more than a year for me to receive my ancestor’s records due to covid) while Confederate records are readily available.

    • Vicki says:

      I have been waiting 5 years for 3 Texas Indian Wars records. But before that, there were lots of Union veterans records available as well as Confederate records.

    • Andy Howell says:

      I’m not aware of the reasons why, and if, Confederate records were digitized ahead of Union records. Having said that, there are digitized records of Union forces at Fold3 and All my Civil War ancestors, so far as I have been able to determine, served on the side of the Confederacy. They were Americans, too, suffering, bleeding, & dying just like Union troops and sailors. Many, though certainly not all, Confederate veterans made massive contributions after the war to build a better United States of America.

  12. Sybil A. Skakle says:

    I am trying to discover if a seaman, John C. Odin or Oden served in the military during the war of 1812. He was 20 years old. He died in Hatteras, NC

  13. Robert Lynn says:

    Dear Joan,
    There is no place to disrespect the Confederate soldiers because they were done first. One must remember that Confederate records aren’t as large in numbers as Union records. One should also leave patriotism out while researching records. No one is here to defend their actions.

  14. […] War of 1812 Pension Files Digitization Moves Forward!. “We have some exciting news to share. Ancestry® and the National Genealogical Society® […]

  15. […] War of 1812 Pension Files Digitization Moves Forward!. “We have some exciting news to share. Ancestry® and the National Genealogical Society® […]

  16. Robert Duzan says:

    Do we have access to “FOLD3” data with an Ancestry account?

    • Jenny Ashcraft says:

      Hi Robert, Some of Fold3’s indexed records are available on Ancestry. The majority, however, are not available on Ancestry.

  17. Russ Czaplewski says:

    I gasped when I saw the article from Fold3 in my email. My years of waiting for a surname beginning with “Si” might be over (in my lifetime)? I know things had stalled out at “Sh” names.

    I look forward to further progress!

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