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War of 1812 Pension Files

Come explore Fold3’s growing collection of War of 1812 Pension Files!

Fold3 Image - Example War of 1812 Pension Claim
In 1813 and 1816, Congress authorized military pensions for men who had served in the War of 1812. These pensions pertained to men who had served between 1812 and 1815 and had sustained service-related death or disability.

However, later acts passed in 1871 and 1878 expanded the pensions to include more veterans. The 1871 act allowed men who had served at least 60 days during the war to draw a pension, and their widows were eligible to apply as long as the marriage had taken place before the end of the war. The 1878 act expanded the pensions even further to apply to veterans who had served 14 days in the war or in any engagement, and to their widows, regardless of when the marriage had occurred.

Although the specific documents available in a particular veteran’s pension file may vary, common documents are:

  • Declarations of pension
  • Declarations of widow’s pension
  • Adjutant General statements of service
  • Questionnaires completed by applicants (numbered forms)
  • “Pension Dropped” cards
  • Marriage certificates
  • Death certificates
  • Discharge certificates

From these documents you can typically find information such as:

  • Veteran’s age
  • Place of residence
  • Dates of service
  • Place of enlistment and discharge
  • Organization
  • Rank

If the soldier’s widow applied for the pension, additional information available usually includes:

  • Widow’s age
  • Widow’s maiden name
  • Place and date of marriage
  • Date and place of veteran’s death

On Fold3, the War of 1812 Pension Files are organized by state or organization, then by the soldier’s surname and given name.

Although digitization of the War of 1812 pension files was previously temporarily paused, Ancestry, the National Archives, and the Federation of Genealogical Societies are working in cooperation to resume digitization. The first of these newly digitized pension files are already available for free on Fold3, with more to be added to the site in installments throughout 2018 and beyond. So if you don’t see your ancestor’s pension file yet, keep checking back!

Get started searching or browsing the War of 1812 Pension Files on Fold3!


  1. Tom P says:

    When is the letter n, o, and p going to be uploaded? I thought they were supposed to be done by last October.

  2. Marcia says:

    They always start with the beginning of the alphabet and never seem to get to the end. Someone should start at the end and work forward. Last name here is Zeigler. Can’t tell toy how many times there is nothing available..

    • Marji says:

      My name was a Z. I offered to index our cemetery files for a rootsweb site if I could start with Z. Only A,B and C had been done and it was taking years.
      By the time i finished, I had worked backwards through the alphabet to H, about 16,000 records.
      Fortunately the administrator was flexible.

    • Alaini says:

      Well you could help do some indexing to make it go faster.

  3. Celeste Young says:

    Waiting patiently for S. When can we expect this?

  4. Dennis Connor says:

    Hoping for S as well. The scans of those finished so far are beautiful! Keep up the great work!!

  5. Scott says:

    Far too slow, given that many of us helped fund this effort and have been waiting for a long time.

  6. hugh harrington says:

    This is nonsense. Far more records are NOT included than are available. fold3 is not what it says it is. Very disappointing. Clean up your act!

  7. Lucienne Pitcher says:

    It’s called MONEY and their priority. All the other wars come first now. 1812 just doesn’t matter any more. Been waiting for N-Z for several years. Considering the Battle of The River Raisin and the National Battlefield are here in Monroe (Frenchtown) we have had to stopped working on the history of the soldiers.

  8. Candi McCarthy Zizek says:

    I upgraded to Fold3 to improve my research options. Unfortunately, I am researching PERRY in Tioga County, NY-Chautaqua County NY. I am disappointed to say the least.

  9. James Price says:

    Fold is a big disappointment. Their data base should be merged with Ancestry.
    A subscription to Ancestry should give you access to the meager documents Fold provides.

    • JDC says:

      Agreed. Or perhaps when we mention Ancestry it is “A(ncestry) Greed”. Ancestry has the ultimate in no or low cost business models. They take free public records and aggregate them and sell the information.

      Then they offer up your personal records to other people as well, like photos, esp if you have a public tree. Even if you have info marked as private, you’re going to get messaged by folks who want access.

      Then they break up that free information into international and fold 3 to try to sucker you into signing up for them, promising great things.

      Although I have an Ancestry subscription and have had for a few years, eventually I will get to the level where I will download my file and cancel membership. Their search engine (in this day and age) is state of the art 1995. Put in a date for 1880 +- a year and you’ll get everything from 1600’s to yesterday.

  10. Dave Cantley says:

    Thanks for the input. I think I will save my money.

  11. dutch gilliland says:

    I think it is awful first, how much these sites charge to join especially when they don’t have as much as they want you to think.
    Second and most importantly, I am sp angry that Ancestor is gobbling up every helpful genealogical site they can, adding it to their huge “warehouse” where they hold all the leaves and branches of our family trees hostage.

    • Linda Cooper says:

      I agree with you about Ancestry taking over everything. I used to have sites I went to, especially a library site that was wonderful for census. After Ancestry took it over, it just goes to ancestry.

    • Alton Gayle Rogers says:

      Ancestry sells you a subscription and you think it covers everything ancestry has. NO. You have to pay again. they gouge you for another subscription even though I submitted my genealogy data to ancestry. I am skeptical of all pay subscription specially since ancestry is gobbling up everything.

    • Ancestor sucks. They don’t have anything on my ancestors. I tried and they SUCK period.

  12. Dawn King says:

    I agree with Dutch, even tho I paid for the information(membership) .. and saved it to the my site. In order to review it once membership has expired, your required to pay AGAIN to view what you had saved.. That is so wrong!!

  13. Tod says:

    Family Tree Maker does not hold your information hostage and it syncs nicely with Ancestory. Also local libraries have free acces to these pay for sites.

  14. Del Larocque says:

    Waiting for R and W. This decade long wait is TERRIBLE!!! SERIOUSLY…

  15. Elayne says:

    They should look at a telephone book. What letter has the most last names. Probably M or S. Those are the letters they should start with. Not necessarily go in alphabetical order. That would service the most people. And increase their staff.

  16. Jan says:

    Waiting for T. Trying to be patient…………but this stinks.

  17. Frieda Ticer says:

    My dad enlisted in the Navy in July 1917 from So.Texas. Where would he have trained before boarding his ship The U.S.S.Blackhawk?

  18. Elaine says:

    I’m lucky I’m a B. The files are fascinating and proud of my ancestor who fought and lived as full a life as possible with the severity of his injuries. I hope that soon you will finish the rest of the names for those who are still searching.

  19. Brenda says:

    Do you include the Vietnam War? I could get no info on that.

  20. Walter Lyle says:

    Was this person associated with the war of 1812?

  21. Walter Lyle says:

    Was he in the war of 1812?

    • Alton G. Rogers says:

      I have ancestors who fought in the War of 1812. Their names are Pentecost, Phillips and Rogers.

      Does your list cover these names. Is your data complete?

  22. Paul Wirick says:

    Looking for Wiricks in war of 1812 and revoluition.

  23. Jean F Sutley says:

    UNSUBSCRIBE ME——-did not ask for this.

  24. Dawn Jones says:

    My mother whom now heart past & her husband but when he came back from world war 2 he was mentally ill. My mother tried to get a war PENSION for her & my 2 sisters.
    But was refused unless her husband whom returned a very sick man .
    shell shocked & was having electric shock treatment .
    And therefore he didn’t know who my mother & my sisters where he was incable off signing any thing . l ,m not sure of the time but he was released from care . It was not to long after his release that he committed suicide. So l ask how does the government or whom ever says
    Yes or NO to get a war PENSION for her & 2 children .Is there anything my Sisters can do
    to receive any compensation for this unjust decision apart from the lose of their father.?
    I am very angry that this man went to WAR come back unfixable gave his life & his family still
    Played for his lose after his death! SHAME on the authority’s for this unbelievable injustice.

    • Alton Rogers says:

      I had an uncle who fought in the Pacific in the Infantry. He also had the same problem. In the late 40s early 50s we took him to the VA Hospital in Houston. He had a spell while at the VA. The doctor was oriental which set him off. They refused to treat him. He has since passed away.
      I now go to the Houston VA Satalite and they are much improved.

  25. Lu says:

    My ancestor’s surname starts with an H. He was a Captain and his own pension file has over 80 pages of very interesting information. He was injured and suffered the rest of his life due to his injury, which I had not known before. He also appears in other’s files as he was giving testimony for them.

    If your ancestor was an officer or surgeon and you cannot find their files yet, you might find them mentioned in files of others who served with them. Also, you might try searching for the files of their commanding officers if you wish to know details of the battles or engagements they were involved in.

    Like Elaine mentioned above, I hope that soon you will finish the rest of the names for those who are still searching. Best of luck to my fellow genealogists!

  26. Alaini says:

    I couldn’t help but read some of the comments. If you want the data in fast people help to index files of the ancestry sites like they all have a need for this. I’ve done it for family tree ancestry Washington digital archives. There are so many files that need to be digitized. They will be done faster if more people volunteer some time. You also learn about records this way and what’s out there.