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