Beginning War of 1812 Research

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War of 1812 Northern Theatre

Researching your War of 1812 Soldier[edit | edit source]

Use the following steps to help you find information about your War of 1812 ancestor.

Step 1. Identify an ancestor who may have served in the War of 1812[edit | edit source]

Look at your ancestors' information to determine which match the following criteria:

- Ages: Most soldiers and sailors were men between the ages of 18 and 30, so they would have been born between 1782 and 1796. Some were as young as 10 or as old as 70, which widens the birth years to between 1742 and 1804.

- Location: Most soldiers and sailors were men from Britain, Canada, or the United States.
Canada - Most soldiers came from Ontario.
  • War of 1812 Records - Guide to Canada in the War of 1812 listing sources and information about how to find your Canadian ancestor who served

Great Britain - Most soldiers were regular troops, so they could have come from anywhere in the British Isles, though the majority were from England.
United States - Soldiers came from all the states in existence at that time.
(18 states and 5 territories and District of Columbia)
States= Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts (including Maine), New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia
Territories= Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri.

Step 2. Identify the location where your ancestor lived around 1812[edit | edit source]

If you do not know where your ancestor lived at the start of the war, check the following:

Canada[edit | edit source]

Use these databases and record types to try to determine an exact town in Canada your ancestor lived before and during the War of 1812. The more information you know about your ancestor, the better chance of narrowing down your ancestor in the military records.

Great Britain[edit | edit source]

See the Wiki article, England, for ways to find more information about men who fought in the War of 1812.

United States[edit | edit source]
  • The 1810 federal census for the soldier or his family. The following have digital versions of the 1810 census:
- FamilySearch (Free) United States Census, 1810
- Ancestry ($) 1810 United States Federal Census

  • The 1820 federal census for the soldier or his family.  The following have digital versions of the 1820 census:
- Family Search (Free) United States Federal 1820 Census
- Ancestry ($) 1820 United States Federal Census

Step 3. Find your soldier's regiment and company[edit | edit source]

Your soldier's regiment and company are often needed to find his records and to recognize him in the records.

  • The War of 1812 Website gives detailed information for the British/Canadian regiments which fought in the war of 1812. This website is comprehensive and should help you find which regiment you are looking for.
Canada[edit | edit source]

Use these collections to see if you can locate your ancestor:

Great Britain[edit | edit source]
United States[edit | edit source]
  • NARA, War of 1812 Discharge Certificates
-Appendix II: List of Company/Detachment Commanders gives name, rank, and regiment.
-Appendix III: List of Soldiers by Name gives name, year, regiment, and company.
These do not list every commander or soldier, but it is a great place to check.
  • United States, War of 1812 Index to Service Records, 1812-1815 at - This is a browsable name index to compiled military service records of volunteer soldiers who served in the War of 1812. The files are located in the National Archives in Washington D.C. This collection is a part of RG 94, Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1780's-1917 and is National Archive Microfilm Publication M602.
  • United States, War of 1812 Index to Pension Application Files, 1812-1910 at - Name index and images of the jacket-envelope that contains the pension application files located in the National Archives. The envelope will provide soldier name and military service information as well as widow name and pension and bounty land numbers. This collection is part of Record Group 15 Records of the Veterans Administration and is National Archives Microfilm publication M313.
U.S. Regiments[edit | edit source]

For those serving in the U.S. infantries, you can determine what state the men lived in when they enlisted by going to the list of infantry units found on the United States War of 1812 Infantry Units Wiki page.

Decide what else you want to find.[edit | edit source]

Focus your research by deciding to find just one or two things, such as age, death date and place, pension record, or service record.

The chart, US Military Record Finder, shows which type of record has the various types of information you may want to find.

U.S. Troops in the War of 1812[edit | edit source]

State Troops[edit | edit source]

Many additional records have been created either by the state or about the state. Click the state of interest below to see explanations of these records and for links to pages about the each of the state's military units.

 Additional States with War of 1812 Records[edit | edit source]

Regular Troops[edit | edit source]

These troops were supported solely by the federal government rather than partly by a state. The men came from many states, but the troops were not organized by state.

Navy[edit | edit source]

Ethnic Groups[edit | edit source]

French Canadians[edit | edit source]

African - American[edit | edit source]

Native Americans and First Nations[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Encyclopedia of the War of 1812.