US War of 1812 Pension Records
Pensions were first granted to soldiers who were disabled while in the service and to heirs of soldiers who died during the war. The first pension acts based on service were not passed until 1871 and a second was passed in 1878.
To locate War of 1812 pension records
United States, War of 1812 Index to Pension Application Files, 1812-1910. and Description of database.FamilySearch (Free). Digital images of these record cards may contain name of soldier and spouse, military unit, enlistment and discharge dates, bounty land warrant number, residency of soldier and widow, marriage date and place, and death of soldier and widow. Also available through Indiana Society of War of 1812 (Free) and at Ancestry.com ($).
To access the actual pension file
The documents included in each file shown in the index have not been microfilmed. In order to obtain the original pension files you must write the National Archives.
- 1. Go to Fold3. Though this project is not complete, the entire pension file for those digitized is accessible. iArchives and the Federation of Genealogical Societies are responsible for this digitization project. (Free). The current digitization progress can be checked on the Fold3 website.
- 2. Go to National Archives for Pension files not currently available in digital form.
To order copies from National Archives
In order to obtain the original pension files you must write the National Archives. National Archives' copies of military pension application files based on Federal (not State) service between 1775 and 1903 (before World War I) can be ordered by mail (NATF Form 85) or ordered online.
The files may contain any of the following information:
- Personal account of war experiences
- Reasons why an individual joined the war effort
- Company, rank, duties
- Dates served
- Companions with whom served
- Officers under whom served
- Depositions from neighbors and friends authenticating the testimony of an individual or affirming his character
- Age at time of enlistment or time of filing application
- Residence(s) since the war
- Date of marriage (especially if widow filed for pension)
- Dates of birth and names of children
- Pertinent medical information and/or physicians' statements
Examples of the documents are found on the following pages:
Categories of War of 1812 pension files available using NATF Form 85:
- A complete Federal pre-Civil War military pension application based on Federal military service before 1861 (includes the Pension Documents Packet.)
- A partial Pension Document Packet that contains reproductions of eight documents containing genealogical information about the pension applicant, to the extent these documents are present in the file.
Other Indexes to War of 1812 Pension Records
- Index to War of 1812 Pension Application Files . Searcheable Family History Library films 840431–500. This lists the soldier's name and often the name of his wife. Also locatable at 847501–32; Worldcat
- United States Veterans Administration. Index to War of 1812 Pension Application Files. (Washington, DC: National Archives, 1960). This index may have name of soldier, dates of enlistment and discharge, pension and bounty land numbers, residence of soldier or widow, maiden name of widow, date and place of marriage, date and death place of soldier, date of death of widow. National Archives Microfilm Publication M313. On 102 FHL films beginning with FHL film 840431
- White, Virgil D., transcriber. Index to War of 1812 Pension Files. Two volumes.(Waynesboro, Tennessee, National Historical Publishing Company, 1992). This index is arranged alphabetically. Applications are based on service between 1812 and 1815. Also listed in the index are the Bounty Land Warrants for which no pension application was made. There is a cross-reference to the wives, widows and other family members. Transcribed from the National Archives microfilms. FHL book 973 M22i 1992
- White, Virgil D., transcriber. Index to Old Wars Pension Files, 1815-1926. (Waynesboro, Tennessee: National Historical Publishing, c1993). FHL book 973 M22wh; Worldcat.
- List of Widows receiving pensions, War of 1812
- Fold3, War of 1812 Pension Files ($) Alphabetical by surname. Shows entire pension file for those digitized. Incomplete as of 20 Aug 2016.
- United States Ledgers of payments, 1818-1872, to U.S. pensioners, under Acts of 1818 through 1858, from records of the office of the Third Auditor of the Treasury Includes Revolutionary War pensioners and invalid pensioners of War of 1812 under act of 1818.
- Cyndi's List, 1820 Pension List for Revolutionary or Military Services January 20, 1820,The 1820 pension list is a report of the names, rank and line of every person placed on the pension list in pursuance of the act of the 18th March, 1818.
1840 Census of Pensioners
- Cyndi's List, 1840 Census of Pensioners for Revolutionary or Military Services
June 1, 1840, 1840 Census of Pensioners for Revolutionary and Military Service as returned under the act for taking the sixth census.
1883 Pension Roll
The 1883 Pension Roll is available online. On December 8, 1882, the U.S. Senate required the Secretary of Interior to submit a list of pensioners on the roll January 1, 1883. The Secretary of Interior submitted the completed list to the Senate on March 1, 1883. The 1883 Pension Roll was published that year in five volumes as "List of Pensioners on the Roll, January 1, 1883...". The majority of pensioners listed were from the Civil War. However, there were pensioners from other wars, including the War of 1812.
- War of 1812 Discharge Certificates by name.
- The Society of the War of 1812 in the State of Indiana. War of 1812 Pension Application Index. (Free). The index consists of links to alphabetical groupings of surnames (which includes all states but is not sorted by state) that connect to digital images of Pension Cards at Internet Archives. (Free). Further indexing by name of soldier is in progress. Individual record cards may contain name of soldier and spouse, military unit, enlistment and discharge dates, bounty land warrant number, residency of soldier and widow, marriage date and place, and death of soldier and widow. (Accessed 10 June 2012).
- Military Records: Pre-WWI Pension Applications (16 minute online video)
- United States. Pension Bureau. List of Pensioners on the Roll January 1, 1883: giving the name of each pensioner, the cause for which pensioned, the post-office address, the rate of pension per month, and the date of original allowance, as called for by Senate resolution of December 8, 1882, Volume One. Washington, Government Printing Office, 1883.