United States, War of 1812 Index to Pension Application Files (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.
Access the records: United States, War of 1812 Index to Pension Application Files, 1812-1910 .

Record Description

This is an index to pension applications which corresponds to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) publication M313. It covers the years from 1812 to 1910 and is arranged alphabetically by veteran's name.

The images are the face side of the file jackets. Most of the files are for veterans and their widows who were on the pension rolls in the 1870s and 1880s. The last pensioned veteran died in 1905. Widows continued to receive pensions after that date.

Histoical Information About These Records

The War of 1812 was fought between the United States and the British Empire, including Great Britain, Canada, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland. The Treaty of Ghent, which became effective on February 18, 1815, ended the war. With the signing of the treaty the U.S. and Britain recognized the pre-war boundaries between the United States and Canada, and gave the United States fishing rights to the Gulf of St. Lawrence. 

Citation for This Collection

The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Record collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.

Veterans Administration. "United States, Index to War of 1812 Pension Application Files." NARA microfilm publication M313. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. : n.d.

Suggested citation format for a record in this collection.

Record Content

Genealogical information found in these records varies greatly depending on the type of service rendered. However the following key facts are usually found in the records:

The record documents individuals who fought in the War of 1812.

These records are generally reliable.

  • Name of soldier
  • Name of widow
  • Military unit in which served
  • Date of enlistment and discharge date
  • Birth date of soldier
  • Marriage date of soldier and widow
  • Maiden name of widow
  • Death date of soldier
  • Death date of widow
  • Discharge Papers
  • Other Supporting Papers

The section of the Index of 1812 pension application cards that reads “Service” may often include the rank of the solider followed by the name of the unit that he was assigned to. That may be confusing because the units are named after commanding officers.

How to Use the Record

To search the collection, select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page ⇒ Select the “DGS Film Number” which takes you to the images.

Look at the images one by one comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination.

To search for your ancestors in the index you will need to know their full names. Check the index for the surname and then the given name. If you are having difficulty finding your ancestor, look for variations in the spelling of the name. If your ancestor used an alias or a nickname, be sure to check for those alternate names. Remember that these indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.

Compare the information in the record to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct person. You may need to compare the information of more than one person to make this determination.

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family. This information will often lead you to other records.

For example:

  • Death dates may lead to death certificates, mortuary, or burial records.
  • Use the age to calculate an approximate birth date.
  • Use the birth date or age along with the residence or place of birth of the deceased to locate census, church, and land records.

You may also find these search tips helpful:

  • Compile the entries for every person who has the same surname as the deceased; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual.
  • Continue to search the records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives who may have been seeking the pension.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.

For more information see the wiki article: Steps for research in United States Military Records.

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Contributions To This Article

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.

Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.

A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the wiki article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections

Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection

"United States, War of 1812 Index to Pension Application Files, 1812-1910" index and images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org : accessed 02 Aug 2012), Stephen Easton; citing Military Records, FHL microfilm 840482; National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., United States.

"United States, War of 1812 Index to Pension Application Files, 1812-1910", index and images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org: accessed 2August 2012),0046257467 > image 900 of 928, Seth W. Porter, widow Cynthia Porter; citing Military Records, FHL microfilm 840482; National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., United States.