Tuesday, April 3, 2012

GENEALOGICAL RECORDS OF THE WAR OF 1812, PART III

11. Bounty land records
12. Pension papers & pensioner lists
13. Military censuses
14. Casualty & burial lists
15. Hereditary & lineage society records

Bounty Land Records. War of 1812 volunteers who met certain conditions regarding length and character of service were entitled to federal bounty lands. Most veterans received grants of 40-160 acres, although a special act of Congress passed in 1814 doubled the acreage allotted to 320. War of 1812 bounty land acts passed prior to 1850 allotted land only to enlisted men, not to officers. Until 1842, the land awarded to War of 1812 veterans lay in special military districts within the present-day states of Illinois, Arkansas, and Missouri. After 1842, War of 1812 veterans could claim any unrestricted public domain land with their bounty land warrants. Before 1852, War of 1812 bounty land warrants could not be legally assigned to a second party [although many veterans circumvented this law by signing a power of attorney which allowed the transfer of the warrant to another person]. Bounty land application files typically provide the veteran's name, age, military unit, place of residence, term of service and, if applicable, the name of the veteran's widow or heir. These files [War of 1812 Bounty Land Warrants, 1815-1858, M848- 14 rolls] are indexed on roll no. 1 for assignees in the Arkansas and Missouri military districts. Other listings are in roughly alphabetical order. The Missouri and Illinois State Archives websites indexes to land records include many War of 1812 bounty land assignees:

Missouri Land Patents
Illinois Land Patents

Pension Papers & Pensioners' Lists. Prior to 1871, only disabled War of 1812 volunteer soldiers [or the widows or orphans of soldiers killed in action or disabled during the war] received federal pensions for War of 1812 service. A law passed in 1871 provided a pension for any surviving War of 1812 volunteer soldiers who had served 60 days or more, and provided a pension for widows of War of 1812 volunteer soldiers who had married their spouses in 1815 or earlier. A second law passed in 1878 reduced the term of service requirement to either 14 days continuous service or participation in a battle or skirmish.

Pensions for War of 1812 soldiers can be listed in either of two NARA microfilm sets. The first, Index to Old Wars Pension Files [NARA series T316, 7 rolls], covers pensions granted to veterans [or widows] of the Army, Navy, or Marine Corps who died in service or were disabled during the period 1784-1861. The second, Index to War of 1812 Pension Application Files [NARA series M313, 102 rolls], covers those War of 1812 veterans and their survivors who were granted pensions based on the acts of 1871 and 1878. The actual pension files covered by these indexes are available from NARA. You can also check to see if the subscription services, Fold3 or Ancestry.com, have digitized the pension record of interest:

Ancestry.com
Fold3.com

Persons checking for a War of 1812 pension record may also wish to consult a book set called Index to War of 1812 Pension Files by Virgil D. White. There are several book sets which list persons in the United States were receiving federal military pensions during the following years: 1818, 1820, 1835, and 1883. There are also books which list only pensioners from certain states, including Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, and Virginia [all of the above-named books and book sets are owned by St. Louis Public Library- see bibliography in Part IV for details].

Military Censuses. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, several states compiled lists of veterans of various wars residing in that state in a given year. St. Louis Public Library owns such registers for Iowa [1886] and Nebraska [1893, 1897, and 1915- see bibliography in Part IV for details].

You can also check to see if the subscription services, Fold3 or Ancestry.com, have digitized the military census of interest:

Ancestry.com
Fold3.com

Casualty & Burial Records. The burial place of a War of 1812 soldier can be discovered in a number of ways. If you know his religion and the county he lived in, finding his grave may be a relatively simple matter of checking cemetery books published for that county. Veterans of various wars are often mentioned in "Goodspeed" type county histories of the 1880s and 1890s [St. Louis Public Library owns many books of these sorts for numerous counties in Missouri and in many states east of the Mississippi River- see our catalog for details: http://www.slpl.org There can even be a biographical sketch of the veteran in a county history, which may list date of death and place of burial.

If the veteran or his widow collected a pension based on his War of 1812 service, the pension file often includes a notice of his death which may state his burial place. A will or estate record in the office of the Circuit Clerk in the county where the veteran died may also provide information of interest about the veteran, including possibly his date of death and place of burial.

You can also check to see if the subscription services, Fold3 or Ancestry.com, have digitized a source containing the record of a burial of interest:

Ancestry.com
Fold3.com

Some state archives maintain lists of veterans buried in that state. The Illinois State Archives has an online database called "Database of the 1929 Roll of Honor, " which can be accessed here:

Database of 1929 Roll of Honor

The Roll of Honor was the product of a survey made of Illinois cemeteries in 1929 which recorded the graves of veterans of America's wars up to that point in time. The Roll of Honor was published at that time as a book set. The online version can be searched by name of the veteran.

St. Louis Public Library also owns a book which lists War of 1812 veterans buried in Tennessee [see bibliography in Part IV for details].

Hereditary & Lineage Society Records. Societies of this sort seek members who have an ancestor who was a War of 1812 soldier, sailor, or marine. Members had to submit proofs that their ancestor was a War of 1812 veteran, and proof that they are in fact descended from that veteran. If the society allows public access to its files, such files can be gold mines for persons seeking information on a War of 1812 ancestor. St. Louis Public Library owns a number of books which list members of such societies and the ancestors they used to gain admittance to the society [see bibliography in Part IV for details].

You can also check to see if the subscription services, Fold3 or Ancestry.com, have digitized a source containing heritage/lineage society records of interest:

Ancestry.com
Fold3.com

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