Beginning War of 1812 Research

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War of 1812 Northern Theatre


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

Determine What You Want to Find[edit | edit source]

The most common records for soldiers are service records and pension records.

Information supplied by military records for the War of 1812 may include:

  • Age at service
  • Death date and place
  • Wife and children of soldier
  • Location of service and battles fought in
  • Place of enlistment

The chart, US Military Record Finder, shows which type of record has the various types of information you may want to find. Use the following steps to help you find information about your War of 1812 ancestor.

Most soldiers and sailors who served in the War of 1812 were men from Canada, Great Britain, or the United States.

  • The War of 1812 Website gives detailed information for the history of the war and the countries involved in the battles.

What Country did they Serve From?[edit | edit source]

Choose the Country your Ancestor lived in from this list:

Soldiers Serving from Canada[edit | edit source]

Canada flag.png

Step 1: Identify Where your Ancestor Lived in Canada During 1812-1815[edit | edit source]



Step 2. Find your Soldier's Regiment and Company[edit | edit source]

  • 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.

If it's possible your ancestor may have served in the War of 1812, check these databases to see if you can find proof of service:

Service Records[edit | edit source]

Pension Records[edit | edit source]

Misc. Records[edit | edit source]





Soldiers Serving from Great Britain[edit | edit source]

Flag of the United Kingdom.png

Step 1: Identify Where your Ancestor Lived in Great Britain During 1812-1815[edit | edit source]

  • Great Britain - Most soldiers were regular troops, so they could have come from anywhere in the British Isles, though the majority were from England.



Step 2. Find your Soldier's Regiment and Company[edit | edit source]

  • British and Canadian Regiments: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.

Service Records[edit | edit source]

Pension Records[edit | edit source]

Misc. Records[edit | edit source]





Soldiers Serving from United States[edit | edit source]

United States flag.png

Step 1: Identify Where your Ancestor Lived in the United States During 1812-1815[edit | edit source]

  • 1820 Census: Search for the soldier and his family in the 1820 Federal census to determine where he was living after the War.



Step 2. Find a Possible Match for your Soldier in the Records[edit | edit source]

  • All soldiers who served in the War of 1812 will be recorded in service records.
  • There are different indexes for different branches of military service. See below for the indexes.
  • Unless you know the regiment of your soldier, search each index for any possible match.
  • Compiled service records for Volunteers for the United States and state militias are not online and must be ordered from the National Archives.
  • Some service records for other branches of services are online.
  • Locate your ancestor in each record:


Service Records[edit | edit source]

Information included: abstracts taken from muster rolls, returns, pay vouchers that include references to wounds, hospitalization, absence from the unit, courts-martial, and death.

Volunteers - State Militia and U.S. Regiments
Indexes:
Records: Records are not online and must be ordered from NARA (except for Mississippi) - How to Order


Army
Indexes and Records:


Marines
Indexes and Records:


Navy
Indexes and Records: Muster and Payrolls, 1798–1939, RG 45 from NARA is not online and search must be ordered from NARA - How to Order


Pension Records - All U.S. and State Military Branches[edit | edit source]

Information included: Regiment, company, rank, duties, dates served, wife or widow's name and marriage information, children's birth dates and places, details about service, medical information

Volunteers - State Militia and U.S. Regiments
Indexes:
Records:



Bounty Land Warrants - All U.S. and State Military Branches[edit | edit source]

Information included: Rank, company, regiment, date of warrant, date land was located, details on land and where it is located, state where land was located, possibly information widow and children, to whom the warrant was sold or assigned

Bounty Land Warrant Applications - Accepted
Index and Files: U.S., War Bounty Land Warrants, 1789-1858 at Ancestry ($)
Bounty Land Warrant Applications - Cancelled
Partially indexed:* Bounty-Land Warrant Applications Index - Cancelled at Fold3; partial index: Surnames A to Kim; (Free collection)
Records: Order from NARA ($)

*A search can be requested of the complete index by contacting the National Archives.

Step 3 - Resolve Multiple Matches[edit | edit source]

If you cannot tell if the soldier you found in the service records is your ancestor, you will want to do the following:

  • Pensions Records: Check again to see if there is a pension or a bounty land warrant application (accepted or cancelled) for the soldier you found. Not all soldiers received a pension, but if pensions were applied for these records give the most genealogical information on a veteran.
  • Order the Service Records from the National Archives (NARA): Almost all service records for War of 1812 soldiers are only available by ordering a reproduction from the National Archives. The service record may include the place of enlistment which can be compared to the location of your ancestor's known residence before joining the military. How to Order Records from NARA
  • Regiments for United States Volunteers: For U.S. troops that were supported solely by the federal government rather than partly by a state, determine what state the regiments were raised from. Choose from the list below the military branch your ancestor served with. On that Wiki page, locate the regiment the soldier was with; this should give a list of states providing the soldiers for that regiment.
  • Regiments from a State Militia: Even though the service records are not online, there are sometimes records at state archives and other repositories that may have information about enlistment or dates regarding service for a soldier. Choose the state below where the soldier served and use the online resources on the page to look for more information.