July 4th. Independence Day. The day means more than sales, picnics, and fireworks. It's the day we celebrate our great nation's freedom, gained through a war from 1776 to 1783. But we often forget the Second War of American Independence, also known as the War of 1812, which was fought to convince Great Britain that, yes, they really could not impede our trade or force our citizens to fight their battles.
Much attention has been paid to the Revolutionary War veterans and the records generated by that war, but the War of 1812 often falls through the cracks in history. Although an index to the pension records of the soldiers who fought in that conflict has been available on microfilm for many years, and is even online at Ancestry.com
, to obtain the actual pension records, one had to send to the National Archives and Records Service
for copies. Meanwhile, the documents have been quickly deteriorating and fading. The Federation of Genealogical Societies
is spearheading Preserve the Pensions
to digitize and preserve these records and make them available for research. And Ancestry.com
is providing matching funds: Every dollar donated by you will be matched by Ancestry.com! And Preserve the Pensions
is just the first step to digitizing other important military records from the Civil War, World War I and World War II.