by Delia

The War of 1812 seems to be a forgotten period in our nation’s history. It doesn’t have the single-minded goal of independence that the American Revolution had, nor did it have as many participants, as did the Civil War. It’s buried between the two wars, and to many people, may seem rather vague – something about not letting the British take American sailors, or something.

It was, of course, much more important than many realize, cementing America’s solidarity and freedom, laying the groundwork for Texas’s war for liberation and the war with Mexico that followed a decade later. The soldiers of the War of 1812 were the second generation of leaders and pioneers of this country, people and families that existed in a time where information may be scarce.

The pension for those soldiers, applied for and granted many decades later, may offer the keys to unlocking family mysteries. Until now, those pensions were decaying files in the National Archives in Washington, D.C., accessible only in person or by mail.

Thanks to the combined efforts led by the Federation of Genealogical Societies, and supported by many genealogical focused companies, such as Ancestry and Fold3, these pensions are being digitized and made available FOR FREE! FOREVER! Anyone may search, browse, read, download and print these records from the Fold3 website at no charge. As of this writing, pensions by state or service are available through surnames that begin with the letters A through J, and their efforts continue on a daily basis.

These efforts are supported by the genealogical community and fueled by the interest of you and other genealogists. Every dollar that is donated will be matched by Ancestry.com. This means that every dollar you donate becomes two for the Preserve the Pensions program. There are still more than half the files left to preserve and digitize. Take a moment to visit the Preserve the Pensions website and donate to this worthy cause. Preserve the Pensions! Make them Free! Forever!