By Dawne

Two hundred years ago hundred years ago next month – on August 24, 1814, the British burned Washington, D.C., during the War of 1812. The centennial of this sometimes-forgotten war is being recognized throughout the end of this year. One ongoing project that is significant for genealogists is the Preserve the Pensions Project spearheaded by the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS).

FGS and its partners are raising money to digitize the 7.2 million pages of War of 1812 pension files that are among the most-requested record types at the National Archives research facility in Washington, D.C. These records are in danger of deterioration. Once digitized, the records will be freely accessible to everyone. As the images are scanned, they are being uploaded to the Fold3 website.

Ancestry.com, as one of FGS’s partners in the Preserve the Pensions Project, has offered to pay for half of the total cost of digitizing the record collection. Toward this end, Ancestry is matching every donation from an individual or society. Pages cost 45 cents each to digitize, so a donation of $45 will preserve 100 images. Counting the Ancestry match, 200 pages will be digitized for a donation of $45.

Contributors can make their donations in the name of an ancestor and donations are tax deductible. For more information and to make a donation to this worthwhile project, visit Preserve the Pensions website.