|Genealogical Records of the War of 1812: an Introduction and Selected Bibliography of Materials in the Collection of St. Louis Public Library|
|Part I. Genealogical Records of the War of 1812: an
1. Compiled Military Service Records (CMSRs) were compiled by government clerks from original muster rolls, pay rolls, etc. They cover soldiers who volunteered for duty in various military organizations raised by the states. Volunteer soldiers in the War of 1812 could enlist for a bewildering variety of terms of service: 30, 60, or 90 days; and 3, 6, or 12 months. It is quite possible, therefore, for a War of 1812 soldier to have served in more than one military organization during the war (and there will be a different CMSR for each military unit in which the veteran served). CMSRs were recorded on cards, which are kept in jackets at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Washington, D.C. Most War of 1812 CMSRs have not been microfilmed. An exception is the CMSRs for the state of Mississippi, which are available in a 22-roll microfilm set (NARA series M678). The rolls in this set are organized by regiment and then alphabetically. CMSRs for volunteer 1812 soldiers from other states have not been microfilmed, and so must be requested from NARA (see the bibliography which provides a list of materials owned by St. Louis Public Library- materials we don't own can usually be ordered for cardholders through Interlibrary Loan).
2. Indexes to Compiled Service Records are available on microfilm and in book format. Listings are alphabetical by surname, and include name, rank, and unit or units in which the man served.
3. Muster Rolls & Adjutant-General Records. In addition to the compiled service records maintained by NARA, the offices of state adjutant-generals and state archives sometimes maintain additional records pertaining to War of 1812 volunteer soldiers from that state. Registers in book and/or electronic format exist for these states: Connecticut; Delaware; Georgia; Illinois; Indiana; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maryland; Massachusetts; Mississippi; New Jersey; New York; North Carolina; Ohio; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; Tennessee; Vermont; and Virginia.
4. Enlistment Records. Some men enlisted in the United States Army, Navy, or Marine Corps, rather than in a volunteer military organization raised by a state. Records of Army enlistments are available on a microfilm set, Registers of Enlistments in the U.S. Army, 1789-1914 (NARA series M233- 47 reels). There are also registers in book form of 19th century U.S. Army, Navy, and Marine Corps officers.
5. Pay and Account Books. Pay and account books for various volunteer military organizations are often in the collection of state archives or historical societies. These records are sometimes reprinted in books or periodicals.
6. Regimental and County Histories. Histories in book form exist for some state and U.S. regiments that served in the War of 1812. Adjutant-general registers for the various states usually provide a brief history of a regiment and a roster. There are also histories in book form for some regiments. County histories often include lists of soldiers from that county who participated in various wars, including the War of 1812. County histories also often contain biographical sketches of important persons from that county, including businessmen, clergymen, politicians, and veterans of early wars of the United States.
7. Lists of Impressed Seamen. One of the factors contributing to the outbreak of the War of 1812 was the involuntary impressment of American sailors and merchant seamen by British press gangs. Two NARA microfilm publications contain lists of impressed seamen: Registers of Applications for the Release of Impressed Seamen, 1793-1802, and Related Indexes (NARA Series M2025- 1 roll); and Miscellaneous Lists and Papers Regarding Impressed Seamen, 1796-1814 (NARA Series M1839- 1 roll).
8. Records of Prisoners of War, Enemy Aliens, and Privateers. A War of 1812 soldier's Compiled Military Service Record may indicate that he was a prisoner of war during his time in the military. The microfilm set "War of 1812 Papers" of the Department of State, 1789-1815 (NARA series M588- 7 rolls) includes material on War of 1812 prisoners of war and on the registration of enemy aliens (British citizens living in the United States during the War of 1812). Set contents include: Roll 1- "Letters Concerning Letters of Marque and Enemy Aliens, 1812-1814"; Roll 2- "U.S. Marshal's Returns of Enemy Aliens and Prisoners of War, 1812-1815 (Part I)"; Roll 3- "U.S. Marshal's Returns of Enemy Aliens and Prisoners of War, 1812-1815 (Part II)"; Roll 4- "Requests for Permission to Sail From the U.S., and Passenger Lists of Outgoing Vessels, 1812-1814"; Roll 5- "Correspondence Regarding Passports, 1812-1814"; Roll 6- "Agreements for Exchange of Prisoners of War, 1812-1813 & Miscellaneous Letters Received Concerning Prisoners of War, 1812-1815"; and Roll 7- "Miscellaneous Intercepted Correspondence, 1798-1814".
9. Courts-martial Records. A War of 1812 soldier's Compiled Military Service Record may indicate that he was subject to a courts-martial during his time in the military. Proceedings of general courts-martial against both regular and volunteer War of 1812 soldiers are located in the Records of the Judge Advocate General (NARA Record Group 153). Proceedings of general courts-martial against War of 1812 sailors and marines can be found in the Records of the General Courts-Martial and Courts of Inquiry of the Navy Department, 1799-1867 (NARA series M273- 198 rolls).
10. Discharge Papers. Discharge papers for a War of 1812 veteran of the U.S. Army, Navy, or Marine Corps can sometimes be found in his bounty land application file. The Records of the Adjutant General's Office (NARA Record Group 94) include some surgeons' certificates of disability issued to regular army soldiers during the War of 1812 (not microfilmed).
11. Bounty Land Recipients. 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, however, not to officers. Also, until 1842 the bounty 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 that 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, NARA Series 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.
12. Registers of Pensioners. 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 have not been microfilmed, and so are available only from NARA.
Persons checking for a War of 1812 pension record may wish to begin with a book set called Index to War of 1812 Pension Files by Virgil D. White. There are also several book sets that list persons in the United States who were receiving federal military pensions in 1818, 1820, 1835, and 1883, and books that list only pensioners from certain states, including Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, and Virginia.
13. Registers of Veterans. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, several states compiled registers of resident veterans. States that produced such registers include Iowa (1886) and Nebraska (1893, 1897, and 1915).
14. Casualty and 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 registers 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 for many states east of the Mississippi River- see our catalog for details). A biographical sketch which may list date of death and place of burial is also sometimes available.
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.
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, " then click "Search Our Online Databases"). The Roll of Honor was the product of a survey of Illinois cemeteries conducted in 1929 that recorded the graves of veterans. The Roll of Honor was published at that time as a book set (it was later updated in the 1950s). The online version can be searched using surname of the veteran as search term.
15. Hereditary and Lineage Society Records. Societies of this sort admit members who have an ancestor who was a War of 1812 soldier, sailor, or marine. Persons seeking membership have to submit proofs that their ancestors were War of 1812 veterans, and proofs 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.
Part II. Genealogical Records of the War of 1812: a Selected Bibliography of Materials in the Collection of St. Louis Public Library Military Records and Pension Laws: General
1. Mayo, Robert. Army and Navy Pension Laws, and Bounty Land Laws of the United States Including Sundry Resolutions of Congress from 1776-1852. Washington, D.C.: J. T. Towers, 1852. (Central-ST 355.115)
2. Neagle, James C. U.S. Military Records: a Guide to Federal and State Sources, Colonial America to the Present. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1994. (Central-HG 929.30973)
3. Raff, George W. The War Claimants Guide: a Manual of Laws, Regulations, Instructions, Forms, and Official Decisions, Relating to Pensions, Bounty Pay, Prize Money. Cincinnati: R. Clark, 1866. (Central-ST 336.73)
Registers of Soldiers
4. Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served During the War of 1812. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. 234 reels. (Central-MI 973.74)
5. Registers of Enlistments in the U.S. Army, 1798-1914. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. 47 reels. (Central-MI 973)
6. Butler, Stuart Lee. A Guide to Virginia Militia Units in the War of 1812. Athens, GA: Iberian Publishing Co., 1988. (Central-HG 973.52455)
7. Callahan, Edward William. List of Officers of the Navy of the United States and of the Marine Corps from 1775 to 1900; comprising a complete register of all present and former commissioned, warranted, and appointed officers of the United States Navy and of the Marine Corps, regular and volunteer. Compiled from the official records of the Navy Dept. New York: Haskell House, 1969. (Central-HG 353.7)
8. Coles, Harry Lewis. The War of 1812. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1965. (Central-ST 973.5)
9. Gandrud, Pauline Myra Jones. Alabama Soldiers : Revolution, War of 1812, and Indian Wars. Hot Springs National Park, AR: B. J. McLane & P. J. Gandrud, 1975-1992, 15 vols. (Central-HG, ST 929.3761)
10. Gardner, Charles K. A Dictionary of All Officers, Who Have Been Commissioned, or Have Been Appointed and Served, in the Army of the United States, Since the Inauguration of Their First President in 1789, to the First of January, 1853 -- with every commission of each -- including the distinguished officers of the volunteers and militia of the states, and of the navy and marine corps, who have served with the land forces. New York : G. P. Putnam and Company, 1853. (Centrall-ST 353.6)
11. Hamersly, Thomas Holdup Stevens. Complete general navy register of the United States of America from 1776 to 1887 arranged in alphabetical order; containing the names of all officers of the navy, volunteer and regular, who have entered the service from the time of the Revolutionary War to the present time (1776-1887), containing the official record of each officer as on file at the Navy Department, showing the dates of their original entry, of their progressive rank, and in what manner they left the service, if not now in it. New York: T. H. S. Hamersly, publisher, 1888. (Central-ST 353.7)
12. Huntsberry, Thomas Vincent and Joanne M. Huntsberry. Maryland Privateers, War of 1812. Baltimore, MD : J. Mart, 1983. (Central-HG 973.525)
13. Huntsberry, Thomas Vincent and Joanne M. Huntsberry. Western Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia Militia in defense of Maryland, 1805 to 1815. Baltimore, MD: T. V. Huntsberry, 1983. (Central-HG 973.52452)
14. Irving, L. Homfray. Officers of the British Forces in Canada During the War of 1812-15. Welland, Ontario, Canada: Welland Tribune Printers, 1908. (Central-ST 973.5)
15. Kentucky. Adjutant-General's Office. Kentucky Soldiers of the War of 1812 . Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1969. (Central-HG 973.524)
Originally published in 1891 under title: Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Kentucky: Soldiers of the War of 1812, with an added index compiled by Minnie S. Wilder, 1931, and a new introduction by G. Glenn Clift.
16. Kratovil, Judy Swaim. Index to War of 1812 Service Records for Volunteer Soldiers from Georgia . Atlanta, GA (P.O. Box 450062, Atlanta 30345): J. S. Kratovil, 1986. (Central-HG 973.52)
17. Marine, William Matthew. The British Invasion of Maryland, 1812-1815, with an appendix containing eleven thousand names by Louis Henry Dielman. Baltimore, MD: Society of the War of 1812 in Maryland, 1913. (Central HG 973.5)
18. Moore, Mary Brown Daniel. Record of Commissions of Officers in the Tennessee Militia, 1796-1815. Baltimore, MD : Genealogical Publishing Co., 1977. (Centrall-HG 973.4)
Compiled by Mrs. John Trotwood Moore ; with a new introduction by Robert M. McBride; and an index for the years 1812-1815 by Anita Comtois.
19. North Carolina. Adjutant-General's Department. Muster Rolls of the Soldiers of the War of 1812 : detached from the Militia of North Carolina in 1812 and 1814. 1926; Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Pub. Co., 1976. (Central-HG 973.524)
Published under the direction of the Adjutant-General ; with an added index by Maurice S. Toler.
20. Roster of Ohio Soldiers in the War of 1812. Baltimore, MD: Reprinted for Clearfield Co. by Genealogical Publishing Co., 1989. (Central-HG 973.5)
21. Sistler, Byron and Samuel Sistler. Tennesseans in the War of 1812. Nashville, TN: B. Sistler & Associates, 1992. (Central-HG 973.52468)
22. Virginia. Auditor of Public Accounts. Virginia Militia in the War of 1812. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2001. (Centrall-HG 973.52455)
23. Wright, F. Edward. Maryland Militia, War of 1812. Silver Spring, MD: Family Line, c1979-1980, 7 vols. (Central-HG 973.52452)
Registers of bounty land claims
24. Christensen, Katheren. Arkansas Military Bounty Grants (War of 1812). Hot Springs: Arkansas Ancestors, 1971. (Central-HG 929.3767)
25. Dunaway, Maxine. Missouri Military Land Warrants, War of 1812. Springfield, MO: M. Dunaway, 1985. (Central-HG 929.3778)
26. Jillson, Willard Rouse. The Kentucky Land Grants: a Systematic Index to All of the Land Grants Recorded in the State Land Office at Frankfort, Kentucky, 1782-1924. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1971. (Central-HG 976.9)
27. New York (State). Adjutant General's Office. Index of Awards on Claims of the Soldiers of the War of 1812 1860; Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Pub. Co., 1969. (Central-HG Oversize 973.524)
28. Smith, Clifford N. Federal Land Series: a Calendar of Archival Materials on the Land-Patents Issued by the United States Government, with Subject, Tract, and Name Indexes. Chicago: American Library Association, 1972-1982, 4 vols. (Centrall-HG 333.16)
Vol. 1 covers 1788-1810; vol. 2 covers 1799-1835; vol. 3 covers 1810-1814; vol. 4 covers land grants in the Virginia District of Ohio. Includes name and tract index in each volume.
29. United States. General Land Office. War of 1812 Bounty Lands in Illinois. Thomson, IL: Heritage House, 1977. (Central-HG 977.3)
30. Wardell, Patrick G. War of 1812: Virginia Bounty Land & Pension Applicants: a Quick Reference Guide to Ancestors having War of 1812 Service Who Served, Lived, Died, or Married in Virginia or West Virginia. Bowie, MD: Heritage Books, 1987. (Central-HG 973.52455)
Registers of Pensioners
31. Armstrong, Zella. Twenty-four Hundred Tennessee Pensioners; Revolution-War of 1812. Chattanooga, TN: The Lookout Publishing Company, 1937. (Central-HG 976.8)
32. Bockstruck, Lloyd DeWitt. Naval Pensioners of the United States, 1800-1851. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2002. (Central-HG 929.373)
33. Clark, Byron N. A List of Pensioners of the War of 1812, with an appendix containing names of volunteers for the defence of Plattsburgh from Vermont towns, a description of the battle from contemporaneous sources, the official statement of losses, and names of United States officers and soldiers at Burlington, Vermont, as shown on army pay and muster rolls recently brought to light. 1904; Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Pub. Co., 1969. (Central-HG 973.5)
34. Concannon, Marie. Index to Missouri Military Pensioners, 1883. Columbia: State Historical Society of Missouri, 1997. (Central-HG 973.74)
35. McGhee, Lucy Kate. Missouri Revolutionary War Soldiers, War of 1812 and Indian Wars Pension List. Washington, D.C.: n.d. (Central-HG 977.8)
36. Payne, Dorothy E. Arkansas Pensioners, 1818-1900: Records of Some Arkansas Residents Who Applied to the Federal Government for Benefits Arising from Service in Federal Military Organizations (Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Indian and Mexican Wars). Easley, S.C.: Southern Historical Press, 1985. (Central-HG 929.3767)
37. United States. Census Office. A Census of Pensioners for Revolutionary or Military Services; with Their Names, Ages, and Places of Residence, as Returned by the Marshals of the Several Judicial Districts in 1840. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1967. (Central-HG 929.373)
38. United States. Pension Bureau. List of Pensioners on the Roll, January 1, 1883, Giving the Name of Each Pensioner, the Cause for Which Pensioned, the Post-Office Address, the Rate of Pension Per Month, and the Date of Original Allowance, as Called for by the Senate Resolution of December 8, 1882. 5 vols. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1970. (Central-HG 973.74)
39. United States. War Department. Kentucky Pension List of 1835. Baltimore, MD: Southern Book Co., 1959. (Central-HG 976.9)
40. United States. War Department. Message From the President of the United States, Transmitting a Report of the Secretary of War: in Compliance with a Resolution of the Senate, "To cause to be laid before them, a list of all the pensioners of the United States, the sum annually paid to each, and the states or territories in which the said pensioners are respectively paid." March 28, 1818. Baltimore, MD: Southern Book Co., 1959. (Central-HG 929.373)
41. United States. War Department. The Pension List of 1820: U.S. War Department, reprinted with an index by Murtie June Clark. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1991. (Central-HG 973.74)
42. United States. War Department. The Pension Roll of 1835. 4 vols. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1968. (Central-ST 973.34)
43. White, Virgil D. Index to War of 1812 Pension Files. 2 vols. Waynesboro, TN: National Historical Publishing Co., 1992. (Central-HG 973.526)
Registers of Veterans
44. Iowa. Adjutant General's Office. List of Ex-Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines Living in Iowa (1886). Decorah, IA: Decorah Genealogy Association, 1997. (Central-HG 929.373)
45. Nebraska. Office of the Secretary of State. Roster of Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines of the War of 1812, the Mexican War, and the War of the Rebellion Residing in Nebraska, June 1, 1893. Lincoln, NB: Jacob North & Co., Printer, 1893. (Centrall-ST 973.74)
46. Nebraska. Office of the Secretary of State. Roster of Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines of the War of 1812, the Mexican War, and the War of the Rebellion Residing in Nebraska, June 1, 1895. Lincoln, NB: Nebraska Newspaper Union, 1895. (Centrall-ST 973.74)
47. Nebraska. Office of the Secretary of State. Roster of Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines of the War of 1812, the Mexican War, and the War of the Rebellion Residing in Nebraska, December 1, 1897. Lincoln, NB: Jacob North & Co., Printer, 1898. (Central-ST 973.74)
Burial Registers and Casualty Lists
48. Custer, Milo. Soldiers of the Revolution and the War of 1812 Buried in McLean County, Illinois. Bloomington, IL: self-published, 1912. (Central-HG 977.3)
49. McCown, Mary Hardin. Soldiers of the War of 1812 Buried in Tennessee. Johnson City, TN: Tennessee Society, United States Daughters of 1812, 1959. (Central-HG 973.5)
50. Peterson, Clarence S. Known Military Dead During the War of 1812. Baltimore: C. S. Peterson, 1955. (Central-HG 973.5)
Patriotic & Hereditary Organizations
51. Davies, Wallace Evan. Patriotism on Parade: the Story of Veterans and Heredity Organizations in America, 1783-1900. Cambridge, MS: Harvard University Press, 1955. (Central-ST 369)
52. General Society of the War of 1812. The Roster of the General Society of the War of 1812, 1989, and, Supplement to the 1989 Roster/ compiled and edited by Dennis F. Blizzard. Baltimore, MD: reprinted for Clearfield Co. by Genealogical Publishing Co., 1999. (Central-HG 973.52)
53. National Society, United States Daughters of 1812. Missouri. Records of the Missouri Society: Service Records of Soldiers in the War of 1812 and Their Descendants in the Missouri Membership. Marshall, MO: The Society, 1957. (Central-HG 973.5)
54. National Society, United States Daughters of 1812. Nebraska. Heroes of 1812: Written by the Members of the Nebraska Society of United States Daughters of 1812. Lincoln, NB: National Society, United States Daughters of 1812, 1930. (Central-HG 929.3782)
55. The Roster of the General Society of the War of 1812 (1989 ed.). Edited by Dennis F. Blizzard. Baltimore, MD: reprinted for Clearfield Co. by Genealogical Publishing Co., 1999. (Central-HG 973.52)
56. Shankland, Wilbur Morse. Organization of Missouris First Known Society of Veterans of the War of 1812 and Roll Call of Charter Members. St. Louis: n.p., 1963. (Central-HG, ST 369)
57. Society of the War of 1812. Constitution and Register of Membership of the General Society of the War of 1812, to Dec. 1, 1895. Philadelphia, PA: Dewey & Eakins, 1895. (Central-ST 369)
Compiled by Thomas A. Pearson
Special Collections Department
St. Louis Public Library
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