Saturday, February 21, 2015

Research: Finding Ancestor Records - Revolutionary War



These are the steps I followed to find pension records for an ancestor that served in the American Revolutionary War. I did not pay anything for access to this information.

The American War of Independence was fought between 1775 and 1783.

Notes from my family gave the ancestor's full name, the state where military service was rendered (Virginia), and the state where the pension was received (Georgia).

I learned that the name and state where military pension was received were most important. If you don't know if your ancestor received a pension, find out the state and county where he died. Then look for the name on the resource given below (in Step 3).

  1.  Go to this page at familysearch.org . Family Search is a wonderful free resource for researching ancestry.
  2. On that page, under "Where to Find the Records" towards the bottom of the page, click the link that reads :  A Census of Pensioners for Revolutionary or Military Services...(Google Books) 
  3.  A Google Book page comes up. Access is free. (Thank you Google!) Click through until you're looking at the book.
    Screenshot of Census of Pensioners...
  4.  Find the ancestor/pensioners state. This is a manual process. Just click or scroll through the pages until you reach the state of interest.
  5. Find the County under the state.
  6. If the name is not there, look at the other counties. Hey, this is where I found my ancestor. He received a pension 49 years after the Revolutionary War ended. Often, family notes contain errors in spelling, initials, and counties. Keep this in mind when researching your family tree. Good luck!
Update 3/22/2015 Another resource I've just discovered is the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Website. Enter data in this form to inquire into American Revolution Veteran status. The results of this query verified what I learned using the above steps, and added to my fact set. I learned the spouse's name and date of death for the veteran.
I have also written an article about researching a Civil War soldier. That post can be found here.
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