War of 1812, 1812 to 1815
- 1 Brief History
- 2 Places involved
- 3 Service Records
- 4 Pension Records
- 5 Bounty Land Warrants
- 6 Prisoner of War Records
- 7 Cemetery Records
- 8 Veterans’ and Lineage Society Records
- 9 Web Sites of Potential Interest
The War of 1812 between the United States and Great Britain began formally on June 18, 1812. It involved about 60,000 U.S. Army forces supported by 470,000 militia and volunteer troops. The treaty of Ghent was signed 24 December 1814 to end the war, however another battle was fought 8 January 1815 at New Orleans.
13 October 1812 Queenston, Ontarion (British victory)
22 January 1813 Frenchtown, now Monroe, Michigan on the Raisin River (British victory)
10 September 1813 Western end of Lake Erie (United States naval victory)
5 October 1813 Moraviantown, on Thames River, Kent County, Ontario (Both sides claimed victory)
25 July 1814 Lundy's Lane about one mile from Niagara Falls (Both sides claimed victory)
8 January 1815 New Orleans, Louisiana (United States victory) (after peace treaty was signed)
Service records document an individual’s involvement with the military and can be used for proving military service, or as a valuable tool in genealogical research.
A wiki article describing an online collection is found at:
- United States, Index to Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served During the War of 1812 (FamilySearch Historical Records)
When researching volunteers, start with the compiled military service records. A volunteer's compiled service record consists of an envelope containing card abstracts taken from muster rolls, returns, pay vouchers, and other records. The abstracted information may include references to wounds, hospitalization, absence from the unit, courts-martial, and death.
The general name indexes to the War of 1812 are on microfilm and online at Ancestry.com (requires subscription) but the compiled military service records for this conflict is not. The indexes includes names, ranks, and units of soldiers compiled from original records. See the Family History Library Catalog or click on the link: Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served during the War of 1812. National Archives Microfilm Publication M602. (FHL films 0882519–752.)
Copies from the actual compiled military service record, held at the National Archives, can now be ordered online, as well as through NATF Form 86. Researchers may also request to see the original compiled military service records at the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C.
The War Department did not compile military service records for those who served in the Regular Army.
For a register of enlistments, see the Family History Library Catalog or click on the link: Register of Enlistments in the U.S. Army, 1798–1914. National Archives Microfilm Publication M233. (FHL films 350307-350349; 1319378-1319380; 1465934-1465954). The register usually shows the individual's name, military organization, physical description, age at time of enlistment, place of birth, enlistment information, discharge information, and remarks.
- Wiki articles describing this collection is found at:
The National Archives also maintains a textual record, entitled "Regular Army Enlistment Papers, 1798–1894" (Record Group 94, entry 91). This series is arranged alphabetically by name of soldier and generally shows the soldier's name, place of enlistment, date, by whom enlisted, age, place of birth, occupation, personal description, regimental assignment, and certifications of the examining surgeon and recruiting officer. Soldiers usually have multiple enlistment papers if they served two or more enlistments.
The War Department did not maintain or compile personnel files for Regular Army officers until 1863.
When researching Army officers, researchers should first consult Francis B. Heitman's Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, From Its Organization, September 29, 1789, to March 2, 1903, available in two volumes at the Family History Library. Volume one, a register of army officers, provides a brief history of each man's service. Volume two contains a "chronological list of battles, actions, etc., in which troops of the Regular Army have participated and troops engaged."
Also, see the Family History Library Catalog or click on the following link: Letters Received by the Office of the Adjutant General, 1805–1821, National Archives Microfilm Publication M566.
Additional information about Regular Army enlisted men and officers may be found in post and unit returns. See the Family History Library Catalog or click on the following link: Returns from U.S. Military Posts, 1800–1916, National Archives Microfilm Publication M617 (FHL films 1663081-1663180). Returns generally show units stationed at the post and their strength, the names and duties of officers, the number of officers present and absent, and a record of events.
The National Archives also maintains a microfilm publication (M1856), entitled, "Discharge Certificates and Miscellaneous Records Relating to the Discharge of Soldiers from the Regular Army, 1792-1815" (Records of the Adjutant General's Office, 1780s-1917, Record Group 94). These records relate solely to the discharge of soldiers from the regular army; no militiamen or volunteers are included, although several civilians are mentioned. Records include discharge certificates and miscellaneous other materials relating to the discharge of soldiers from the Regular Army, 1792-1815. Most of the over 2,200 discharges are for the period 1812-15, although a few date from the 1790s.
Begin your research on navy enlisted men by looking in the pension files. A pension file may provide leads such as dates of service and the ship(s) or duty station(s) where the sailor served. Pensions usually provide the most genealogical information.
When beginning research on U.S. Navy officers, see the Family History Library Catalog or click on the following link: of Officers of the Navy of the United States and of the Marine Corps from 1775 to 1900, edited by Edward W. Callahan.
Also, consult the pension files, which may provide leads such as dates of service and the ship(s) or duty station(s) where the officer served.
Next consult the abstacts of service; see the Family History Library Catalog or click on the following link: Abstracts of Service Records of Naval Officers ("Records of Officers"), 1798–1893, National Archives Microfilm Publication M330 (FHL films 1445969-1445987).
U.S. Navy deck logs typically provide information on a ship's performance and location, weather conditions, personnel (names of officers, assignments, transfers, desertions, deaths, injuries, and courts-martial), supplies received, and miscellaneous observations. See the Family History Library Catalog or click on the following link: List of Logbooks of U.S. Navy Ships, Stations, and Miscellaneous Units, 1801–1947, Special List (National Archives): no 44.
Generally, service records for enlisted marines who separated from service prior to 1905 are held at the National Archives, in Washington, D.C. Service records or "case files" of enlisted marines at the National Archives are found in Record Group 127, Records of the U.S. Marine Corps, entry 76. Service records may include enlistment and reenlistment papers, descriptive lists, conduct records, notice of discharge, military history, and the issuance of campaign badges and awards. These records are arranged chronologically by year of enlistment or latest reenlistment, thereunder alphabetically by initial letter of surname of enlisted man, and thereunder chronologically by date of enlistment or reenlistment. If the enlistment date is unknown, researchers can use the card index found in RG 127, entry 75, Alphabetical Card List of Enlisted Men of the Marine Corps, 1798–1941.
To track a marine's service, the National Archives maintains a microfilm publication (T1118), entitled: "Muster Rolls of the U.S. Marine Corps, 1798–1902." The muster rolls, for this period, are arranged chronologically by year and month, and thereunder by post, station, ship detachment, or unit. There are indexes in most volumes to the names of ships, stations, and units. A muster roll generally shows name of ship, station, or unit and provides name of officer or enlisted man, rank, date of enlistment or reenlistment, and if applicable, date of desertion or apprehension, sentence of court-martial (and the offense), injuries sustained or illness and type of treatment, and date of death or discharge. Depending on the date, the researcher must know the vessel on which the marine served, the unit in which he served, or duty station.
To verify the service of a marine officer, see the Family History Library Catalog or click on the following link: "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," edited by Edward W. Callahan.
The National Archives has records relating to the Coast Guard and its predecessor agencies: the Lighthouse Service, Revenue Cutter Service, and the Lifesaving Service. These records are found in Record Group 26, Records of the U.S. Coast Guard.
For records relating to officers of the Revenue Cutter Service, the National Archives series, "Records of Officer Personnel, compiled 1797-1919," provides dates of service, citations to pertinent correspondence, and charges. This series is indexed alphabetically by name of officer.
The National Archives also maintains a series entitled, "Lists of Commissions of Revenue Cutter Officers, compiled 1791 - 1910," which is arranged chronologically as commissions were issued.
State Level Resources
Additional state indexes are available for:
- Louisiana. National Archives Microfilm Publication M229 (FHL films 0880010–12.)
- North Carolina. National Archives Microfilm Publication M250 (FHL films 0880838–42.)
- Carolina. National Archives Microfilm Publication M652 (FHL films 0882812–18.)
- Illinois http://www.ilsos.gov/GenealogyMWeb/1812frm.html Search the Illinois War of 1812 Veterans Database.
- VirginiaLVA Catalogs - 1812 information • Library of Virginia index can be searched by name, but you only get the source where name is found.
The only service records that have been microfilmed are those for Mississippi. National Archives Microfilm Publication M678. (FHL films 0882819–40.) The compiled service records for other states are available only at the National Archives.
Pensions were first granted to soldiers who were disabled while in the service and to heirs of soldiers who died during the war. The first pension acts based on service were not passed until 1871 and a second was passed in 1878. The files are currenlty being filmed by iAarchives and the Federation of Genealogical Societies and added to the Footnote.com website (see announcement). Visit http://go.footnote.com/1812pensions/ to see the current digitization progress; all images and information from this collection is free.
A wiki article describing an online collection is found at:
- Military Records: Pre-WWI Pension Applications (16 minute online video)
- 2 FamilySearch Research Classes Online, 2010.
Indexes Available Online
- Internet Archive - original NARA index available freely online
- Ancestry.com has an online index (subscription required)
Indexes Available In Print
- Index to War of 1812 Pension Application Files. National Archives Microfilm Publication M313. (FHL films 0840431–500 and 0847501–32.) This index has the veteran’s name, widow’s name, rank, unit, dates of enlistment and discharge, application and certificate numbers, and bounty land warrant numbers.
- White, Virgil D., compiler. Index to War of 1812 Pension Files. Two Volumes. Waynesboro, Tennessee: National Historical Publishing, 1992. (FHL book 973 M22i.) Volume 2, pages 1888–2109, contains a cross-reference index to wives, widows, and other family members listed in the main index.
- White, Virgil D., transcriber. Index to Old Wars Pension Files, 1815-1926. Waynesboro, Tennessee : National Historical Publishing, c1993. (FHL book 973 M22wh.)
National Archives' copies of military pension application files based on Federal (not State or Confederate) service between 1775 and 1903 (before World War I) can now be ordered online, as well as through NATF Form 85.
Categories of pension/bounty land files available using NATF Form 85:
- A complete Civil War and later pension application file (up to 100 pages), based on Federal (not State or Confederate) military service during the Civil War or later (includes the Pension Documents Packet.)
- A complete Federal pre-Civil War military pension application based on Federal military service before 1861 (includes the Pension Documents Packet.)
- A pension document packet that contains reproductions of eight documents containing genealogical information about the pension applicant, to the extent these documents are present in the file.
- A complete miltary bounty land application file based on service 1775-1855 (includes only rejected Revolutionary War applications).
Bounty Land Warrants
Veterans were offered a total of 6 million acres of bounty land in Arkansas, Illinois, Michigan, and later, Missouri. Starting in 1852 bounty land warrants were also awarded outside these assigned districts. Warrants for the acts of 1812, 1814, and 1842 (excluding the general bounty land acts of 1850, 1852, and 1855) are reproduced in the following:
War of 1812 Military Bounty Land Warrants, 1815–1858. National Archives Microfilm Publication M848. (FHL films 0983163–77.) The records usually contain the veteran’s name, rank, company, and regiment; the date the warrant was issued; and the date the warrant was exchanged for a specific parcel of land. The warrants are arranged numerically by warrant number and then chronologically.
The following sources are also helpful:
Christensen, Katheren, compiler. Arkansas Military Bounty Grants,War of 1812. Hot Springs, Arkansas: Arkansas Ancestors, 1971. (FHL book 976.7 R2c.) Contains the name of the veteran, date, and warrant number.
Dunaway, Maxine, compiler. Missouri Military Land Warrants, War of 1812. Springfield, Missouri: Maxine Dunaway, 1985. (FHL book 977.8 R2d.) Indicates the name of purchaser, section, township, range, warrant number, patent date, book, and page.
Military Land Warrants in Missouri, 1819: An Alphabetical Index of Missouri Patentees. 1858. Reprint, not published, 1988. (FHL book 977.8 R2ml.) Indicates the date, name of patentee, land warrant number, regiment, and land description.
War of 1812 Bounty Lands in Illinois. Thomson, Illinois: Heritage House, 1977. (FHL book 977.3 R2w; film 1035624 item 7; fiche 6051272.) A reprint of Lands in Illinois to Soldiers of Late War. (26th Congress, 1st Session, 1840. House Doc. 262.) These records are arranged by date and include number of warrant, name of patentee, rank, description of the tract, and to whom delivered.
Prisoner of War Records
The following are general entry books for Americans incarcerated on ships and in prisons:
Records Relating to American Prisoners of War, 1812–1815, from the Public Record Office, London, England. (FHL films 1454583–93.) The books give each prisoner’s name; ship; date and place of capture; rank; birthplace; age; physical description; and details of discharge, death, or escape.
A guide to this collection is listed below:
Records Relating to American Prisoners of War, 1812–1815. Yorkshire, England: EP Microform, Limited, 1980. (FHL book 973 M2dye.)
Additional prisoner of war records include:
Index to War of 1812 Prisoner of War Records. National Archives microfilm publication M1747. Not available at the Family History Library.
Records Relating to War of 1812 Prisoners of War. National Archives Microfilm publication M2019. (FHL film 2155571.)
Only about 2,000 soldiers and sailors were killed during the War of 1812. A list of those who died is in the following source:
Peterson, Clarence Stewart. Known Military Dead during the War of 1812. Baltimore, Maryland: Clarence Stewart Peterson, 1955. (FHL book 973 M23p; fiche 6051255.) Includes the name, rank, place where enlisted, whether the soldier died or was killed, and the date of capture, if he was taken prisoner.
Additional burial records include:
Finnell, Arthur Louis. Known War of 1812 Veterans Buried in Minnesota. Roseville, Minnesota: Park Genealogical Books, 1997 (FHL book 977.6 V3f.) Includes the name, place of birth and death, name of spouse, and where married. Also includes the soldier’s service record with dates and his residence at time of death.
Miller, Alice Turner, compiler. of the War of 1812 Who Died in Michigan. Ithica, Michigan: A.T. Miller, 1962. (FHL book 977.4 M23m; film 0844961 item 3.) Each entry lists the soldier’s birth and death dates, his wife’s name, and the place where he is buried.
McCown, Mary Harbin, and Inez E. Burns. Soldiers of the War of 1812 Buried in Tennessee. Typescript, 1959. (FHL book 976.8 M23m.) Alphabetically arranged. Name entries include birth and death dates or notations if the soldier was still living when the records were compiled.
Miller, Phyllis Brown, editor. Index to the Grave Records of Servicemen of the War of 1812, State of Ohio. Brockville, Ohio: Dillon’s Princely, 1988. (FHL book 977.1 V22u 1988; film 0496718 item 5.) (1969 edition FHL film 0496718 item 15.) This index includes the name, rank, unit, birth and death dates of each soldier and his wife, sources of information, and year of entry of the graves registration form into Daughters of 1812 records. This source indexes 5,197 grave registration forms submitted between 1937 and 1987 by members of the United States Daughters of 1812 in the state of Ohio.
Veterans’ and Lineage Society Records
National Society United States Daughters of 1812. This society was organized in 1892. A list of 20,000 soldiers who rendered service between 1784 and 1815 is the following:
Galvin, Eleanor Stevens, compiler and editor. 1812 Ancestor Index: 1892–1970. National Society United States Daughters of 1812. Norcross, Georgia: Harper Printing, 1970. (FHL book 973 C4sd.)
Lists approximately 20,000 soldiers whose service between 1784 and 1815 has been established by the society. Records include name, rank, state and type of service, and usually give state and date of birth and death, spouse, and the name of the child through whom the applicant is descended.
Trolinger, Patricia Scruggs, compiler. 1812 1812 Ancestor Index 1970–1992. Marceline, Missouri: Walsworth Publishing, 1992. (FHL 973 C4sd 1970–92.) Lists soldiers whose service between 1784 and 1815 has been established by the society. Records include name, rank, state and type of service, and usually give state and date of birth and death, spouse, and the name of the child through whom the applicant is descended.
For more information about the society, write to:
- National Society, United States Daughters of 1812
1461 Rhode Island Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20005
General Society of the War of 1812. This society was founded in 1894 and has no permanent headquarters. Check the current edition of the Encyclopedia of Associations described in the “Veterans and Lineage Society Records” within Types of Military Records. The Family History Library has the following:
- A card index (FHL film Applications for membership with card index 0002069).
- Applications for membership from 1877 to 1963 (FHL films 000card index –41).
A published roster of members will be found in:
Blizzard, Dennis F., compiler and editor. The Roster of the General Society of the War of 1812. The Roster 1989. Mendenhall, Pennsylvania: The General Society of the War of 1812, 1989. (FHL book 973 C4bl.) Contains the following information:
- A list of War of 1812 veterans, with a brief service history, who were members
- A list of society members admitted through April 1989 with their ancestors arranged by general society numbers
- Histories of state societies
- Archival sources of the general society
- Alphabetically arranged member and ancestor indexes
Web Sites of Potential Interest
- The USGENWEB Project has a special project relating to the War of 1812. Look under the state your ancestor came from and then click on military records.
- War of 1812 Genealogical Research has links to various War of 1812 web sites.
- War of 1812 Resources This bibliography contains a portion of the Newberry Library's resources on the War of 1812. You may want to search the online and card catalogs to find additional resources. The subject heading "United States - History - War of 1812" will provide a number of useful items.
- Society of the War of 1812 The purpose of this page is to provide links to other websites that relate to the War of 1812