Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Revolutionary War Pension applications and where to find them

Where do you find those Revolutionary War Pension applications and what do they hold? They are great sources of information, often providing details of the residences of the applicant, names of members of the family, and the applicant's memories of service. It can be a genealogical gold mine. Most applications appeared in the 1830's, after an act to relieve the financial burdens of Revolutionary Patriots was passed. Some applications are from family members, because the soldier has already passed away. Others are in the words and writing of the patriot himself.
I have found that the American Ancestors website (also known as NEHGS) has summaries of these applications, including indexes of names for each application. That is very appealing, but of course it makes the reader want to see the entire application. The reader wonders, why was so and so mentioned? Let's see it and read it! The indexed applications at American Ancestors are provided by Fold3. The indexes will allow readers to see the pension applications in their entirety for a subscription fee. But it turns out that has many of these pensions scanned as well.
Consequence? For those who have subscriptions, the Fold3 may not be necessary for this particular type of genealogy resource.
It is always uselful to check here and there to see if you can get access to information that you had expected to pay for.
Other great alternatives include free census information available from The USGenWeb Census Project at (, and vital records that are compiled by volunteers for the State GenWeb websites.

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