MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

February 10, 2013

MPL a great resource for studying ancestors in War of 1812

By Jere Harris
Books and More

— Last year, 2012, was the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.

Even after the Revolutionary War ended in 1783, hostilities continued between the British and the United States. At war with France, Great Britain was also battling the Americans, who believed England was behind the Indian and Canadian attacks they were experiencing. Repeated incidents between the Royal Navy and merchant ships caused the United States to declare war on June 18, 1812. This war ended when President James Madison signed the Treaty of Ghent on February 18, 1815.

In order to identify your ancestor in the War of 1812, you will need to do a basic ancestor chart. You can learn about this process by coming by the Genealogy Department or by taking a free class which is given once a month. This will give you the basic information you need to track down the ancestor that would have served in this war.

Name, birthplace and date, marriage place and date and where he would have enlisted will all be things that will help you find this ancestor. A male born as late as 1799 may have served in this “Forgotten War.” This time period can sometimes be difficult to find family records for and a military record of this sort can be a real gold mine of information.    

Several books in the Genealogy Department here at Muskogee Public Library can help you with the search. Look at the book catalogue at www.eok.lib.ok.us. When you enter War of 1812, 27 items come up for the Grant Foreman collection. Some of the states included in these books are: Tennessee, New Jersey, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio.

“Arkansas Pensioners, 1818-1900,” by Dorothy E. Payne contains records of residents who applied to the Federal Government for benefits arising from service in Federal Military Organizations. These are records from the National Archives of pension applications and muster rolls.

On Family Search’s Web site at www.family

search.org you can find the War of 1812 Index to Pension Application Files and Index to Service Records.

At the library, you can use Ancestry Library Edition on the computer. Your library card is your access to this website. The only cost is copies, which are 10 cents a page. The War of 1812 brings up 10 hits on the database list. These include: service records, papers, equipment claims, pensions, volunteers, and prisoners of war.

Fold3 database contains images from the National Archives. Our library patrons can use this both in the library and at home. I did a search using the name of my ancestor in the War of 1812 Pension Files. This project is still being worked on, so the surname I needed is not yet indexed.

The Federation of Genealogical Societies has made this a project to put these Pension Records online. The Muskogee County Genealogical Society and individuals have made donations to this project.

 The National Society U.S. Daughters of 1812 at www.usdaughters1812.org and the General Society of the War of 1812 at www.societyofthewarof1812.org have searchable databases. Vital information, such as birth/death date and place, name of spouse, name of child (and spouse) and type of service can be found in these databases. Lineage groups for descendants of the War of 1812 servicemen are available in Oklahoma including Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Lawton, Norman and Enid.

Stop by the Genealogy/Local History department at Muskogee Public Library and use some of our wonderful resources for documenting your War of 1812 Soldier. Our friendly and helpful staff will be glad to assist you.

Jere Harris is a library assistant at the Muskogee Public Library. Reach her at (918) 682-6657, Ext. 257.