21 April 2014

The Slowly Growing 1812 Pensions

   I periodically check in to see how the War of 1812 Pension Files database is growing on Fold3.com.  It was recently updated and I was able to search for my 'G' surname ancestors, which is actually just one guy: Michael Garman.

     I am really excited about this project and the information that it can provide about my ancestors.  For Michael, I had seen a lot of information in online family trees but, as is often the case, didn't see any sources.  There was actually a lot of information available on the previously available index cards... but who doesn't always want to see the actual record?  Who trusts an index anyway?  Here's some of the information that I found in Michael Garman's pension file:
  • That he was drafted
  • When, where and with whom he served
  • When and where he was discharged
  • His wife's name and when(ish) and where(ish) they were married
  • That he did not see action
  • That he received a surgeon's discharge for a disabled shoulder
  • That he had received 80 acres of bounty land but had "legally transferred and disposed of it" and wanted more land
  • That he claimed not to have sided with the Confederacy (I say ha! to that)
  • He claimed to have aged really quickly! (65 in 1850, 80 in 1855 and 100 in 1871)
     And how I said there was a lot of information on the index?  Yeah, you can't trust the index card.  It said that Michael and his wife, Polly (Mary?), were married in 1812.  The actual records states "he was married on the __ day of __ 180(before the war began) in the State of South Carolina.   I read that to say that he was married in eighteen oh-something, whereas the indexer read it to mean when the war began in 1812.  

     This pension records provides a lot of dates and places, as well as tidbits of randomness that hint at more.  I'm going to take those tibits and hopefully find even more information about Michael Garman... while waiting patiently for P, R, and maybe other surnames to be added to the database.

     But if I really want to hurry things along, I can take a more active role in the process. Anyone can make a donation to Preserve The Pensions Project and, thanks to Ancestry.com, each donation will be matched to make an even bigger impact.

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