Fw: Researching Your Revolutionary War Ancestor
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Another one of Sally's Tips for Researching Your Revolutionary War
Ancestors....... gleaned from our own Kimberly Powell...
....... take your time with this one.
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----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, July 03, 2012 3:12 PM
Subject: Researching Your Revolutionary War Ancestor
Researching Your Revolutionary War Ancestor
by Kimberly Powell, About.com Guide
The Revolutionary War lasted for eight long years, beginning with the battle
between British troops and local Massachusetts militia at Lexington and
Concord, Massachusetts, on 19
April 1775, and ending with the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1783. If
your family tree in America stretches back to this time period, it is likely
you can claim descendency from at least one ancestor who had some type of
service related to the Revolutionary War effort.
Did my Ancestor Serve in the American Revolution?
Boys as young as 16 were allowed to serve, so any male ancestors who were
between the ages of 16 and 50 between
1776 and 1783 are potential candidates. Those who didn't serve directly in a
military capacity may have helped in other ways - by providing goods,
supplies or non-military service to the cause. Women also participated in
the American Revolution, some even accompanying their husbands to battle.
If you have an ancestor you believe may have served in the American
Revolution in a military capacity, then an easy way to start is by checking
the following indexes to major Revolutionary War record groups:
* DAR Patriot Index- Compiled by the National Society Daughters of the
American Revolution, the DAR Patriot Index contains data for both men and
women who provided service to the patriot's cause between 1774 and 1783.
Because this index was created from lineages identified and verified by DAR,
it does not include every individual who served. The index generally
provides birth and death data for each individual, as well as information on
spouse, rank, area of service, and the state where the patriot lived or
served. For those who did not serve in a military capacity, the type of
civil or patriotic service is indicated. Soldiers who received a
revolutionary war pension will be noted with the abbreviation "PNSR" ("CPNS"
if the soldier's children received the pension or "WPNS" if the soldier's
widow received the pension). The National Society Daughters of the American
Revolution provides a free DAR Patriot Index Lookup Service.
* Index to Revolutionary War Service Records- This four volume set
[Waynesboro, TN: National Historical Publishing Co., 1995] by Virgil White
includes abstracts of military service records from National Archives group
93, including each soldier's name, unit and rank. A simliar index was
created by Ancestry, Inc. in 1999 and is available online to subscribers -
U.S. Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783
* American Genealogical-Biographical Index(AGBI)- This large index,
sometimes referred to as the Rider Index after its original creator, Fremont
Rider, includes the names of people who have appeared in more than 800
published volumes of family histories and other genealogical works. This
includes several volumes of published Revolutionary War Records, such as
Historical Register of Virginians in the Revolution, Soldiers, Sailors,
1775-1783 and Muster and Payrolls of the Revolutionary War, 1775-1783 from
the collection of the New York Historical Society. Godfrey Memorial Library
in Middletown, Connecticut, pubishes this index and will answer AGBI search
requests for a small fee. The AGBI is also available as an online database
at subscription site, Ancestry.com.
* Pierce's Register- Originally produced as a government document in 1915
and later published by Genealogical Publishing Company in 1973, this work
provides an index to Revolutionary War claim records, including the
veteran's name, certificate number, military unit and the amount of the
* Abstract of Graves of Revolutionary Patriots- The U.S. government places
tombstones on the graves of identified Revolutionary War soldiers, and this
book by Patricia Law Hatcher [Dallas: Pioneer Heritage Press, 1987-88]
provides an alphabetical list of these Revolutionary War soldiers, along
with the name and location of the cemetery where they are buried or
Where Can I Find the Records?
Records related to the American Revolution are available in many different
locations, including repositories at
the national, state, county and town-level. The National Archives in
Washington D.C. is the largest repository, with compiled military service
records, pension records and bounty land records. State archives or the
state's Office of the
Adjutant General may include records for individuals who served with the
state militia, rather than the continental army, as well as records for
bounty land issued by the state.
A fire in the War Department in November 1800 destroyed most of the earliest
service and pension records. A fire in August 1814 in the Treasury
Department destroyed more records. Over the years, many of these records
have been reconstructed.
Libraries with a genealogical or historical section will often have numerous
published works on the American Revolution, including military unit
histories and county histories. A good
place to learn about available Revolutionary War records is James Neagles'
U.S. Military Records: A Guide to Federal and State Sources, Colonial
America to the Present [Salt Lake City, UT: Ancestry, Inc., 1994].
Sally Rolls Pavia