Tuesday, June 18, 2013

War of 1812 Pension Application Index

I was checking out the listing of new records on Ancestry.com today and at the top of the list was "War of 1812 Pension Application Files Index, 1812-1815".  I know of one Ritchhart that was in the War of 1812, so went to the search template and just typed in Ritchhart for last name and did a search.  The name of John Ritchhart came up and I have a ggggrandfather John Ritchhart who was born in 1780, moved to Ross County, Ohio with his parents and siblings around 1797 and died in 1829 in Ross County.  Since he would have been 32 in 1812, I figure he could well be the person listed in the Pension Index.  I retrieved a copy of the document; but all it listed was his name, service number and unit (U.S. Dragoons).  


War of 1812 Pension Application
I did a little research on the dragoons and learned they were a relatively small cavalry unit.  I did pull up a couple photos as shown below.





The following description of the data base was provided by 
Ancestry: " . . . . . The application files indexed in this collection relate to claims of military service between 1812 and 1815. Most of the applications were filed as a result of acts instated in 1871 and 1878 (read more below). These acts made it possible for veterans and their survivors to receive pensions based on service alone. Earlier acts provided pensions only for service related deaths or disabilities.
This index consists of the fronts of the envelopes containing the actual pension applications. These envelopes are arranged alphabetically according to surname of applicant. The amount of information shown on the front of the envelope varies. However, the following information is generally provided:
  • Name of veteran
  • Name of widow, if she applied
  • Pension claim or file number(s)
  • Service type or organization"
I am going to have to do some additional research to confirm this is my John Ritchhart and to see if their is any more information in the record.  However, because there were relatively few Ritchharts at that time, I think it is my ancestor, John.  Since he died in 1829, a surviving relative would have had to apply for the pension, because the pension apparently weren't enacted until 1871 and 1878.

If you have any ancestors who might have been in the War of 1812, I encourage you to go the the Ancestry.com site, locate that database in the "New Records on Ancestry.com" and do a search.  

I am also going to do some more research on the Dragoons, as I might find index listings of the members of their units.  

In examining to see if I might have ancestors from other lines of the family who might have been of an age to be in the war, I find that most of them were born in the late 1790s or early 1800s and would probably have been too young.   

Interestingly, John's brother, Jacob, is listed in as the Captain of a Company from Ross County, Ohio in the War of 1812 in a document published in Ross County.  However, I can't find his name in this data base.  I do find a Jacob Richard from Virginia, which is where the family moved from when they moved to Ross County.  He might not have had any surviving ancestors who applied for the pension.  More checking I can do.  This one little discovery has certainly generated a lot of work for me to do!