About 6 in 10 of us have a family member who lived during that period of American history while only 1 in 40 have ancestors that participated in the war. Finding the documentation for those war-time ancestors is easier than you might think. Take a look at the Ancestry.com military records page for the Revolutionary War and view the types of resources you can search That’s a lot of Revolutionary War related links Here are a few records to whet your appetite for more information on those revolutionary folks.
- Want to know more about your Revolutionary War ancestor, then search for a pension record. These documents are chock-full of personal details such as names of family members and financial status. Friends and neighbors also testified on behalf of applicants providing you with insights into their social circle. The veterans gave testimony of their service, battles they participated in and the names of men they served with. For instance, William Hutchings of Maine didn’t apply for a pension until 1832 and his father vouched for his service. The documents in his record include the amount of pension he received ($21.66 per year) and that he received an increase under a Special Act of Congress in 1865. You can read his personal declaration in support of his pension application which outlines his life during and after the war. Hutchings lived until 1866.
- If your ancestor lived until 1840 and applied for a pension for military service up to that point then it’s likely they appear in the 1840 Census of Pensioners . You’ll find the name of the person collecting the pension, their age and where they live. If they lived after 1840 then there is a chance these individuals posed for a photographic portrait. Shiny, reflective daguerreotypes were introduced to the United States in 1839.
- Not everyone applied for a pension. Look for service details of your patriot ancestor by searching the U.S. Compiled Revolutionary War Military Service Records, 1775-1783 or the U.S. Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783 . These muster rolls are indexed and you can view the original images on digital copies of the National Archives microfilm.
When you finish searching the bountiful resources available for the Revolutionary War period, you’ll know a lot more about your family that lived during those tumultuous years. Let me know what you’ve found. I love hearing success stories!
The Last Muster
The odds of you actually having a photograph or other image of that Revolutionary War period ancestor hasn’t been calculated because no one knows how many of the men and women who lived during that period actually sat for a portrait—photographic or painted. I’ve found more than two hundred photos or artwork based on images and the search continues. You can participate too. See my Last Muster Project page for details.