Revolutionary War Pension Applications
by Mandy Mathews, Family Historian
Military Records are a valuable source of genealogical information. The most beneficial Military Records available are Pension applications. Dating back to the Revolutionary War, the United States has kept record of all applications for military pensions. These records are valuable because the applicant needed to prove their relationship to the Veteran. If the application was filled out by anyone other than the Veteran, proof of their relationship to the Veteran needed to be established. Records might include; a spouse’s maiden name, marriage date, and a list of children. These records are available through the U.S. National Archives as well as HeritageQuestOnline.com. This website is available to most public and University libraries, free of charge with your library card from your own home. HeritageQuestOnline is accessed through the library website.
You are able to view scans of the original application on HeritageQuestOnline. Like any historical record, the information varies from one to the next. One application may contain a list of the veteran’s entire immediate family, while the next will contain only the spouse’s name. Since the Revolutionary War Pension applications are available online, it only takes a few minutes to search for them and is well worth the effort.
When searching for these records, all of the information requested may not be available to you. It is okay to search with limited information. Often times searching with little information will lead to finding more relatives than you had originally intended to find. Remember to take the time and look through the results of your search, even if an applicant appears to be not your relative. It is common to find an ancestor used a different name or had a nickname. Always consider the possibility that your information may be incomplete or incorrect. Keep your mind open and willing to accept new possibilities or even contrary information. The ability to consider variations of names and places is critical to successful genealogical research. Take a few minutes to research Revolutionary War Pension applications, the results might be incredible.