Wednesday, May 19, 2010

NARA - Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files #2

Although the process is somewhat involved, it is sometimes possible for a researcher to determine when a pension payment was last paid to a veteran or his heir. Among Veterans Administration records are the field record books (1805 - 1912), which can be used to determine when pension payments were made and when they stopped. To extract such information, one must know under which act a veteran was entitled to receive a pension and the city where the agency was located paying the pensioner. The search can be time-consuming, but information indicating the pensioner's date and place of death could be the reward.
War of 1812 veterans, and later their widows and heirs, could also apply for bounty land under the act of May 6, 1812, and a variety of subsequent federal laws. Most veterans were entitled to 160 acres, but in a few cases some received 320 acres, called double-bounties. Until 1842, the land lay within the states of Illinois, Arkansas, and Missouri, and until 1852 the land was not transferable. A typical bounty land application warrant file contains the veteran's name, age, unit, residence, period of service, and if applicable, the widow's (or heir's) name, age, and place of residence. Applications for bounty land claimed under different legislative acts will be filed under a single veteran's name. In many cases, bounty application files from regular army, navy, and Marine Corps veterans consist only of a discharge certificate. These files are arranged alphabetically by name of veteran, but they are unindexed. Researchers of these files should search the pension files in addition to searching the more numerous bounty land files. Less informative are the actual bounty land warrants, which were not issued to the veteran or his heirs. They do show, however, where the land to which the veteran was entitled was located and the date and name of the person to whom the land was given. Since many veterans sold their rights to bounty land to other persons, their names do not appear on many of the warrants. The warrants have been filmed on War of 1812 Military Bounty Land Warrants, 1815 - 1858 (M848, 14 rolls).

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