Wednesday, June 16, 2010

NARA - Other Military Records from the War of 1812

The Adjutant General's Office also includes several useful, but lesser known, series of records that may prove useful to the genealogist.  The certificates of disability for the War of 1812 are documents signed by a surgeon attesting to the disability and discharge of regular army soldiers. Arranged by regiment and then by name, the certificates include information such as name, age, rank, unit, enlistment date, place of birth, and personal description. If no enlistment register entry exists for an individual, then this series might help. In addition to the large series of enlistment papers already discussed, a small series of enlistment papers and discharges also exists for the War of 1812 period. If no information is found in the larger series, then these papers should be examined. Often overlooked, but potentially useful, are Miscellaneous Manuscripts of the War of 1812 and its accompanying name index. The manuscripts contain a great variety of information about regulars, volunteers, and civilians. The records are arranged numerically and appear to be grouped by state and federal units. Among the records are vouchers, returns, receipts for supplies signed by officers in the field, and impressments of articles and services from civilians such as ferrymen, landlords, farmers, and seamstresses. The records appear to document mostly the activities of volunteer units and should be searched whenever the subject is a volunteer soldier, especially an officer. Records of the Adjutant General's Office also contain several small series of records relating to American POWs originally compiled by the Navy and Treasury departments. These are indexed and can be useful in determining if an American soldier was a POW in Canada. Records of the Judge Advocate General (Army) (Record Group 153) contain the proceedings of general courts-martial from the War of 1812 period for both volunteers and regulars. A card name index and a computerized name index give access to these records. The proceedings can provide an interesting and fascinating glimpse into army life.