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Friday, June 26, 2009

How to Find War of 1812 Records for an Ancestor

Carol asked
My problem is the origins in Ireland of my 2nd great-grandfather, Richard FERGUSON. Various census records and his land grant for Broken Front 19 on the Grand River in Waterloo County give a birth of 1784-1787 in Ireland. The land grant petition in January 1816 says he was a member of the Flank Company 2d Regiment of the York Militia and fought at the Battle of Queenston. It also says he had been in the country 6 years when he applied for the grant and that he was a native of Ireland.

I would like to find his militia enlistment papers, if possible, to see if they can give me any clue as to where in Ireland he was born. He was C of E on all the census records which is a small help, I am really stupid when it comes to negotiating the Archives of Canada catalog and search engine. I just cannot seem to fathom all those "bundles" and other numbers

Hi Carol, Don't feel stupid about not understanding the Archives system. It can be very confusing! Try to clear your head and remember that their use of such terms as "bundles" is a label. It is simply their way of organizing and labelling the original bits of paper and documents. So even if you don't understand how they have organized or labelled the records, you can just write down exactly what it is you want, then ask an Archivist how to find it.

For the War of 1812, it's a bit tricky. The records are not in one place, and not complete. But there are many assorted records and you will just have to search out each one in hopes of finding something for your ancestor. It is unlikely you will find his enlistment papers but you never know exactly what will turn up!

I think your best bet is to start at War of 1812 pages on my site. Scroll down the page (it's quite far down!) to the chart titled War of 1812 with columns labelled Type of Record - Location of Record - Ordering Information - Comments

Als, Collections Canada website is invaluable! You want War of 1812 - a reader's guide. Have fun and I hope you find more on your War of 1812 ancestor

1 comment:

  1. Carol,
    You will find Richard's payrolls as a private in the 2nd York at http://www.ogs.on.ca/services/1812-militia.php where you will also find my email address. Document 274 is the payroll for his flank company at the Battle of Queenston Heights in 1812. I am not related but have additional material on his company and regiment.
    Fred Blair

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