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Giving back by chipping in

There’s a website out there offering an opportunity The Legal Genealogist can’t pass up.


“We have a day,” the website begins, “for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals.”

And clearly there was a need for something else.

So now, the website goes on:

we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.

It’s a simple idea. Just find a way for your family, your community, your company or your organization to come together to give something more. Then tell everyone you can about how you are giving. Join us and be a part of a global celebration of a new tradition of generosity.1

I love it. A day where we are asked only to give, indeed to give back. A day when we focus outward, on what we can do to help, and not inward, on what we want. A day where we’re asked to take, not a selfie, but an #unselfie — to post and tag a photo that celebrates whatever cause we’re choosing for this day of giving back.

You see my #unselfie above. For the cause I choose for this day of giving back.

The document that’s part of my #unselfie is part of the War of 1812 pension file of my third great grandfather, Jesse Fore, who served with Captain Michael Gaffney’s Company of South Carolina militia, entering as a private and ending up as a fifer.2

So many of us have wonderful stories to be found in these pension files. And it’s up to us to ensure that these stories are saved.

So my #unselfie is in support of the campaign to this link — to help pay for the effort to digitize millions of pages of fragile documents in grave danger of deterioration: records of War of 1812 pension records held by the National Archives.

The records documenting more than 180,000 pension records for War of 1812 soldiers and their families are among the most heavily requested documents at the National Archives and, because of their use, their age and their fragile nature, they really need to be digitized to protect them forever.

The effort to get these wonderful records digitized is being led by the Federation of Genealogical Societies, with matching funds support from Ancestry. Every image digitized becomes available, free, to the public.

This campaign needs to raise millions to finish the job, and raising millions is a huge job. But you know how huge jobs get done, right? Right! The same way you eat an elephant: one bite at a time.

So… each page costs 45 cents to digitize. A donation of $4.50 would usually digitize 10 pages. But because of the matching funds from Ancestry, that same donation will digitize 20 pages. For a flat $10, I can ensure that nearly 45 pages are protected. Go to $20 and it’s nearly 90 pages. And for $45, I can preserve 200 pages of these genealogical treasures.

I’m in.

How ’bout you? Just click on the #unselfie image above or this link and head over to the Preserve the Pensions website, then hit the Donate Now button.

And post your own #unselfie today.

It’s the least we can do to give back.


  1. “What is #GivingTuesday?,” ( : accessed 1 Dec 2014).
  2. Jesse Fore (Musician, Capt. Michael Gaffney’s Co., 1 Regiment South Carolina Militia, War of 1812), pension no. S.O. 4,553, S.C. 7,041; Case Files of Pension and Bounty-Land Applications Based on Service in the War of 1812, 1871-1900; Pension and Bounty Land Applications Based on Service between 1812 and 1855; Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C.
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