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Yes, really, free is free

Every so often, The Legal Genealogist is confident, the planets align, the stars twinkle just so, the sun kicks off solar flares of some intensity — and the internet goes complete crazy.

You’ve seen this, I’m sure, at one time or another, with some piece of utter misinformation that just can’t seem to be stamped out.

And this week the piece of utter misinformation that I’m dealing with is that will charge to get to the War of 1812 pension files we’re all crowdsourcing through the Preserve the Pensions project.

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.

The records are free.

There’s no subscription charge.

The records will always be free.

You will never need to subscribe to Fold3 or Ancestry or any other pay service of any kind to access the War of 1812 pension files.

Free here means free.


Here’s all you have to do to get to the War of 1812 pension files absolutely free:

Click on this link:

That’s it, folks. That’ll open up the menu you see below and you can choose any state — or even search for a specific name within the database. All absolutely positively free.


Once you locate a file you want to look at, say, for Pumphrey Davenport of Virginia, you will see that that individual file also has an indication on it — it’s free.


Go right ahead and click on the record description, and you’ll be able to look at and download every single document in the file — free.


In fact, there are a lot of databases on Fold3 that are free. If you’d like to check them out, here are the steps:

1. Head on over to and its browse records page:

2. Choose any entry in the category list, from All Titles right down to Non-military Records.

3. A menu will open up to the right of the category list, and any database that is free will have the word Free next to the database name.

So… with luck the planets are now aligned, the stars twinkling just so, the sun flaring benignly and we can all go back to contentedly browsing the War of 1812 pension files on — absolutely positively free.


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