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That NARA photostream

Never let it be said that The Legal Genealogist is jealous.

Except when The Legal Genealogist is jealous.

Downright green with envy, this time around.

But then I’d challenge any genealogist to take a look at this and not be jealous:


It’s just part of a illustrated family record (Fraktur) found in a Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land-Warrant Application File for Ebenezer Prior of Connecticut.1

And it tells us that Ebenezer Prior was born on the 2nd of May 1746 and married Mary Thompson, who was born on the 21st of October 1754. They had four children: Thompson, born 18 May 1773, and died 6 April 1796; Mary, born 5 March 1778, married Judah Kibbe 17 December 1799, and died 18 September 1812; Charlotte, born 25 March 1780, married Rufus Stubbins 18 January 1801, and died 8 February 1839; and Harriet, born 28 February 1785.

All in glorious illustrated color.



For anybody to download and enjoy.

From the U.S. National Archives.

Now you could find this on the Archives’ website, It’s there for the taking, if you know how to find it and even know to look for it there.

Or you could look at it, and 112 others, in a single collection called “Revolutionary War Frakturs” in the photostream of the National Archives on a website called Flickr.

Flickr, for those who aren’t familiar with it, is a free photosharing website that anybody can use. It bills itself as almost certainly the best online photo management and sharing application in the world2 and it has a paid pro subscription option for those who choose to use it.

And the National Archives has so chosen.

Right now, the National Archives has some 16,000-plus images in its Flickr collection, with items ranging from the illustrated Frakturs to a set of stereographs to a collection on women’s suffrage to documents from the New Orleans Custom House.

It’s a veritable cornucopia.

And those Frakturs? They are just amazing.

You can see the record of the marriage of Ebenezer Spencer and Mehetabel Buswel on the 14th of July 1791, and then the births of nine children.3

Or the family record of Reuben Smith, born in North Salem, Westchester County, New York 12 July 1762, and Susannah Philips, born in Smith Town, New York, 30 January 1765. They were married 19 June 1785, and the births of eight children and marriages of six of them are all carefully recorded — and preserved in full color.4

Or of Daniel Skinner, born 3 August 1760, and Hannah Wiggins, born 8 October 1767, married 23 November 1785, and their 10 children — including two little boys named Aaron, the first born in 1786 and the second in 1789, presumably after the death of his older first-born brother.5

Oh, you’ll get these pages if you order the Revolutionary War pension files of any of these men or widows. Or look at them on Where you’ll get and see them as they were reproduced on microfilm. In black and white.

But if you want to see them in full color, with browns and reds and greens and blues, all 113 of them in one place, you need to go over to that Flickr photostream.

The best part? The National Archives isn’t the only archive that has a Flickr account. Take a gander at The Commons on Flickr — where more than 100 repositories from around the world have chosen to showcase some of their very best freely-available items. From the Texas State Library to the Provincial Archives of Alberta, Canada, to the National Museum of Denmark to the National Library of Ireland to the State Library of Queensland, Australia, there are some treasures to be found.

Check it out.

I’ll be busy sitting here turning green. Sigh… couldn’t one of my ancestors have sent in something like this…?


  1. Fraktur, undated; Mary Prior, widow’s pension application no. W-17496, for service of Ebenezer Prior (Connecticut); Revolutionary War Pensions and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, Record Group 15, National Archives; digital image, Flickr Photostream Album, “Revolutionary War Frakturs,” The U.S. National Archives ( : accessed 31 July 2016).
  2. About Flickr,” ( : accessed 31 July 2016).
  3. Fraktur, undated; Mehetabel Spencer, widow’s pension application no. W-19392, for service of Ebenezer Spencer (New Hampshire); Revolutionary War Pensions and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, Record Group 15, National Archives; digital image, Flickr Photostream Album, “Revolutionary War Frakturs,” The U.S. National Archives ( : accessed 31 July 2016).
  4. Ibid., Fraktur, undated; Susannah Smith, widow’s pension application no. W-15804, for service of Reuben Smith (New York).
  5. Ibid., Fraktur, undated; Hannah Skinner, widow’s pension application no. W-34976, for service of Daniel Skinner (Connecticut).
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