Sunday, March 2, 2014

Research at the New Hampshire State Archives

The New Hampshire State Archives has a wealth of sources to assist you in researching your 1790 families. Below are a few of their holdings.
  • Provincial court records
  • Land records
  • Probate records
  • Original petitions, with an online index
  • Warnings Out
  • Revolutionary War rolls
For a full description of their holdings, check out the "Guide to Archives" on their website. Just pick a letter and scroll through it to get a general idea of how the guide is arranged. Then, search by town, county, or subject, and you're off and running!

During your visit, take advantage of the card indexes to probate and land records. You'll be amazed at the amount of information on those cards!

Visit the archives at 71 South Fruit Street in Concord.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

1790 Families and the War of 1812 Pension Files

Researching 1790 families can be a daunting task. Our fledgling government was only beginning to create the types of records that contain the genealogical treasures we seek. Early census records identify the heads of our ancestral households (and their oft-neglected friends and neighbors), but offer little else to help us flesh out other family members. 

Application of claimant, 18 April 1878, Sarah Bagley, 
widow’s pension application no. W.O. 16641; service 
of William Bagley (Pvt., Capt. P. Webster’s Co., N.H. 
Mil., War of 1812), pension no. W.C. 8312; War of 
1812 Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application 
Files; Department of Veterans Affairs, Records Group 15; 
National Archives, Washington, D.C.; digital image, 
Fold3 ( : accessed 26 January 2014), image 
no. 21 of 23. 
Until now, Revolutionary War Pension applications have been one of the most valuable online sources for unlocking the secrets of our 1790 families. Now, we are slowly gaining online access to pension applications for the War of 1812. In observance of the bicentennial of “America’s Second Revolution,” Preserve the Pensions partnered with the Federation of Genealogical Societies, the National Archives,, and to digitize the records, which include bounty land application files.

The records are being made available as they are completed, and are accessible at for free! They are being processed in alphabetical order by surname, and as of this date, applications through the letter "F" have been posted. Even if your ancestor’s record has not yet been posted, he or a family member may have testified in someone else’s application, so you can begin your search today!

The War of 1812 pension applications are one of the most-requested collections at the National Archives, and the years of wear and tear have left them in a very fragile state. So digitization is critical if we are to preserve and retain access to this valuable genealogical resource. The project is funded by private donations, and you can become a part of it by visiting the website at and making a contribution. For every dollar contributed, four more pages are digitized and made accessible. matches every dollar you contribute, so your $20 donation actually becomes $40 . . . another 160 pages of pension records!

So go to and see if your ancestors are among these records. Good luck and enjoy the search!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Fall NHSOG Meeting in Concord

Saturday's meeting of the New Hampshire Society of Genealogists in Concord was a great success. Diane Gravel led two presentations focusing on 1790 New Hampshire research, Fleshing out the Families of the 1790 Census and A State Treasure: The New Hampshire Historical Society, and Carol Swaine-Kuzel led a presentation focused on the New Hampshire Families in 1790 blog, How to Use the NH Families 1790 blog. The handouts for both presentations are available for viewing or download from this website under the Project Handouts heading on the right side of this page.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Focus on New Hampshire Families in 1790 at NHSOG meeting

Our next New Hampshire Society of Genealogists meeting will feature presentations on the New Hampshire Families in 1790 project. Diane Gravel will lead two presentations on "Fleshing Out the Families of the1790 Census" and Carol Swaine-Kuzel will lead a presentation on "How to Use the NHSOG 1790 Families Blog." The meeting will begin at 10:00 A.M. at the Holiday Inn, 172 North Main Street in Concord, New Hampshire. The cost for the event is $15.00 for members and $20.00 for non-members. If you are planning to attend please email Hal Inglis at

Monday, September 16, 2013

National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair

For the first time the National Archives held their annual genealogy fair online. The event occurred live on September 3 and 4. Presentations and handouts for thirteen sessions are available for viewing at The topics highlight the treasure trove of holdings at the National Archives, including military records, alien registration files, and Native American records. I want to thank colleague John Allen for directing me to this wonderful online resource

Monday, July 1, 2013

Using Town and County Histories for 1790 Family Research

First, we must remember that most county histories are undocumented, so the information should be used as clues for finding more reliable original sources. That being said, county histories are often rich with tales and details about our ancestors and the communities in which they lived. Here’s an example from the Gazetteer of Grafton County.

Winthrop Bagley, of Taunton, was born in 1762, served in the Revolution, and at the close of the war, came to this town and settled upon the place now occupied by George H. Blasdell, on road 22. He run a tavern for several years, and the sign used is still in the family.1

If you are a descendant of Winthrop Bagley, you can use this information to search for original records, perhaps beginning in Taunton, Massachusetts. You can also search for military records to verify his Revolutionary service. As of 1886 which the Gazetteer was published, Winthrop’s tavern sign was still in the possession of family members. I wonder if any of Winthrop’s descendants still live in the area and might still be holding on to that sign!

This is just a sample of the gems that lie in town and county histories. These publications often include transcribed town records and land ownership maps. Many are online, free of charge, at Google Books ( or (  



[1] Hamilton Child, Gazetteer of Grafton County, N.H., 1709==1886 (Syracuse: The Syracuse Journal Company, 1886), p. 629; digital image at Google Books ( : accessed 1 July 2013.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Revolutionary War Pension Files on

Revolutionary War pension files may provide extensive information for researching a 1790 U.S. Census head-of-household. The complete set of Revolutionary War pension files are available for searching and viewing on the subscription website Alternately, one can request a print version of pension files from the National Archives (NARA). However, the printed copy from the National Archives may or may not be complete. In order to save time and expense in copying and shipping a complete copy NARA will copy selected pages from the pension file, and as a result significant information may be omitted. Access to the pension files on provides great benefit as these records contain the complete pension file.

Searching pension files on Fold3 can bear interesting and surprising results. Even if an ancestor did not apply for a Revolutionary War pension he may have provided written testimony about his service for another pension applicant. Some pension files may contain first-hand accounts of an ancestor’s service through letters or journals. The Revolutionary War journal of my fourth great-grandfather, Nathan Stickney, is included in his pension file. Nathan’s wife Mehitable (Burpee) Stickney submitted the journal as part of her application for his pension benefits after his death.