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 Fold3.com. 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 Fold3.com 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.