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Review – Revolutionary War Pensions

Revolutionary War Pensions

The title Revolutionary War Pensions – Awarded by State Governments 1775-1874, the General and Federal Governments Prior to 1814, and by Private Acts of Congress to 1905 may seem long and a mouthful but it does not even begin to describe this gold mine of a genealogy research resource.

The author, genealogist and Revolutionary War expert Lloyd de Witt Bockstruck has spent considerable time and energy taking many different sources to hammer together this tome with close to 1,100 pages. While a researcher could access the many different federal and state resources Bockstruck used to reconstruct Revolutionary War pension records, Revolutionary War Pensions is a convenient way to research your ancestors who served in the Revolutionary War.

Reconstructing Lost Pension Files

So why is this such a valuable and long-awaited resource? As Bockstruck describes in his introduction, Revolutionary War Pensions is:

” . . . an attempt to identify and recreate the Revolutionary War pension files generated prior to the disastrous conflagration  in the War Department on 8 November 1800, which destroyed nearly a quarter-century of records. Despite the best efforts on the part of the War and Treasury Departments to reconstruct the files . . . .

“. . . a second and even more disastrous fire occurred during the War of 1812 on 24 August 1814 with the British invasion of Washington. The second fire effectively destroyed all the pension files from 1776 to 1814.”

Bockstruck has been able to effectively “reconstruct” the files for over 16,500 pensioners. In doing so, he used various sources including pension records from the governments of each of the original thirteen states as well as acts of Congress between 1792 and 1840.

Besides the more than 16,500 pensioners listed, over 15,000 additional individuals are mentioned including widows and family members. Entries also include service dates, dates of battles and engagements, wounds received, and more.


The soft cover book is fully indexed by surname and also includes Bockstruck’s background information on each resource. Especially helpful is the breakdown by state of each resource and what acts of each state legislature were enacted to create pensions, disburse payments and collect information.

Revolutionary War Pensions is a “must have” for any professional genealogist whose client research involves Revolutionary War soldiers. In addition, individuals with extensive early American roots should consider purchasing Revolutionary War Pensions.

Disclosure statement: I was contacted by Genealogical Publishing Co. via mail to review Revolutionary War Pensions and a complimentary copy was delivered to me. After reviewing the book, I will be giving the copy away in a contest here at GeneaBloggers and in conjunction with GeneaBloggers Radio.  To review the other material connections I have with genealogy vendors, please see Disclosure Statements.

©2011, copyright Thomas MacEntee

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