Monday, September 27, 2010

Florida Genealogical Society of Tampa Issues War of 1812 Challenge

The Florida Genealogical Society of Tampa, a member of the Federation of Genealogical Societies, held its annual Fall Seminar on Saturday, September 18th, 2010, featuring speaker Curt B. Witcher, the Federation's Vice-President for Development.  At the conclusion of Witcher's presentation on the use of military records for genealogical research, Witcher explained the War of 1812 "Preserve the Pensions" fund-raising project, and and its importance to the preservation and access of these tremendous, genealogically rich materials. He encouraged the audience to donate.

Drew Smith, President of the Florida Genealogical Society, responded by surprising Witcher with a check for $700 from the Florida Genealogical Society, representing $5 for every member of the Florida Genealogical Society.  Smith pointed out that the Florida Genealogical Society has, among the society's objectives, "to preserve historical records" and "to support access to public records."  As part of the presentation of the donation to the "Preserve the Pensions" fund, Smith challenged all other U.S. genealogical societies to make a comparable donation. 

The Federation of Genealogical Societies, in partnership with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), has a goal of raising $3.7 million to digitize the War of 1812 pension files and make them freely available to the general public at the NARA website.  Societies and individuals are strongly encouraged to donate to the fund.  More information can be found here.

Is your society up to the challenge? It's simple to donate to the "War of 1812 - Preserve the Pensions Fund." You can learn much more and see examples of these important records at You can learn more - and donate - at that page. Your society can simply write a check to "FGS-1812 Fund" and mail it to the Federation of Genealogical Societies, P.O. Box 200940, Austin, TX 78720-0940.

Help us get the word out! We invite you to view examples of the rich War of 1812 Pension files at and to help spread the word about this very important project by visiting images will be digitized and indexed, and they will be made available for free at ational Archives and Records Administration website for everyone to access.

You can help! Take the challenge back to your society, and make your personal donation today. Every donation helps make access to these great genealogical and historical records available to everyone!

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