List of Private Claims – 1815-1881 – Online

John and Jane Q. Public have been petitioning Congress for all types of reasons for over 200 years. The reason for each request may vary – but Congress considered every request.

In 1880 the Senate, presided over by William A. Wheeler (1819-1887), authorized the publication of the List of Private Claims – that listed all claims brought before the Senate from 4 March 1815 to 3 March 1881. The list was so long – 2,056 pages – that the Senate published it in two volumes. This list is in GenealogyBank.

(Photo of William A. Williams, Library of Congress, digital ID cwpbh.03976)

The full title describes it: List of private claims brought before the Senate of the United States from the commencement of the Fourteenth Congress to the close of the Forty-sixth Congress. Prepared under the direction of the Secretary of the Senate, pursuant to the orders of the Senate of April 9, 1840; February 27, 1841; February 8, 1849; March 3, 1855; and March 16, 1866; the act of July 20, 1868, making appropriations for sundry civil expenses of the government for the year ending June 30, 1869; and the resolution of the Senate of June 16, 1880. December 21, 1880.

In these typical examples from volume 1, page 931 we see that:

H.W. Jernigan of Georgia had petitioned the Indian Affairs Committee for “Indemnity for Indian deprivations during the Creek War”

Martha Jernigan petitioned “For property stolen by the Indians in the Florida War”

John B. Jerome petitioned “For property destroyed during the War of 1812″

Jerome & McDougal – petitioned for the “Confirmation of land title”

Margaret Jerome petitioned for an “Increase of pension”

James Jewett petitioned to be released from prison.

Some were “passed” as John B. Jerome’s request and others, like James Jewett’s request were rejected.

You may search these volumes on GenealogyBank:

List of Private Claims ….. (1880/1881) – Volume One

List of Private Claims ….. (1880/1881) – Volume Two

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Tremendous Battle on Lake Ontario – War of 1812 – Team Looking for Wreck of HMS Wolfe

This month a Canadian dive team is expected to search the water near Kingston, Ontario for the wreck of the HMS Wolfe, later renamed the HMS Montreal.

Launched 5 May 1813 the HMS Wolfe was the flagship of the British fleet on Lake Ontario during the War of 1812. The ship was badly damaged by the USS General Pike under the command of US Commodore Isaac Chauncey on 28 August 1813.

The ship escaped and was repaired but did not return as the flagship for the British fleet. Years later the ship sunk off of Kingston, Ontario.
You can read the accounts of the battle as they were reported in the newspapers of the day in GenealogyBank.

(Tremendous Battle on Lake Ontario – Universal Gazette (Washington, DC) 8 Oct 1813). Click on the link above or the image (left) to read the article.

GenealogyBank has more than 3,800 newspapers, covering 1690 to today. It is the source that genealogists rely on to document the lives of their ancestors.

Read the news as it happened.

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GenealogyBank – packed with veteran’s records

Today is Veteran’s Day – I have many ancestors and cousins that served – from the days of the Colonial militia, the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 right up to today. In fact my brother and I joined the Navy when we were 17 – but that was a long time ago.

With Veteran’s Day in mind I started looking at the many resources in GenealogyBank for researching our family members that served in the military.

The Historical Documents section of GenealogyBank now has over 226,000 documents – it is packed with military records.
For example – here is one page from the published list of all lieutenants serving in the US Navy – as of 1832. The list gives their names; dates of appointment; ships they served on etc.

(US Congress. American State Papers. List of lieutenants in the Navy in 1832, and the sea service performed by each since his promotion. Communicated to the House of Representatives, June 16, 1832. American State Papers. 026, Naval Affairs Vol. 4; 22nd Congress, 1st Session Publication No. 483).

I decided to pick a name at random from this list just to see what else I could find out about him.

I selected John P. Zantzinger.

I quickly found that he was listed in multiple documents – the ships he served on – his rejected pay increase request for serving off the coast of Brazil – and other interesting details of his career.
Turning to the Historical Newspapers I found even more.
I found his marriage to Susan R. Hipkins – recorded in the Massachusetts newspaper, the Columbia Centennial (21 March 1821) even though they were married in North Carolina!

This article also filled in another detail – that his middle name was: Paul.

Then I found the sad news that 25 years later his wife died at Fauquier White Sulpher Springs, VA – an area then well known for the “restorative” powers of its natural sulpher springs.

Note that her obituary was published in the New London (CT) Morning News 18 Sep 1846 – even though her death occurred in Virginia.

TIP: Remember – a newspaper from across the country might have printed your ancestor’s marriage announcement or obituary. Don’t limit your search to just the newspapers in one state.

In all I found more than 1,500 records for Zantzinger.

GenealogyBank – makes it easy to search over 243 million records and documents for our ancestors.

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War of 1812 POW List

The War of 1812 ended 193 years ago with the US ratification of the Treaty of Ghent on 12 Feb 1815.

But even before the war was over the two sides were exchanging prisoners of war.

One of the problems and underlying causes of the war was British impressments of former British subjects who became naturalized US citizens. This continued as an issue when the British were not going to return former British citizens captured in the war.

These were real people – and their names are clearly spelled out in early documents. Here are pages of the names of American and British POWs that were being exchanged in 1813/1814.

This is a great genealogy resource – a good example of the strength of the detailed records found in GenealogyBank.

Military lists; pension records; land records; and more. GenealogyBank is packed with resources.


These detailed lists were easy to find in the 692 pages of this report – just type in the name – click and it takes you right to these pages.

There are 1.3 Billion names in GenealogyBank – in over 221 Million documents and records.

Give it a try right now and see what we have on your ancestors.