Ancestry.com Helps Americans Discover Their Patriotic Roots With Launch of New Collection of Revolutionary War Records

60 Percent of Americans Have Ancestors who Lived in America during the Revolution; One in 40 have Relatives who Fought in the War

Jul 01, 2010, 00:01 ET from Ancestry.com

PROVO, Utah, July 1 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Sixty percent of Americans (183 million) have ancestors who lived in America during the Revolutionary War, according to Ancestry.com, the world's largest online family history resource. This and other estimations regarding how present-day Americans relate to this country's founding are being made available to celebrate today's launch on Ancestry.com of one of the premier collections of Revolutionary War records. Ancestry.com has added a collection of Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files to its expansive collection of military records.

"It is human nature to want to create connections to the past through our family ancestry," said Christopher Tracy, senior vice president of content for Ancestry.com. "It is wonderful when those personal stories intersect with our shared history as a nation. We hope this new collection will enable millions of Americans to discover their patriotic roots, while inspiring them to explore the rich history of our nation's founding."

In the years during and following the Revolutionary War, the federal government provided pensions for servicemen. The Colonial and U.S. governments also awarded bounty-land warrants to soldiers as an inducement to or reward for service. This new collection of records contains approximately 80,000 application files from officers and enlisted men who served in the Revolutionary War. The documents will be added to Ancestry.com's existing collection of approximately 2 million Revolutionary War records.

"If it wasn't for Ancestry.com, I may have gone through life without knowing of my family's personal connection to two of the Founding Fathers: Thomas Jefferson and George Washington," explained John Campbell of Gibsonia, PA. "Thanks to Ancestry.com, I discovered that my 3rd great-grandfather originally came to America from Italy at the request of none other than Thomas Jefferson, who hired him as his personal vintner in Monticello. He then went on to serve in George Washington's Cavalry."  

Millions more stories like this are waiting to be discovered on Ancestry.com. To further demonstrate the deep connection many Americans have to the past and to the birth of the nation, Ancestry.com has found that*:

  • 183 million Americans have ancestors who lived in America during the Revolutionary War—more than half the U.S. population
  • 7.2 million Americans (one in 40) have an ancestor who fought in the Revolutionary War for either the British or American side. Of those, 6.3 million (87 percent) have ancestors who fought as revolutionaries defending America's cause of liberty
  • More individuals would prefer to be related to Benjamin Franklin above other Founding Fathers (according to an Ancestry.com Facebook poll)

* Numbers derived using U.S. non-immigrant population growth model 1790-2010.

More about the Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files

The pension applications included in this collection are the result of the first pension legislation for the Colonies. The legislation, which was the predecessor to our current veterans benefit programs, provided for disability benefits and was enacted in 1776. Service pensions were approved in 1778, and 1780 saw the first pensions for widows and dependents.

The Colonial and U.S. governments also awarded bounty-land warrants to soldiers. Bounty-land warrants assigned rights to land in the public domain to soldiers and their heirs who met eligibility requirements related to their service.

In this collection, Ancestry.com visitors will find a host of compelling information and rich detail that brings each applicant's personal story to life, including information such as the soldier's name, rank, unit, time of service, age, date of birth, residence and sometimes birthplace. A widow's application may also include her maiden name and date and place of her husband's death.

This collection of Revolutionary War records is part of the Ancestry.com U.S. Military Collection, which includes more than 100 million names in records that span the 1600s through Vietnam. For anyone interested in discovering their revolutionary ancestry, visit www.ancestry.com/revolutionarywar.

About Ancestry.com Inc.

Ancestry.com Inc. (Nasdaq: ACOM) is the world's largest online family history resource, with more than one million paying subscribers. More than 5 billion records have been added to the site in the past 13 years. Ancestry users have created more than 17 million family trees containing over 1.7 billion profiles. Ancestry.com has local Web sites directed at nine countries, including its flagship Web site at http://www.ancestry.com.

SOURCE Ancestry.com



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