A garden of red, white, and blue

Photo by Walt Doyle
Photo by Walt Doyle

On this Memorial Day Weekend every city, town, and village in America will have its commemoration. At NEHGS and AmericanAncestors.org, we are continually inspired by the annual Memorial Day installation that takes place on the nearby Boston Common, just blocks from our headquarters in Back Bay.

On a slope of the Soldiers & Sailors Monument, more than 37,000 flags are waving in a garden of red, white, and blue in tribute to the active duty military casualties from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts recorded since the start of the Revolutionary War. It’s a dramatic reminder that here in the U.S. we’re privileged to be living in “the home of the free – because of the brave.”

Whether in Massachusetts or throughout the nation, undoubtedly there’s someone on your family tree who will be remembered in gratitude on this Memorial Day.

In the spirit of Memorial Day and to make your ancestral research even more productive this holiday weekend, AmericanAncestors.org and NEHGS have made several online military databases accessible FREE to all who wish to search for patriots in early American colonial wars.

Colonial Soldiers and Officers in New England, 1620-1775 is accessible FREE this weekend through next Wednesday, May 27. Prior to the American Revolution, many men served in the militia and fought against Native Americans, the French, and other opponents. Many of these battles were extensions of European wars. This database contains more than 35,000 records of service for individuals in Massachusetts and other New England states who served from the seventeenth century to the Battle of Lexington and Concord. These records, originally published by the New England Historic Genealogical Society with support from the Society of Colonial Wars in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, were compiled from many different sources to create as comprehensive a list as possible.

Massachusetts Revolutionary War Pensioners’ Receipts 1799-1807 and Massachusetts Revolutionary War Pensioners’ Receipts 1829-1837 are also accessible through Wednesday, May 27. Many of the soldiers who served during the Revolutionary War were given pensions from the federal government for their service. These manuscript collections at NEHGS contain a number of original receipts with the soldiers’ signatures, acknowledging the receipt of their pension funds. These two searchable databases contain images of these receipts, including the original signatures or marks of the pensioners.

Registration at AmericanAncestors.org is required as a FREE Guest Member to gain access to these valuable resources. Start your search for your ancestors who bravely served in our country’s colonial times today: http://www.americanancestors.org/memorialday.aspx.

About Jim Power

Leading the marketing communications division for AmericanAncestors.org and NEHGS, Jim Power is a veteran of several Madison Avenue agencies and of Boston’s own Polaroid Corporation where for more than a decade he directed the marketing services division of its Latin American & Caribbean unit, headquartered in Miami, Florida. More recently Jim was principal of a small marketing boutique firm, providing non-profits and businesses in Boston and on Cape Cod with creative marketing and public relations services. At NEHGS he directs all marketing initiatives for the organization and leads the public relations, press and conference divisions. Jim developed a passion for researching family history with the uncovering of the story of his paternal great-grandfather, a newspaper editor and publisher in the 19th Century south. The details of that family exploration led him to the further discovery of his family’s descendance from a Revolutionary War General in 1700s Georgia, and from a Tennessee pioneer who migrated to Texas in the 1830s and became one of the Republic of Texas’ first Texas Rangers. Until recently, none of these ancestors were known to him or to his family. Their discovery reveals understanding to uncommon family names, parallels of talent and of professions, and old tin-type portraits even reveal resemblances to living family members. NEHGS’ Director of Marketing & Sales thus claims witness to the adage that “Genealogy changes the chart, but uncovering our family history changes the heart.” To share the possibilities of that type of adventure with the New England Historic Genealogical Society’s growing membership through the marketing of the Society’s website, AmericanAncestors.org, and its many unique constituent services is the marketing division’s highest goal.

2 thoughts on “A garden of red, white, and blue

  1. It is so important to keep these fighting men & women in our thoughts and prayers. I have direct ancestors who fought in every war (beginning with one who was killed along with one of his sons in the Jewels Island massacre in 1676 during King Philip’s War) through World War 2, and cousins since then (Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War, etc). The only war I’m not sure a family member fought in is the Spanish American War, but I must admit I haven’t done much digging. Pension files are invaluable as they can contain information on relatives I was not previously unaware of. So happy these items can be searched online. Thanks, and keep up the great work!

  2. The only Rev. War pension file I’ve found so far, for an ancestor who served in the militia in SC as a teenager, runs to 40 pages, and is full of great genealogical information. I already knew a lot about him, but this tells me so much more about him as a person. I also have, from a 19th c. NH town history, information on another Rev. War ancestor who, if that’s to be believed, served with Washington at Valley Forge. Unfortunately, his name is extremely common in NH, and searching for his pension file has turned up too many hits from the same area to be helpful. Someday I’ll narrow it down and prove or disprove that story. Thanks for making these records available!

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