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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Waiting for More War of 1812 Pension Files

Fold3 website's War of 1812
Pension Files as of today.
Is that percentage of completion about to change anytime soon? 

I have been eagerly awaiting for the War of 1812 Pension Files at Fold3.com to move beyond the 65 percent complete mark -- I swear it has been squatting at that mark for-ever. There are a lot of us with surnames that start with the latter letters of the alphabet so I know I am not alone in this wait.

The other day I got an email announcing my next issue of Internet Genealogy would soon arrive in the mail. A link to the digital version of the magazine is included in the email. I usually download the PDF file but wait to read the magazine when it physically arrives in the mail.

Something caught my eye on this cover image ... "War of 1812: More Records than Ever!" So this time I read the article in the PDF version of the magazine because I couldn't wait. The seven page article points out what War of 1812 records and/or indexes can be found where on the internet and what can not be found online. 

Now the article does not say that records are about to be added to the Pension collection at Fold3 but February is fast approaching and February marks the 201st anniversary of the ratification of the treaty ending the War of 1812. (Of course, there still was some fighting after this since it was not an instant electronic communication, or an overnight shipping, or even a pony express world yet.)

February seems like a good time to add some images, doesn't it?

This wait got me thinking:  how has the progress bar on this collection moved over the years? On February 1, 2014, I wrote a blog post about finding the pension file of Amos Butler (and his wife.) At that time the progress bar had moved to 13 percent. Doing a search of the internet proved not really helpful to determining when additions to the collection were made over time. (I remember mentioning to other gene group members when records were added but I find I had not this information down.) The Way Back Time Machine at the Internet Archive website provided some answers with its "snapshots" of various website pages over the years. Though I didn't check every snapshot, here is what I found.


  • September 24, 2011, (the first snapshot of the page taken) showed the War of 1812 Pension Files collection at the Fold3 website had 71,668 records and was 1 percent complete. By December that year the collection was still at 1 percent with 113,422 records. (Remember there are a lot of pages to capture so each percentage point is a very large number of page images.)
  • On February 26, 2012, the collection was up to 2 percent complete with 162,252 records. By November that same year the collection was at 6 percent complete with 413,419 records.
  • The collection was up to 570,519 records or 8 percent complete in March 2013. In December 2013, the record number grew to 891,941 records or 12 percent complete.
  • February 14, 2014, shows the collection reached 975,734 or 13 percent and by November that year there were 1,549,344 records making the collection 54 percent complete.*
  • February 2015 shows the collection moved to 61 percent complete with a record count of 1,757,870 records. On June 12, the collection reached 65 percent. By October 3, 2015, the last snapshot available at the Time Machine, though the total record number grew to 1,899,946 records the percentage of completion remained at 65 percent. 


These last numbers hold steady as of today. No wonder it seems like it has been for-ever. Fold3 used to add records to the War of 1812 Pension Files collection on a regular basis but has not done so for quite a while.


Preserve the Pensions
website as of today.
At the Preserve The Pensions website, the numbers shown are: 4,001,500 images preserved meaning captured/scanned; and that there are 7.2 million (7,200,000) images total to be captured which will save 120,000 pension files.

Financially the fund raising drive to support this project is 59 percent complete.

A percentage of completion for capturing images is not given on the Preserve The Pensions webpage. But by my math that means the percentage of images (4,001,500 out of 7,200,000) captured is around 55.5 percent.

For me the math between the two sites has not made sense for a long time. If the total number of images to be captured is right, to me that would make the present-day percentage of completion at Fold3 more about 26.3 percent for the Pension collection. (Divide 1,899,946 by 7,200,000.) If a mistake in percentage did not occur back in 2014 (*see above) when an additional 573,610 images jumped the percentage of completion from 13 percent to 55 percent, then I can only guess that the 7,200,000 images to be captured is a wild estimate or may not be an agreed on number between the two organizations. Since the currently available images go up to the letter M for many states the real percent of collection completion at Fold3 could be anywhere in between.

Regardless of the numbers disparity in my eyes, I REALLY, REALLY hope that come February we get a large addition of new images for the War of 1812 Pension Files to honor the 201st anniversary of the ending of the War of 1812.

It's about time for an addition don't you think?

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