Revolutionary War Project Needs 'Citizen Archivists'

NPS needs volunteers to pore over old pension records of our 'first veterans'
By Steve Huff,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 6, 2023 1:20 PM CDT
Project to Reveal Untold Revolutionary War Stories
Colonial reenactors from the 24th Connecticut Militia, in a file photo.   (Dave Scherbenco/The Citizens' Voice via AP)

For Americans who love exploring historic documents, it's a call to arms: The National Archives has joined with the National Park Service in asking the public to help reveal previously unknown stories from the Revolutionary War. Per CNN, it's called the Revolutionary War Pension Files Transcription Project and it seeks volunteers to sift through and transcribe the contents of documents connected to 83,000 soldiers from the era—everything from "marriage licenses [to] wartime letters and soldiers' diaries." This is, in essence, a mission to permanently record 150 years' worth of records dating from the War for Independence up through the 20th century, as well as mark the United States' upcoming 250th birthday in 2026.

Specifically, the NPS seeks "citizen archivists" to assist in transcribing the "Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land-Warrant Application Files, NARA Record Group 15, M804." The Park Service describes the collection as a "the memories and experiences of Revolutionary War veterans and their widows," and says it "has largely gone untapped by all but the most expert and intrepid researchers." Many veterans were illiterate, and the records are often their oral testimonies made in front of witnesses. If you want to volunteer, register here. The task, which doesn't require previous experience, is meant to "unlock these stories of our first veterans," Suzanne Isaacs, community manager for the National Archives Catalog, tells CNN. (More Revolutionary War stories.)

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