Monday, November 11, 2013


I've been concentrating on my Ellingwood/Ellenwood/Ellinwood lines lately in my
research work on Ancestry. Usually when I sign on there now the majority of "shaking
leave" hints have to do with someone from those lines, but today there was a record
hint for my 3x great granduncle Caleb Benson Barrows. When I clicked on it, it turned out
to be for an entry in the War of 1812 Pension Application Files Index.

This puzzled me. Let me explain why.

The Fold3 website has been scanning & posting the War of 1812 Pension files for awhile
now and making them available for FREE on the site. As with any project of this size it is
a slow process, and they've been posting  them alphabetically by surname. In fact, it
was a little over a year now that I discovered the file there for my 3x great grandfather
Nathaniel Barker.  When I found that, I immediately checked for other relatives who
lived during the period and might have served, and kept checking back as more surnames
beginning with other letters were added. (They've now moved on into the names beginning
with the letter E). But at no time had I seen Caleb Benson Barrows listed under the B's.

So when I saw the hint from Ancestry, I immediately went over to Fold3 site and checked
the "Browse All Records" function for the War of 1812. I narrowed my search down to
just the 1812 Pension Files for Maine, Letter B, surname Barrows, and still came up with
the same two names that have been there for awhile. This is how the screen looks:

Still no Caleb Benson Barrows. I checked under Massachusetts, since the family came
from Plympton, then New Hampshire, where Caleb's father Asa Barrows had moved,
and still no luck.  Finally, I entered Caleb Benson Barrows in the Search box, and  nothing. Then I went back to the Fold3 main page and tried the Search box there using different variations on the name until finally I just tried Barrows and then the 1812 files
on the site wide search.

And voila, there he was, thirty images for Caleb B. Barrows' 1812 Pension file, and just
before him,  twenty images for the pension of his brother Asa. I was able to verify they
were my relatives by the included statements of their widows and siblings. Both files
are for their widows' survivor claims.

There's two lessons here: the first, I need to remind myself to go the extra step when
searching a site and use the Search functions and not just rely on indexes.

The second has to do with Ancestry. A lot of people are worried about  the recent
purchases of Fold3 and Find A Grave and what they might mean for our research. Well,
if I hadn't seen that shaking leaf hint over at Ancestry I might have found the files for
Caleb B. and Asa A. Barrows eventually, but this way, I found them much sooner! 
Now I need to contact Fold3 and let them know about this.


Anonymous said...

Fold and Ancestry are integrated now. When you find a record on Fold and you have an Ancestry account Fold allows you to attach a web link on the person in Ancestry. My guess is that some other member saved the fold web link to your common ancestor and it became a hint for you. But the exact link was not to the person just to Fold in general.

Fold3 said...


Great post about a successful hunt. The Fold3 browse is a great tool however in this instance because the Barrow were under "US" and not "Maine or Mass." The general site search as you found will help in this case as will always checking the "US" organization when searching with Fold3 browse.

Anonymous said...

Before searching a collection, it is helpful to understand the metadata fields of the index. In this case, the index is absolutely correct because Caleb Burrows served in the US Infantry. And thus, the State/Organization field is US because it reflects the affiliation of his military unit (not place of residence or enlistment).