04 April 2014

New Revolutionary War Records -- Congressional claims files -- Citizen Archivist Project

We love learning about records that are newly available to a broad audience, especially if they are records typically under-utilized due to their previous obscurity!

Such is the case with Congressional Claims.

The immediate purpose of the [Citizen Archivist Project] work is two-fold: first, to provide box level descriptions of claims made to Congress by participants in the Revolutionary War, and their heirs or assigns; and second, to introduce students of history, library and/or archival science to the user experience as researchers.  To that end, we have assigned to our student interns the work to produce box-lists of the contents of Congressional claims files papers.   The interns have to determine from the limited finding-aides that already exist, what papers to request for a particular committee, like the Committee on Revolutionary Pensions, or the Committee on Military Affairs, etc. These committee papers, petitions and memorials are requested from the legislative archivists and each document is reviewed.  A synopsis is then made listing more-or-less the relevant data; including at the very least the names of claimants, dates, basic nature of the claim and page count.

Read this post, Archives Fair at the US National Archives, which talks about what has been done in these records for the 16th Congress. Here is an example of two entries:

Ward, Jonathan, 4 January 1820
Report of the Committee on Pensions and Revolutionary Claims in the case of Jonathan Ward, son of Stephen Ward– pension not granted (1)

Ward, Samuel, 21January 1820
Report of the Committee on Pensions and Revolutionary Claims in the case of Samuel Ward– relief granted (1)

Here is a link to a list of claimants for the 17th Congress – Project Update. I’m sure there are even more goodies available.

Want to become a Citizen Archivist?  Check out the Citizen Archivist Dashboard. We wrote about this project as it went live over two years ago. NARA Citizen Archivist Dashboard Live!

Want to keep upon the news from this exciting project?  If so, consider “liking” its Facebook page.

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