I’ve done so much research on the Whitman family of Greenbrier County, West Virginia that I suspect I could spout family trees in my sleep. But in all my years working on this family I never even considered War of 1812 records. Which is a terrible admission to make. Afterall, the three sons of the family were all of age to have fought in that war. So while at the National Archives this week I decided to look for 1812 pensions. Nothing. But on a whim I checked the Compiled Service Records and to my amazement I found that oldest brother William Whitman and middle brother George Whitman both served in the 79th (February – March 1815) Virginia Militia. The company was commanded by Capt James Kincaid and they served 17 days. There is no information in the record regarding why they were mustered or where they served. My guess is that they were called up “just in case” and never actually left Greenbrier County. But I could be wrong. I’ll have to research the 79th Militia Regiment to see what I can discover.
Revolutionary War Service records are sometimes a gold mine when the ancestor never applied for a pension. By researching Whitman and Holly men who have compiled service records for New York/New Jersey, I am slowly developing a kinship cluster that may lead to a maiden name for the mother of the Whitman brothers (see para above) In the Revolutionary war – the Regiments and various militias were nearly always location based. So if a group of men with the same reasonably unusual surname appear in the same regiment they probably resided in the same local. This is a much slower process than pulling names from the pension files. But not every ancestor had the good sense to apply for a pension.