04 April 2017

Book Review: The War of 1812 in British North America

The sub-title tells it all -- Searching for your Ancestors Elusive War Records.

When author Kenneth G. Cox found himself lamenting the lack of a comprehensive inventory of Canadians who served during the War of 1812, not so for US and British regular forces, he set out to do something about it.
The result is this self-published book which is, in Cox's words, "an attempt to compile some of the records which do exist, although by no means exhaustive." Relevant documents continue to be uncovered.

To get you started on the right foot the first Chapter "Beginning Your Research" gives a little background on the war, an overview of resources from the main repositories, plus a ten-step guide to research.
The following chapters, many of which include appendices with lists of names or contents of archival microfilm, delve into the various sources.
Your Ancestor's Army: Muster Rolls and Pay lists
Your Ancestor's Navy: Ships' Musters and Seamen's Wills
The Records of the Loyal and Patriotic Society
Prince Regent's Bounty and Land Grants to Veterans
The War Losses Claims Commission
The 1875 Bounty paid to surviving veterans of The War of 1812
The Records of the Military and Naval General Service Medals
The Records of the Chelsea Pensioners, Royal Hibernian Military School and Greenwich Hospital
Searching for First Nation Warriors
American Records: Soldiers, Traitors, Prisoners of War, Colonial Marines and Black Refugees
Transcribed records, Rare books, Manuscripts and Documents.
The book does not venture far into the history of the war. Several resources developed during the bicentenary are available online.

Sadly there is no index. I looked for mention of De Watteville's Regiment and had to scan every page. You will likely notice font changes between chapters and some 
formatting problems 
which are annoyances without distracting from the content.

While I don't have ancestors or known relatives who served during the war, if I did I'd be continuing to refer to Cox's book to ensure a reasonably exhaustive search.

My review copy was provided by Global Genealogy, not the publisher but responsible for printing and distributing the book. Find it for sale at http://globalgenealogy.com/countries/canada/military/resources/301405.htm


Anonymous said...

I will almost never purchase a book without a good index, unless perhaps if it was printed a hundred years ago. They are tooooom tedious to use for research. Cheers, BT

Anonymous said...

I have found this era of Canadian Military Research quite challenging, and this Author's books have helped me in my Research! As a fan of Kenneth G. Cox's previous two books: "A Call to the Colours" and "Patriots, Reformers, Rebels & Raiders"; I will certainly be purchasing this book as well! Index or not, I have found this Author's books to be well researched and are thoroughly explained to the reader.