©2021 Donald R. Snow -- This page last updated 2021-10-09

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ABSTRACT:  HeritageQuest Online (HQO) is a website that is free through libraries by using your library card bar code.  It has many family history reocrds and can be used at home or anywhere you can get to the internet.  This class discuss the U.S. Revolutionary War Pension files it has, what these are, how to search them, and how to download or do screenshots of what you want.  Other classes will deal with other family history information that HQO contains.  The notes for this class, with active links and related articles, are posted on my website  http://uvtagg.org/classes/dons/dons-classes.html .


  1. Instructor is Donald R. Snow ( snowd@math.byu.edu ) of Provo and St. George, Utah.
  2. The notes for this class with active URLs, as well as additional information in other notes and articles, are posted at http://uvtagg.org/classes/dons/dons-classes.html .
  3. Tips:  (1)  To put an icon on your desktop for these notes, or any webpage, just drag the icon from in front of the address in your browser onto your desktop.  (2)  To open a link, but keep your place in these notes, hold down the Control key while clicking the link.
  4. The problem for today:  What is HeritageQuest Online, how do you use it, and what are the Revolutionary War Pension Records that it contains?

  6. HeritageQuest Online is a website that libraries can subscribe to for their patrons to use at home through their library's website by logging on with their library card bar code. 
  7. HQO contains all U.S. censuses, many FH books, city directories, Freeman's Bank (Ex-Slave) Records, U.S. Government records, and, for our discussion in this class, U.S. Revolutionary War Pension Recoods.
  8. Many U.S. states have HQO available with any public library card from that state through a state-wide library website; in Utah this is  https://onlinelibrary.utah.gov/heritagequest-online/.
  9. Articles and helps
    1. Several FamilySearch Research Wiki articles are at HeritageQuest Online and lists many libraries that have it, including all Family History Centers 
    2. An article about its history is at https://about.proquest.com/en/products-services/HeritageQuest-Online/ .
    3. A two-page pdf outline of HQO is at https://about.proquest.com/globalassets/proquest/files/pdf-files/brochures/heritagequest_online_datasheet.pdf .
  10. HQO is sponsored by ProQuest and powered by Ancestry, whatever that means.
  11. The U.S. Revolutionary War was 1775-1783 when the U.S. became an independent nation and Congress started offering pensions and bounty land grants for veterans and their descendants.
  12. Thes applications for these are what is on HQO -- It lacks some, and all are on Ancestry; they contain lots of  genealogical information 
  13. A description of these records on HQO says there are about 80,000 applications in this collection.
  14. Each application is for the pension for one individual, but may mention many family members, so the collection includes 100s of 1000s of names and they are all searchable, so if you have any ancestor in the U.S. about that time, you may find them listed in here.
  15. Each file has many handwritten pages, the average being about 30 pages, with some as large as 200 pages. 

  17. Search terms can include surname, given name, city, state, year, etc. -- It is usually better to search with fewer terms to begin and only add words when you get too many hits.
  18. The search form says something about NARA (National Archives) and Annestry, so they are involved.
  19. As an example, I tried surname Snow and state Massachusetts and got about 15 hits which is doable.
  20. Clicking on one of the hits got me that pension applciaton which I could look through.
  21. There is an option to get each image, one at a time, by an email link from the NARA (National Records Administration), but you can also do screenshots of each page by clicking on the Save button (top right corner) or using a screenshot program - you have to click to go to the next page of the file and save each page separately.
  22. Since these are all handwritten records in cursive from the 1800s, you need to be able to read this, but you may be able to find names on the page, even if you can't read everything.
  23. The Save button saves them to your computer as jpg's and it helps to save them into file folders to keep them together for each person.

  25. This collection was filmed many years ago from the federal government records and some of the films are not very good, but you may be able to improve the clarity of the image by an image editing program, e.g. Irfanview (free from  https://www.irfanview.com/ ).
  26. The hardest part of using this will probably by reading the old handwriting, but you may find some really helpful genealogical information here.
  27. It's worth a try for all names of your ancestors that were in the U.S. in about the 1790-1850 period. Good luck.
  28. Other classes will discuss other parts of HQO.
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