Gravesite Project - New Jersey Veterans of the War of 1812
The New Jersey Society initiated a concerted effort to find as many 1812 Veterans gravesites located in the State as possible.
The first source of information was a survey of “cemetery books” located in the State Library in Trenton, which took place in December 2005.
The next step was locating and examining “Grave Registration Record” cards that are supposed to be kept in each of the 21 counties. The 4X6 cards, using a standard form, were developed as a WPA work project during the Depression in the 1930’s.
The cards are usually arranged alphabetically by surname. Veterans of all wars can be listed. The cards can provide personal information, military information, and burial location.
By September 2010, all available cards were examined by volunteers. In some counties, as many as 30,000 cards were examined in order to extract 1812 Veterans.
One might ask, “How many gravesites could there be?” Our research indicates “...two months before war was declared New Jersey had begun to place herself in a condition to defend her seacoasts and harbors. The Congress of the United States passed an Act (on April 10, 1812) to authorize a detachment from the militia of the United States.” “That the President (Madison)…is authorized to take effectual measure to organize, arm, and equip …..one hundred thousand militia.”
“On the 25th of April, 1812 (NJ) Governor Joseph Bloomfield issued an order to mobilize 5000 of the militia of the State for immediate service.”
We thought we were looking for a minimum of 5000 gravesites. We realize some New Jersey military personnel may be buried in locations outside of New Jersey. We also recognize, since the terms of service were 3, 6 and 13 month enlistments, the turnover must have been great and that therefore, Veterans would number more than 5000.
We were disappointed in the number we found even though we believed the source was very adequate. We are at a loss to explain the great difference, but we have learned that keeping records of Veterans' burials is not approached as enthusiastically today as it was in the past. It was very distressing to note that some counties have no records at all of early Veteran burial sites and even today many Veterans Services Offices, or in fact any other government office is not recording the location of Veterans' burials.
All in all, this was a daunting project that involved many hundreds of hours for data collection and posting. We are proud that we have been able to indentify the gravesites of more than 825 Veterans of the War of 1812. We will be certain our data is safeguarded by securing it in a number of public locations, especially the Archives of the State of New Jersey.
If you, the reader, would like to assist with this project in any manner or have any questions, please contact Robert Fenner, Chair of the Gravesite Project, at firstname.lastname@example.org.