FGS has recently announced the largest donation thus far in the Preserve the Pensions Project with a $135,000 gift from the Estate of Jon Stedman of Denton, Texas.
The project to digitize the seven million pages of pension files arising out of the War of 1812, continues a long tradition of coordinated projects initiated by the genealogical community to preserve and improve access to records of value for those who share our passion.
In the thirty-five years since its founding, the Federation of Genealogical Societies (and its member societies), in collaboration with archivists and other records custodians, have invested both time and treasure in projects ranging from the initial Malcolm S. Stern NARA Gift Fund project to create a microform finding aid to The Cross Index to Selected City Streets and Enumeration Districts, 1910 Census to the immense Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System indexing project.
Never before have we attempted to raise funds from within our community on this scale. None of our previous projects have come near requiring $3.5 million.
I suggest that as we succeed in achieving this goal, the benefits will go well beyond this particular set of records. This accomplishment will also enhance our standing in the broader community as a real force to be reckoned with, especially with legislators who might be weighing measures that might limit our access.