Question: How do I prove my ancestor was in the Revolutionary War so I can join the DAR or the SAR?
Answer: A variation of this question shows up in our Ask an Expert mailbox on a regular basis. And with July 4th a few days away, it seems like a perfect time to answer this one!
DAR, Daughters of the American Revolution , and SAR, Sons of the American Revolution, are two lineage societies that recognize descendants of people who served or help the patriot cause during the American Revolution.
You may have examined some SAR applications in U.S., Sons of the American Revolution Membership Applications, 1889–1970, or spent some time searching Daughters of the American Revolution Lineage Books (152 Vols.).
So if you think you do have a Revolutionary ancestor, what’s next?
I’ve never applied myself, so I consulted with a friend, Kathleen Cogbill Warr, who has helped many would-be daughters and sons in their quest for DAR or SAR membership. She gave me these useful tips:
- Contact your local chapter and work with the chapter registrar, who will be up to date on the newest rules for applicants and can help guide you through the application process.
- Sketch out the line between you and the ancestor you’ve identified as your patriot. Remember, it has to be in your direct line, and adoptions don’t count.
- You will need proof to connect each generation between you and your Revolutionary ancestor. Another person’s tree doesn’t count as proof; you need documentation.
- However, you can “piggyback” off proven lines. If your second cousin has already joined, you can prove your connection back to your shared great-grandparent and use that connection to join yourself.
- Make sure your generations make sense. If a father died before a child was conceived, that won’t pass muster.
- You don’t necessarily need proof of marriage for a couple, but you do need proof of parentage.
- Even if you don’t have a patriot you know, or you haven’t proven one, attend a local chapter meeting. You can network with DAR/SAR members who can offer you advice and helpful information.
- Read the instructions! You might have what you need to be successful, but putting it in the right format is half of the process.
Happy Fourth of July and Happy Searching!
About Anne Gillespie Mitchell
Anne Gillespie Mitchell is a Senior Product Manager at Ancestry.com. She is an active blogger on Ancestry.com and writes the Ancestry Anne column. She has been chasing her ancestors through Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina for many years. Anne holds a certificate from Boston University's Online Genealogical Research Program. You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook and Finding Forgotten Stories.