It turns out that family really is in the genes, and even the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) acknowledges that.

DNA is a new frontier for the DAR, the volunteer service organization made up of women descended from Revolutionary soldiers, which recently started accepting DNA evidence as partial proof of lineage.

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Three types of DNA tests are commercially available to genealogists these days, each testing for different types of genetic markers:

  • Mitochondrial DNA (passes from mother to child)
  • Autosomal DNA (a child receives a random combination of DNA from each parent)
  • Y-DNA (passes from father to son)
  • It’s Y-DNA that the DAR is interested in because this is the DNA that a Revolutionary War veteran would definitely have passed down. Because Y-DNA passes only through the male line, women wanting to apply for DAR membership and use Y-DNA must have a male relative tested.

    Even with advances in genetic testing, Y-DNA results are still only one link in the chain of proof. An applicant still has to provide other, more traditional documentation as well because, while DNA results can link an applicant to a family, they cannot prove that a person descends from a specific individual. This is where sites like Ancestry, with its billions of records and online trees, come into the picture. The DAR also offers online genealogy classes, including “DNA and DAR: Using DNA as a Piece of the Evidence for a DAR application,” to bring interested potential members up to speed as they use 21st-century science to connect with 18th-century patriots.

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