Posted by Laura Renda on July 6, 2017 in Guest Bloggers

As we celebrate the founding of this great nation, many will wonder, “What role did my ancestors play in establishing the freedoms we enjoy today?” You may be surprised by what you discover. As a nation, we honor the founding fathers, who risked their lives and liberty to declare our independence, but many others contributed to bringing about the success of the Revolution. We pay tribute to all who fought and gave support to establish the United States of America.

Society of the Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence

Of the numerous patriotic societies in America, membership in the Society of the Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence stands as one of the most distinguished and honored.

The Declaration of Independence is considered one of the three greatest documents in the English-speaking world. The other two include the Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights. Fifty-six men signed their name to this inspired document, demonstrating one of the greatest acts of patriotism ever known to humanity. Their bravery and courage was the foundation for the freedoms we enjoy as citizens of this great nation.

Membership requirements for the Society of the Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence:

Membership is available to proven descendants of those men who signed the Declaration of Independence. What is the difference between related and descended? If you are a grandchild, great-grandchild, etc. you are a descendant. If the Signer is a cousin, great uncle, etc., you are related to the Signer. While it is impressive to say you are related to a Signer, you must be a descendant to qualify for membership in this Society.

Out of the 56 signers, 43 of them had descendants.

National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) or (DAR)

Founded in 1890, this society was created to “perpetuate the memory and spirit of the women and men who achieved American Independence.” This is a charitable organization dedicated to historic preservation, education and patriotism.

NSDAR includes 180,000 members, known as “Daughters,” with 3,000 chapters in all 50 states and Washington, D.C, as well as international chapters. Membership is available to any woman 18 years or older-regardless of race, religion, or ethnic background-who can prove lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution.

The NSDAR defines a “patriot” as one who provided service or direct assistance in achieving America’s independence, such as signers of the Declaration of Independence, military service, civil service, or patriotic service.

National Society Sons of the American Revolution (NSSAR) or (SAR)

This society was founded in 1889 with the goal to “perpetuate the memory of those who, by their services or sacrifices during the war of the American Revolution, achieved the independence of the American People.”

SAR is a patriotic, historical, and educational society, that boasts a membership over 34,000. Members are known as “Compatriots” in 50 societies with more than 500 local chapters, several international societies.

Membership in the NSSAR:

Membership is open, but not limited to, men of lineal descent from the patriots who wintered at Valley Forge, signed the Declaration of Independence, fought in the battles of the American Revolution, served in the Continental Congress, or otherwise supported the cause of American Independence. You can search Ancestry’s U.S., Sons of the American Revolution Membership Applications, 1889-1970 database to learn if your ancestor is already an approved patriot.

It is our privilege to honor those who built this great nation. With reverence, we remember their courage and sacrifice and seek to continue the quest for freedom for all.

If you think one or your ancestors was a Revolutionary War patriot, or a signer of the Declaration of Independence AncestryProGenealogists would love to help you gather the necessary documentation for membership. Visit our website for more information on this and other research services available.

Laura Renda

Laura Huffman Renda is a professional genealogist at AncestryProgenealogists, specializing in DNA, adoption, and lineage society cases. She developed a passion for family history at a young age when she discovered her 3rd great grandmother, Eunice Hiatt, in the 1900 census living in the home of her daughter and son-in-law. When she learned of the Quaker ties of this family, she was hooked. After working at home for 17 years raising a family, Laura returned to school and earned a degree in Family History from Brigham Young University, graduating in 2007. She operated a family history business for 7 years helping others to record and publish their life stories, before joining AncestryProgenealogists in 2014.


  1. James Weakley

    I believe Weakley county Tn was named after a family ancestor colonel Weakley who fought in the zamerican revolution

  2. James Weakley

    I believe Weakley County TN was named after a family ancestor Colonel Weakey who fought in the American Revolution.

  3. Cindy Weatherby

    I can attest to the outstanding work that you have done to help so many honor their patriot ancestors. Outstanding blog Laura Renda!

  4. Debbi Siebert

    are there usable links to get to the information you are referencing? Where do we find the info to accurately research with? The American Revolution paragraph is the only active link. Thank you

  5. Debbie Dunn

    I discovered I am a direct descendant to a family patriot however I’m having difficulty making one connection. Do you help with that?

    • Member Services Social Support Team

      @Debbie: Hi Debbie, what a fascinating discovery! While we can’t provide research assistance, we would be happy to point you in the right direction. Are you looking for a particular type of record to confirm a connection?

  6. Ed Field

    I have traced my ancestors back to John and Anthony Emery in 1635 when they came to a Massachusetts. I would love to join the NSSAR, how does one go about applying?

  7. Phyllis springer

    I am a member of DAR my 5th great grandfather was a Major in the Continental Army on my father side and on my mother side through married am related to John Hart one of the signers of the declaration of independence all done through ancestry

  8. Bob Hoag

    We have also traced our lineage back to John Emery of Massachusetts. Our connection is thru Ebenezer Emery who married John Hoag.

  9. Helen Jean Samenfeld Collins

    Family name was TEFFT, CREEL. I have been told that I am eligible to join the DAR. I even have an application my Great Aunt filled out about 80 years ago.

  10. Andrea Paysinger

    My paternal great grandmother, Sarah F. Hardin was descended from Major John Hardin, a Revolutionary War veteran.

    • Member Services Social Support Team

      @Andrea: That’s a really interesting connection, Andrea! Thank you for sharing this with us.

  11. Linda Simons

    Debbie Dunn, if you are interested in joining NSDAR, contact your local chapter. They have an officer, the registrar, who will help prospective members complete their research for their applications. It sounds as if you just need a little help finishing your linage. Good luck.

  12. Marilee Gruenberger

    I am a volunteer genealogist and a registrar for Longs Peak Daughters of the American Revolution in Longmont Colorado. I am happy to help anyone in the Longmont area research their family trees in search of a patriot. I do a lot of research through Ancestry and other sights and Ancestry is how I found my first patriot. I specifically volunteer for those that are interested in joining NSDAR.

  13. Terril Loos

    My birth father was Forrest Wicks Wilson. Born in Michigan. Burried in Ohio. I wonder if someone can trace their family back to war time. His parents were Holly and Helen Wilson. Helen’s maiden name was Wagaman.

  14. Brenda Lubrant

    I am a Registrar for my Edwardsville, I’ll Chapter. The best way to approach your nearest chapter is to go to the NSDAR website at You will find a lot of info just on a the front page. On that page you will be able to find the location of all of the chapters. However, the best way for you to be contacted by your nearest chapter is to fill out the page that goes to the National DAR in Washington, DC. The form will ask a few questions for you to fill out. They in turn will forward it to the Registrar of your closest chapter and the Registrar will contact you. National will keep an eye on your request and make sure you have been contacted.

  15. kathy farrell

    I am a DAR member of the Mogollon Chapter, AZ. I have one proven ancestor and 8 more with a glitch in the paper trail. Half the fun is finding the information to connect to an ancestor.

    • Member Services Social Support Team

      @Kathy: We’re glad to hear you are enjoying researching your family history with us, Kathy! Best of luck with your research.

    • Paul Farrell

      My father was James Marion Farrell his mother was Francis Noble daughters of the American revolution I have family Bible back to 1889 but there are missing pieces. Comparing to things I was told growing up

  16. Roman Gonzalez

    I am a direct decendant to Gorge Washington and King Louis 16 through respectfully the Kingdom of Castile Fernan Gonzalez of Castile (son of Gonzalo) who rule in the land of Europe ancient Germany known as old high Germany in 930-970 ad emperor of the land. Me and my children can prove this through dates or even DNA if needed here is the Spanish and French ancestory of my Royal decendants through also King Charlemagne… thank you very much my address is 808 Gregory St Graham, Texas 76450 and my phone number is 940-222-6053 if who ever may be concern I appreciate it so much if you all may contact me!

  17. Scott A.

    I descend from both Patriots and Loyalists from the Rev. War. In fact, one interesting find was an ancestor named Zipporah who was married to a Loyalist (whom I descend from) that left for Nova Scotia after the British lost the war. He drowned shortly after that, and Zipporah returned to New York, where she re-married a Patriot (whom I also descend from through an earlier marriage). Must have made for some interesting dinner conversation.

    The Loyalist’s son (John) from Zipporah, and the Patriot’s daughter (Ruth…from a previous marriage) ended up marrying each other. So Zipporah was both the Ruth’s step-mother, and mother-in-law.

Join the Discussion

We really do appreciate your feedback, and ask that you please be respectful to other commenters and authors. Any abusive comments may be moderated. For help with a specific problem, please contact customer service.