Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Genealogy 101

A few readers have asked me about my involvement with the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and more specifically about the application process. The application process does follow a specific format, but the length of time it will take you to officially join the DAR can vary greatly depending on how much information you already have about your family's ancestry.

My ancestor, Abraham Clark (1725-1794) One of the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence!

Here are some excellent tips taken from the National DAR site about genealogy and research. This is SUCH helpful information. One of the tips that was most helpful to me was to keep things in chronological order and to write the generation on the back of each document in pencil. In my family, there were many similar names and it was sometimes hard to keep track and organize all of the information. By keeping everything organized by generation, it made the application much easier to complete. Please click on the link; the information was too lengthy to copy on the post, but it's such an excellent summary of the process.

Census records are an excellent source for information


Something else that is very helpful is the DAR Patriot Lookup Service. You can use the Genealogical Research System (GRS), a combination of several extensive online genealogical databases to find your patriot ancestors. This is a particularly useful tool for people who have the name of the patriot they expect to find. You can also see which documentation was already accepted for another descendant of the same patriot.

Even if your mother or grandmother is in the DAR, your application still might need some work. There was a case of a member in our chapter who had beeen in the DAR for years and was also a Colonial Dame, but whose documentation was no longer accepted as consideration for membership. In this particular case, it took a great deal of research to complete the applications for this member's daughter and granddaughter because of the copies and proof that was required. Ultimately, their applications were accepted, but it did take additional documentation.

My mom is truly the research guru and has found some amazing information about our family. Some other helpful places where my mother and I have found information are:
* Ancestry.com
* Genealogy.com
* FamilySearch.org
* State web sites (may list records of patriots and early State history)
* County web sites (list cemetery records, marriage records, deeds, etc.)

I would also recommend that you attend a workshop for prospective members in your area. It's a great way to meet other members and learn about the organization. Many chapters have meetings on evenings and/or weekends that suit a busy work schedule. You can also get a feel for what activities the chapter does during a typical year. These workshops also offer help and advice for completing your application.

Membership in the DAR is a very rewarding experience and is an excellent way to promote patriotism and an interest in history and education. I love the DAR!

xoxo

10 comments:

  1. Love looking up my family's history. Like your mother, mine is obsessed and has all the records. We are descended from four on the Mayflower (but I think I've already told you that!) and love our other societies too!

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  2. I loved this post. I became a member of DAR this year and think your post will be helpful to those who aren't sure what to do. :o)

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  3. You've reminded me that this was on my to-do list for the summer. I really need to get serious about gathering all my paperwork so I can join too...I'm afraid of how long it will take to receive copies of birth certificates & things! :) I'm a Mayflower descendant too, from the New Jersey area. :)

    Cheers!
    lottie

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  4. Thanks for posting this! As a girl, I used to do a lot of genealogy-related research with my grandfather. He always told me I could apply to the DAR, but we never got around to it when I was younger. He passed away last year, and ever since I've been wanting to get my act together and finally apply. I may be coming back to you with questions once things calm down around here!

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  5. I love finding out about my ancestors too! xox

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  6. my hubby's grandmother was in the DAR. I have never heard another soul mention it. Now I must go check it out:)

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  7. I just joined the Judge Lynn Chapter here in DC. Looking forward to getting involved and adding more patriots down the road. Thanks for the informative post.

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  8. I am so glad that you posted this. I was invited to join many years ago, but I had a glitch with my job and was unable to get my paperwork together in time, so I gave it up for awhile. It is on my to do list to get everything together and try again. I would also like to get in a hereditary society for colonial descendants such as Colonial Dames. I'm not a Mayflower descendant, but I am descended from the Randolphs. That pretty much gets me into anything. I added the DAR website to my favorites as a reminder that I need to do this.

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  9. Thanks for posting this. My mother and grandmother have brought up several times me joinging DAR. It is nice to know what to expect.

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  10. Very cool! I have really been wanting to look up my family history but its so overwhelming when you are just starting. I am not sure where to start even.

    I'd love to learn all about my family and one day join a historical organization like this!

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