Once you’ve documented the “first three,” the use of civil registration (vital records) is recommended but not required by the Daughters of the American Revolution. As you get further back in time, they don’t always exist. You’ll need to substitute other sources.
Here are five you should avoid:
- Family trees: Just because you found it on Ancestry does not mean it’s true! DAR does not accept family trees, pedigree charts, or any of the other variations on family records. Most don’t indicate the source of their information, and they are prone to error. Treat them like hints – and go find the original documents.
- Family histories without citations: That wonderful family history that traces your family all the way back to the American Revolution will not be allowed if it doesn’t explain where the information came from. There’s too great a risk that an inaccurate story has been added to the mix. Again, treat it like a hint.
- The 1850 census: Because it’s the first census listing everyone in the household, applicants love to submit the 1850 census as “proof” of parent-child relationships. The only problem is that the 1850 census doesn’t indicate how people in the house were related. That child could be the child of the adult – or his or her niece or nephew, visiting for a while. If you’re going to use the 1850 census, make sure your argument is supported by another source.
- SAR applications: Yes, the Sons of the American Revolution does in limited cases accept Daughters of the American Revolution applications to “prove” lines to SAR patriots. Contrary to what you may here, this policy is not reciprocal due to tighter DAR standards. If your family member applied to SAR, ask for their supporting documentation so that you can supplement it and apply to DAR. Their application won’t help.
- Grandma’s DAR application: DAR standards have tightened dramatically over the last few decades. DAR does allow an applicant to reference what information is already on file with the society instead of providing new documentation. But just the fact that Grandma was once a member will not be good enough. What she provided will need to meet contemporary standards. Instead of looking just at Grandma’s application, have someone check what is already on file, so that they can tell what you have to provide.
Don’t read this to mean the DAR application process is scary. It isn’t! But you need to pay careful attention to what documents you turn in and why.