Has your ancestor been “red lined” by the Sons of the American Revolution or the Daughters of the American Revolution? Most people have two questions when it happens: what will it do to my application, and why did it happen? The first is straight forward. While the line can no longer be used for new membership to DAR or SAR, it will not impact the membership of existing members. The second is a little more complicated.
Here are four common reasons for which your ancestor may have been “red lined”:
- Service cannot be documented by sources that meet current standards. In the past, the societies permitted local histories and even family records to be used as “proof” that someone served. That’s no longer the case. Now, original sources from the period or transcriptions of those records are generally required. If such a source cannot be found, the line will be closed for future applicants. Don’t worry – if you happen upon a source later, the ancestor can be revisited!
- The ancestor has been found not to meet the “last act” policy. The policy, so named by the DAR, requires that the “last act” of the ancestor be in support of the Americans. If an ancestor was found to have changed their loyalty, the latest act that can be documented determines their eligibility. If you have a Long Island (NY) ancestor, be aware this is a common problem.
- The ancestor’s service cannot be connected with their residence. This issue comes up most commonly with Continental Line troops, which could be recruited from a large area of the state. Documenting residence is key to proving that the soldier is your ancestor.
- Same name. When the society started, applicants often assumed the person with their ancestor’s name and Revolutionary War service was their ancestor. They had no way to check details. As a result, service is now getting “red lined” because it’s for someone else of the same name. If you’re concerned about your ancestor’s service, check to see if it’s in the right area for your ancestor and if your ancestor is the right age to have served in the role. An 18 year old is not going to have governmental service; a 68 year old isn’t going to be serving as a private.
Most ancestors can be placed back on the active list by resolving the issue for which they were red lined. Some may be impossible to document or be truly in violation of the last act policy. It’s worth looking at all your options.
If you need help resolving an AIR or have questions about verifying service, contact us.