Can the same person be a qualifying ancestor for multiple societies?

Don’t worry, you’re not the first one to wonder! Your grandmother or sibling has joined one society, and you’d like to join another – using their paperwork. Is it possible?


First of all, review the qualifying ancestor guidelines for the society you’d like to join and the society your family member joined. Is there any overlap? A few societies – the Sons of the American Revolution and the Daughters of the American Revolution, for example – use almost identical guidelines. Others have a small overlap in qualifications. For example, the National Society Colonial Dames of America takes service until 4 July 1776, and the Daughters of the American Revolution starts taking service beginning on 19 April 1775. If your ancestor meets the qualifications for both societies, you should be able to use the same ancestor for both.

The paperwork question is a bit more complicated. The use of an application is more limited than the use of the documents supporting it. A few societies will allow you to use a family member’s application, provided it meets current research standards: the Sons of the American Revolution will, for example, accept recent DAR applications under certain circumstances. A representative of the society should be able to clarify their guidelines. If your family member has the supporting documentation submitted with their application, that can generally be used to create a new application to another society. Be aware that additional documents may need to be added to meet different society guidelines. In a common scenario, some societies require only documentation of the “bloodline,” while others require both spouses.

Have questions? Please contact us.

Published by Bryna O'Sullivan

Proprietor of Charter Oak Genealogy, Bryna O'Sullivan specializes in assisting clients with lineage society applications and with French to English genealogical translations.

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