Lineage Society

How do you document Revolutionary War service for a Rhode Island ancestor?

If you’re in the process of completing an application for the Colonial Dames of America, the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America, the Society of the Cincinnati, the Sons of the American Revolution, the Daughters of the American Revolution or one of the other lineage societies for whom an ancestor’s service in the Revolutionary period for qualifying, you may need to document that the service. So, how do you begin with an ancestor from Rhode Island?

Keep in mind that you’ll need to check a variety of sources and not every ancestor will qualify for every society.

DAR’s extensive resources may provide some hints as what’s available. Review their files at Most societies will not accept DAR’s files – DAR and SAR will provided they meet certain standards – so plan to locate the original source of the documents and provide copies to your society as part of an application.

Starting from scratch? Deb Duay has a wonderful bibliography as part of her “Sources of Revolutionary War Service.” The Rhode Island State Archives and the Rhode Island Historical Society have some manuscript collections. And there’s a new publication in the works, as Jolene Mullen works to expand her town meeting series.

A word of warning: Southern Rhode Island was on a migration or trade route that included New London County, Connecticut and Long Island, NY. You may need to check all locations to full document your ancestor’s service.

Questions? Contact Charter Oak Genealogy.

Lineage Society

I want to join The Colonial Dames of America. How do I start?

The Colonial Dames of America (CDA), one of the three groups referred to as “Colonial Dames,” is based in New York but has chapters in locations as diverse as Melbourne, FL and Rome, Italy. To see if there’s a chapter near you, visit Although all chapters support the mission of the organization, each chapter has its own historic preservation activities and goals. Visit the chapter pages to learn more.

Membership in CDA is officially invitation only. If you know members, they become your first point of contact. If you do not have an acquaintance among the CDA membership, contact the chapter directly. They may be able to arrange a “meet and greet.”

Once you’ve obtained an invitation, you will need to complete a preliminary form describing your intended ancestor, followed soon after by a full application with supporting documentation. For this reason, it is best to have all paperwork in order before applying or as soon as possible upon receiving an invitation.

CDA does not accept paperwork from other lineage societies. Expect to need to document all births, deaths, and marriages up to the ancestor using vital records (where possible) and other appropriate sources.

Questions? Contact us.