Lineage Society

How do I find Revolutionary War service for an ancestor from Connecticut?

Documenting a new ancestor can be one of the more challenging – but also most fascinating – parts of completing a lineage society application. Many societies prefer that you use an ancestor who is already on file for ease of review. However, most will allow you to add someone if you do not have an established ancestor in your line or you are determined to use a specific person. So, how do you document that individual?

The first step is identifying service that meets the society’s qualifications. A number of societies consider activities around the Revolutionary period to be “qualifying” for descendants of a specific ancestor, including The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America, The Colonial Dames of America , The Sons of the American Revolution, The Daughters of the American Revolution, and the Society of the Cincinnati. The requirements for the type of service and the time period during which it must have occurred vary by the society. Read the requirements carefully and discuss with the registrar or your genealogist!

For ancestors from Connecticut, there are some wonderful resources that can assist in your search. Debbie Duay’s “Revolutionary War Service” page lists many of the places in which documentation of an ancestor’s Connecticut service may be found. To determine if an ancestor was an officer, Heitman’s Historical Register of Officers of the Colonial Army may also be of use.

A few additional points to consider:

For those applying to DAR and SAR, the payment of taxes may qualify your ancestor as a “patriot”. However, since Connecticut’s taxes never went straight to the military effort and instead were paid to the town who then sent them on, tax payments are not automatically accepted. Plan to document both that your ancestor paid taxes and where those taxes were sent before attempting to use taxes as a source of service. Tax payment has yet to be used as a source of service, so published resources are few.

The closest point of military activity to your ancestor may not have been in Connecticut. Don’t forget to check the neighboring states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York.

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 https://cda1890.org/cda-chapters/. 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.

Lineage Society

Want to join the Colonial Dames? Which one?

If the time at home has you thinking about finally joining the Colonial Dames – like your friends have been urging – there’s one question you need to ask first. Which one?

There are three societies that go by “Colonial Dames.” All require an invitation but the difficulty in obtaining such an invitation varies by locale.

  1. The National Society Colonial Dames XVII Century ( XVII Century or variations thereof): Open to women 18 and older whose ancestors lived and served in the colonies prior to 1701. XVII Century has the broadest definition of service.
  2. The Colonial Dames of America ( CDA): Open to women whose ancestor served between the founding of Jamestown in 1607 and the battle of Lexington in 1775. Review the eligibility list at https://cda1890.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Ancestor-Service-Eligibility-List-3.5.2020.pdf.
  3. The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America (NSCDA): Open to women whose ancestors served before 5 July 1776 and had “distinguished” service. Qualifying service varies by colony.

Questions or want help with an application? Contact us.