Lineage Society

I want to join SAR (The Sons of the American Revolution). How do I begin?

The Sons of the American Revolution is open to men 18 and older (younger men can be non-voting junior members in some locations) who are descended from individuals who supported the American Revolution. The requirements for ancestral service are similar to those of DAR: signing of the Declaration of Independence; patriotic service, such as giving money to support the cause; military service, including being a soldier; and civil service, including holding political office.

Like DAR, SAR does not require an invitation. You can express your interest in membership through a four step process outline on their website. You’ll note that step one is to determine eligibility.

What does that mean? You’ll need to be able to document births, marriages, deaths, and the connections between generations from yourself back to the ancestor. Unlike DAR, SAR only requires that this documentation be provided for the person through whom the line runs (“line carrier”). So, if the line is through your mother’s father, you’ll need to document her birth, death, and marriage, but not your father’s. You’ll also need to document the ancestor’s service and their residence during the War. Be aware: some registrars may insist that you follow the more stringent DAR documentation guidelines.

Are there any shortcuts? Yes, SAR is unique among the major lineage societies in that it accepts DAR “record copies” (copies of the verified application that can be ordered using DAR’s GRS) as documentation under certain limited circumstances. So if your mother just applied for DAR, you might be able to use her papers to join SAR.

What does the process look like? Once you have your paperwork together, it’s reviewed by the chapter registrar, who forwards the documents to the state registrar for review. Once the state registrar has completed review, it is forwarded to national for verification. If you can’t reach the local registrar for some reason, many state registrars can assist in completing the first steps.

Sound overwhelming? We can help. Contact us.

Lineage Society

I joined the Daughters of the American Revolution. Can my son use the same paperwork to join the Sons of the American Revolution?

The simple answer is maybe.

If you are starting from scratch and providing all documents to the lineage society, the same supporting documents generally can be used to join another lineage society. Often you’ll need to add a few documents. For example, the Daughters of the American Revolution currently has a (slightly unwritten) rule that if the death certificate contains the date and place of birth and the names of the parents, the applicant doesn’t need to submit a birth certificate. But if you want to join one of the Colonial Dames societies on the same paperwork, that birth certificate will be required.

But if you are relying on previously submitted documents, there are only a few societies that will take another society’s paperwork. The best known of these societies is the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR). SAR will accept DAR record copies as supporting documentation with a few caveats: simply put, they must be post-1985, and they should refer to original documentation rather than to a previous member’s application, so that the verifying genealogist can see the sources used. See for details. A few smaller societies will also accept record copies.

So, in short, if you submitted an entirely new application post-1985 to DAR and would like your son (or male family member) to join SAR, go ahead and submit your record copy. But if you didn’t start from scratch, proceed with caution. Work with someone who truly understands the process.

Lineage Society

I just joined the Mayflower Society. My mom wants to join. Now what?

Congrats! You have an easy application. If you’ve joined a lineage society within the last year or so, your application meets current standards. As your paperwork is already on file, all your family member will need to do is document where their family line differs from yours. Your parents will not need to provide anything new.

Beware! This does not apply to applications more than a few years old. Application requirements have been changing dramatically over the last decade. What was allowed to be submitted even three years ago is no longer allowed. Your grandmother’s application from 40 years ago almost assuredly no longer meets standards. Expect to need to find the documents needed to bring it up to date.