What’s a whaleboat – and why does it matter to my Revolutionary War ancestors?

Used in whaling, a whale boat was a small vessel of about 30 ft with a crew of 6. The New Bedford Whaling Museum has an excellent description. During the American Revolution, they were used not for whaling but for raiding. The best know examples occurred between Connecticut and Long Island. Sometimes called the WhaleboatContinue reading “What’s a whaleboat – and why does it matter to my Revolutionary War ancestors?”

Militia or Continental Line?

Land was the biggest driver behind your (non-officer) ancestor’s decision to serve in the militia versus on the Continental Line. In the colonies, land ownership was heavily tied to agriculture. Farming requires oversight, especially New England’s smaller farms. A farm owner would have wanted to onsite as much as possible. Militia service demanded – atContinue reading “Militia or Continental Line?”

My ancestors are from Fairfield County, Connecticut. Do I have Mayflower ancestors?

This question comes up far more frequently then I would have expected – and the answer is, unfortunately, generally no. Why? In the 1600s, there were many more colonies in New England than states existing today. Much of Fairfield County fell under the political jurisdiction of New Haven Colony and the commercial realm of NewContinue reading “My ancestors are from Fairfield County, Connecticut. Do I have Mayflower ancestors?”

What does this word being used by my lineage society mean?

Lineage societies have a vocabulary of their own. If you’re in the process of applying, knowing what the terms mean can make your life much easier! Here are a few common terms: Lineage Society: Also called a hereditary society, this is an organization that decides membership based on the actions of an applicant’s ancestor. QualifyingContinue reading “What does this word being used by my lineage society mean?”

What was the Ladies’ Association of Philadelphia?

Founded in 1780 by Esther de Berdt Reed, the Ladies’ Association of Philadelphia raised money for the Continental Army through door to door fundraising. The organization raised over $7,000, which was used to clothe soldiers. Although heavily critiqued, the Association was one of the first American examples of organized political action by women. The family’sContinue reading “What was the Ladies’ Association of Philadelphia?”

Can I use the results of a mitochondrial DNA test in a lineage society application?

First of all, what’s a mitochondria? For those of you who don’t recall your high school biology class: a mitochondria is a structure within the cell. It’s often referred to as a cell’s “energy center.” There’s a really good explanation here. Mitochondria have their own DNA, so they can be tested separately. It was longContinue reading “Can I use the results of a mitochondrial DNA test in a lineage society application?”

Land records: an underused source in lineage research

Land records are often a “source of last resort” for genealogists. Rarely fully indexed, they require us locating and accessing a separate index book (called a grantor/grantee index); copying down the volumes and pages that apply to our ancestor; and then going into each volume to copy the appropriate pages. It’s time consuming and oftenContinue reading “Land records: an underused source in lineage research”

Can I use my Revolutionary War ancestor’s military headstone as “proof” of their service?

The white marble military headstone is a powerful symbol of service and sacrifice. However, it doesn’t date to the period of the American Revolution. The marble headstone came into being in 1873, as a way to mark the graves of the dead of the Civil War. As noted by the National Cemetery Administration, it wasContinue reading “Can I use my Revolutionary War ancestor’s military headstone as “proof” of their service?”

How do I document a new Revolutionary War ancestor?

If you’re interested in joining a Revolutionary War lineage society, it’s recommended that you use an ancestor already on file. However, with the exception of the Society of the Cincinnati, the recommendation is not a requirement. Most Revolutionary War lineage societies allow you to add new ancestors – provided that the ancestor meets their requirements.Continue reading “How do I document a new Revolutionary War ancestor?”