Common DAR + SAR questions: Will the Sons of the American Revolution help with my application?

Starting a new application can feel a little scary. Both DAR and SAR have built in programs to help, but they look a little different.

You can safely ask for help on your Sons of the American Revolution application from two people:

  1. Your point of contact: This may be the state registrar, the local registrar or someone else. Be aware of two things. First, they may not be able to help. Explain what you’re looking for, and ask if they can assist or if they can refer you to someone who can. Second, if they can help, you need to have realistic expectations. Their job is not to gather all the needed paperwork for your application. They’re simply there to offer advice.
  2. A genealogy assistant: SAR genealogy assistants are able to assist with research in a limited way. Again, they’re not there to do the application for you. But they can help with a hard to prove link or tell you where to look.

In short, yes, SAR will help with your application. Just remember that their job is not to do your application. If you’re not hiring professional help (see our future post), it’s yours. They’re just there to assist!

Have questions? Want to hire help? Contact us.

Common DAR + SAR application questions: Grandma’s or Grandpa’s papers

Are you working on your Daughters of the American Revolution or Sons of the American Revolution application? Since Grandma or Grandpa was a member, it’s going to be easy, right?

Maybe.

The answer to the question of “can you use a family member’s papers to join DAR or SAR?” is always yes. But the answer of “to what extent” is going to vary.

Why? Because the standards used by the society have changed since Grandma or Grandpa submitted. They’ve changed in the last two or three years. If the original application doesn’t meet modern standards, you’ll only be able to use it as a hint.

How do you know? Ask for help. You won’t be able to tell on your own. We’d be glad to take a look. Your registrar should also be able to tell.

Questions? Want help. Contact us.

Common DAR + SAR questions: Indexes

The “SSDI” (Social Security Death Index) or other index seems to have the vital records information you need to make your case for your Daughters of the American Revolution or Sons of the American Revolution application – and it would save you money. Can you use it?

Nope, sorry! While index files were once allowed by DAR and SAR, they haven’t been for the last several years. You’ll need to use the information on the index to order a copy of a vital record instead.

However abstracts with indexes, such as Connecticut’s Barbour Collection and Rhode Island’s Arnold Collection are currently be accepted. This is a common point of confusion, so be sure to discuss in detail with your registrar.

Have questions or need help? Contact us.

Common DAR + SAR application questions: Family Bibles

That family Bible is a goldmine, tracing your family back decades and recording crucial dates of birth, marriage, and death. But can you use it for your Daughters of the American Revolution or Sons of the American Revolution application?

It depends. There are a few things you need to confirm:

  1. Do you have the title page of the Bible (with the publication date) or other evidence of it? It was common for families to recopy old information into new Bibles, which can introduce mistakes.
  2. Does that the publication date occur within the lifetime of the individuals mentioned in the Bible? A couple who received a Bible as a wedding present could fairly accurately (at least to the best of their knowledge) enter their birth information and the names of their parents. They’re far less likely to accurately enter the birth information of their grandparents.
  3. Does the handwriting and ink fit the period? Families held on to Bibles for generations and may have added or changed dates over time. (Multiple styles of handwriting or “hands” can also indicate a change in scribe.) If you note changes, use with care.
  4. Does it actually answer your question? If you are seeking to prove a parent-child relationship between individuals in the Bible, but the Bible doesn’t actually state relationships, find another source!

Have questions? Contact us!

Common DAR + SAR Questions: Find A Grave

That Find A Grave entry seems perfect for your Daughters of the American Revolution or Sons of the American Revolution application. It lists parents, siblings, spouses and more. But can you actually use it?

Maybe.

Here’s what you need to know:

  1. The “extra data” typed into the profile is not accepted, as it’s usually not sourced. If an obituary or other source is included, go find the original.
  2. The tombstone photo needs to be readable. If you can’t read the stone, find another source. Perhaps a genealogy society did a gravestone inscription book a few decades ago?
  3. The tombstone needs to be from the period. They weren’t using marble in the 1600s. A non-period stone was probably added later and may contain errors.

If you can meet all these conditions, give it a go! But remember, all sources are accepted at the discretion of the verifying genealogist.

Have questions or need help with the application? Contact us.

Common DAR + SAR application questions: DNA

Your Ancestry DNA profile says you’re related to a Revolutionary War patriot.
Can you use it for an application to the Daughters of the American Revolution or the Sons of the American Revolution? What do you need to know about DNA and DAR and SAR?

  1. The Sons of the American Revolution officially allows the use of DNA evidence as part of a proof argument along with other “conventional proof of lineage.” This could mean using DNA as a piece of evidence alongside a land record or probate file that names a child and a parent but does not state their relationship. Be it noted: the file is dated 2019 and may be in the process of review.
  2. The Daughters of the American Revolution allows only the use of y-DNA for applications. It can only be used to “prove” one link. DAR requires a comparison between the DNA of a male who is closely related to the applicant and shares her surname or that of her mother with the DNA of a close male relative of an previous applicant on the same line who has been considered “proven.”

What does that mean for you? In short, you can’t use your Ancestry profile by itself. Consider it a wonderful hint – and go find the paperwork to support the connection.

Questions? Need help with the documents? Contact us!

How do I document Revolutionary era service in New York?

Are you looking to document Revolutionary War era service for a DAR or SAR patriot from New York?

First all, realize it might be a challenge. New York City and Long Island were both occupied during the War. As a result, New Yorkers were supported the American cause were sometimes forced to swear allegiance to the British.

What does this mean for your research? Pay significant attention to the ancestor’s “last act.” An ancestor who joined the militia in early 1776 will be disqualified from being considered a DAR or SAR patriot if they later swore allegiance to the British – simply because there was no way to verify their true sentiments.

Still ready to dive in? Begin with Deb Duay’s “Sources of Revolutionary War Service”. And keep your eyes on a new project from the DAR library documenting service in British occupied areas.

Happy hunting! Questions? Contact us.

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 https://services.dar.org/Public/DAR_Research/search/?Tab_ID=1. 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.

How do I document Revolutionary War service for an ancestor from Quebec?

Two societies – the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Sons of the American Revolution – permit applications from prospective members whose ancestors did not live in the (now) United States, provided those ancestors demonstrated support for the American cause. This includes ancestors from Quebec, some of whom sided with the Americans during the attempted invasion of Quebec City. If your ancestor is among those individuals, be prepared to document their residence and service, as many are new ancestors.

Deb Duay has provided an index that can help you find the documentation you need to support your ancestor’s service. Alphabetical by ancestor’s last name, it includes the individual’s name, date and location of birth, residence during the War, spouse, and the source of service. Some sources can be submitted directly, while others are really indexes for which you’ll need to find the original documentation.

Be aware: it’s best to confirm the translation of any entries in French language sources about your ancestor. In at least one instance, we found that the French language record and the English translation did not agree – and that the difference would cause at least one of the societies to disallow descendants of this ancestor based on the society’s “last act” policy.

For more on French-Canadian patriots and the “Last Act” policy, see our articles on the subject in the NGS Magazine.

Questions? Contact Charter Oak Genealogy.

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 https://members.sar.org/media/uploads/pages/77/Y4SVnQ7JoiU4.pdf 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.