I have an update to this 2021 post... Died at Groton Heights? Descendants of Benjamin Graves, baptized in 1734 in East Haddam, Connecticut, have long claimed he died from wounds received in battle at the Battle of Groton Heights. Yet, he is not included among those listed as killed and wounded. Where and when… Continue reading Did Benjamin Graves die at the Battle of Groton Heights?
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 was… Continue reading Can I use my Revolutionary War ancestor’s military headstone as “proof” of their service?
An ancestor who loaned money to the Continental government during the American Revolution would be considered to have "patriotic service" by the Sons of the American Revolution or the Daughters of the American Revolution. The Daughters of the American Revolution has begun digitizing records of the loans made from Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire.… Continue reading My ancestor supposedly loaned money to the Continental government. How do I find evidence?
As you're preparing a lineage society application, you may discover some of your ancestor's records are written in a non-English language. Because of the settlement patterns of the United States in the 18th and 19th century, French, German, and Spanish commonly appear in records. That usually raises a question: do I need to have these… Continue reading Do I need to have documents translated for my lineage society application?
Many families become extremely difficult to trace in the early 1800s. Migration routes were opening across the United States. New European settlements may have kept land records, but they often didn't have the resources to keep civil registration or easily store church records. Many of the records we would typically use to document birth, death,… Continue reading Family Bibles: a valuable source for a lineage society application
Many people start the lineage society application process with the Sons of the American Revolution or the Daughters of the American Revolution. The fact that these societies allow applicants to reference previously submitted applications makes that first application seem manageable for most. But when it comes to doing a second application for a pre-Revolutionary War… Continue reading I joined the Daughters of the American Revolution. How do I find a qualifying ancestor for another society?
You're joining a lineage society yourself, but you're being asked for vital records for your spouse. Why? This is a question we get all the time. The basic answer: the societies are looking ahead to your children and grandchildren who may be interested in membership. Anything they already have on file, your descendants do not… Continue reading Why am I being asked for my spouse’s certificates?
Women supported the American cause during the Revolutionary War. Yet, most of the available records address men. Why - and how does it impact our research? In a word: coverture. Wikipedia's explanation of the legal principal is quite clear (and detailed, for those interested in the history). As the listing indicates, coverture is "a legal… Continue reading Why is it so challenging to document a female patriot?
At it's most basic level, privateering could be considered legalized piracy. Privateers were given a commission by the state government or Continental Congress to search for and attack merchant ships. This action benefited both the authorizing government, as it weakened the enemy's supply chain, and the privateer, who received a portion of the proceeds from… Continue reading How do I find a Connecticut privateer’s commission?
Short answer: no. The integration of military units during the American Revolution is a question that has largely yet to be touched by scholarship. Many accounts mention only that Washington banned recruitment of African American soldiers in 1775; that British Commander Lord Dunmore offered freedom to those who joined his "Ethiopian" unit in November of… Continue reading Was the Connecticut Continental Line Segregated?