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?
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?
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?
When we talk about an ancestor's service in World War I, we're talking about service in a single unit - the US Army. However, an ancestor who served in the American Revolution could have served in one of three different "units." The militia tradition was very strong in the colonies. While the British Army constituted… Continue reading My ancestor served in the Army: the three types of Revolutionary War Army service