Lineage Society

5 Sources to Avoid Using for Mayflower Society Applications

Are you home researching for fun? While now is a great time to start working your application for the General Society of Mayflower Descendants – and you might even get a 2020 join date if you apply now – there are a few sources you should avoid.

  1. Family trees and pedigree charts: We see a lot of these when doing Mayflower applications! Unfortunately, they’re not considered “documentation” of your Mayflower line, as they really just tell us that someone thought you were related to Mayflower passenger. They don’t tell us where that information came from. Treat them like hints and go find the original source.
  2. Ancestry ThruLines: It’s exciting to get a notification from Ancestry DNA that you might be related to a Mayflower passenger. But don’t turn it in as proof. ThruLines uses a combination of DNA and family trees to identify possible common ancestors. As a result, it has the same issues as family trees.
  3. Unsourced family genealogies: Have the same last name as a family who traveled on the Mayflower? You must be related, right? Not always! Some older family genealogies linked together unrelated people of the same surname so they could claim Mayflower ancestry. Don’t assume they were right. Find the documents to check.
  4. The 1850 census: This is a common issue with a lot of lineage societies. The 1850 census doesn’t list how people in the household were related, so it can’t be used to “prove” parent-child relationships.
  5. Daughters of the American Revolution applications: I’m not really sure why this question comes up so often, but no, GSMD does not take DAR applications, even if your DAR ancestor is in the GSMD line. The only society besides DAR that takes DAR applications is SAR. Use the citations from the DAR application and find the original sources.

Happy hunting!

Lineage Society

5 Sources to Avoid in Daughters of the American Revolution Applications

Once you’ve documented the “first three,” the use of civil registration (vital records) is recommended but not required by the Daughters of the American Revolution. As you get further back in time, they don’t always exist. You’ll need to substitute other sources.

Here are five you should avoid:

  1. Family trees: Just because you found it on Ancestry does not mean it’s true! DAR does not accept family trees, pedigree charts, or any of the other variations on family records. Most don’t indicate the source of their information, and they are prone to error. Treat them like hints – and go find the original documents.
  2. Family histories without citations: That wonderful family history that traces your family all the way back to the American Revolution will not be allowed if it doesn’t explain where the information came from. There’s too great a risk that an inaccurate story has been added to the mix. Again, treat it like a hint.
  3. The 1850 census: Because it’s the first census listing everyone in the household, applicants love to submit the 1850 census as “proof” of parent-child relationships. The only problem is that the 1850 census doesn’t indicate how people in the house were related. That child could be the child of the adult – or his or her niece or nephew, visiting for a while. If you’re going to use the 1850 census, make sure your argument is supported by another source.
  4. SAR applications: Yes, the Sons of the American Revolution does in limited cases accept Daughters of the American Revolution applications to “prove” lines to SAR patriots. Contrary to what you may here, this policy is not reciprocal due to tighter DAR standards. If your family member applied to SAR, ask for their supporting documentation so that you can supplement it and apply to DAR. Their application won’t help.
  5. Grandma’s DAR application: DAR standards have tightened dramatically over the last few decades. DAR does allow an applicant to reference what information is already on file with the society instead of providing new documentation. But just the fact that Grandma was once a member will not be good enough. What she provided will need to meet contemporary standards. Instead of looking just at Grandma’s application, have someone check what is already on file, so that they can tell what you have to provide.

Don’t read this to mean the DAR application process is scary. It isn’t! But you need to pay careful attention to what documents you turn in and why.