Lineage Society

My lineage society says I need a birth, marriage or death certificate. What do I do now?

Whether you hope to join the Daughters of the American Revolution or the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, you’ve probably been asked to provide some birth, marriage or death records or certificates. You don’t have them in the house. How do you proceed?

Here are a few hints to get you started:

  1. You need to start by identifying the exact date and location of the event. Items you already have in the house, such as a family Bible, an obituary, or a death certificate may provide you with more information. If you know the state, check Ancestry, FamilySearch and the archives or library of that state for an index.
  2. Once you have at least an approximate time period and a location, you can begin looking for a record. For pre-1900 records, start by checking FamilySearch. For pre-1950, check the state archives and/or the state health department. Post-1950, the state health department should have copies.
  3. Beware – you may be restricted by processing speed and privacy laws. New York State, for example, generally has a processing time of over a year for state level requests. It’s faster to contact the town where the event occurred (and cheaper than using “rapid” online ordering). If your grandparent’s birth occurred less than 100 years ago in Connecticut, you won’t be able to get a copy unless you are a member of an approved genealogical society. It’s best to be aware of each state’s regulations and best practices.

Questions about a specific state? Want help ordering records? Contact Charter Oak Genealogy.

Lineage Society

What records do I have to have for a lineage society application?

We get it, you want to get into the lineage society – whether it’s DAR, SAR, the Mayflower Society or something else – quickly. But there are records that you will need to have, so it’s time to think about how to order them. Here’s the list of the most common requirements.

  1. Civil death records (where they exist): You’re going to be required to get them for at least the three generations (CDA and DAR) and may be required to provide them going much further back, if they exist. If you’re doing a Massachusetts Mayflower family, expect to be asked for civil death records going back to the 1600s.
  2. Civil marriage records (where they exist): See the above.
  3. Civil birth records (where they exists): See the above except for DAR. DAR currently allows you to submit just the civil death and marriage record, provided the civil death record lists parents’ names and the date and place of birth.

So in short, you need to begin by ordering any civil birth, death, and marriage records that might exist for your family. (And begin early, as it can take up to three months to receive a record.)

How do you do that? The state vital records office website is usually a good place to start. Read carefully, as requirements can be complicated.

Don’t want to wait months or want help? Contact us.