The 4th of July – a National holiday celebrated by Americans with fireworks, parades and myriads of activities. We think of the 4th of July 1776 as a day on which our nation declared its independence and the United States of America was born. It encompassed the Revolutionary War in which our ancestors may have been involved. There are two main organizations which have been formed to celebrate these ancestors and carry on the tradition of service: Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and Sons of the American Revolution (SAR). On the DAR website is recorded: “The organization was founded in 1890 with the simple mission of promoting historic preservation, education and patriotism…This nonprofit, nonpolitical volunteer women’s service organization dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history and securing America’s future through better education consists of over 185,000 members in 3,000 chapters across the world.” On the SAR website is a similar sentiment with the preface: “Inspiring American Patriotism since 1889. National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to promoting, patriotism, preserving American history and teaching American history to future generations.”
For those who wish to remember and honor their ancestors in a unique way, joining these organizations is a goal worth pursuing. However, it isn’t as easy as just joining. It requires documenting the lineage from you to a proven patriot. The following is a simplified explanation of the process. To learn more detailed information, it is advisable to visit the DAR.org or SAR.org websites.
To be a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), one must be a woman 18 years of age or older who can document a lineal bloodline descent from a Revolutionary War patriot.
The first step is to find a legitimate patriot who served during the Revolutionary War. If, by chance, you know of a relative who already has DAR status, it is quite likely that the patriot they used may also be your ancestor and can be used for your application. Finding a legitimate patriot may be the first challenge even if you know you have ancestors who were alive during the War. One quick search would be to look for an ancestor who lived during that time period in the DAR Genealogical Research System database which lists Revolutionary War ancestors already proven. If your ancestor is not found in this database, it is helpful to know there are many more avenues of service than just those who were soldiers. The DAR has a page filled with accepted Revolutionary War service. Included in that list are two unusual acts of service you may find interesting: “service performed by French nationals within the colonies or in Europe in support of the American cause”, and “those who rendered material aid, in Spanish America, by supplying cattle for Galvez’s forces after 24 December 1776.”
Once you have found your patriot, you will want to fill out the “Membership Interest Form” found on the DAR website. Once you have submitted the application, a local member will contact you and may provide guidance and assistance with your official application form.
The next step will require more time and effort since you will need to complete an application form which requires documents for the birth, marriage, and death of each ancestor from you to the patriot. As mentioned previously, if you have a relative who already has DAR status, you will only need to provide documentation from you to the ancestor you have in common with the relative. In my case, I received DAR status, and my first cousin was then easily able to fill out an application with documents from her to my grandfather; her great grandfather. It may be helpful to first fill out a pedigree chart, gather as much documentation as possible, and then bring it with you when you consult with the chapter representative who will likely be the person who contacted you after receiving notification of your interest. That person will assist you in obtaining the official application form and give tips for obtaining the needed information.
If you find that gathering the necessary documentation or even finding a patriot ancestor is overwhelming, you may wish to hire a genealogist to complete this laborious process for you. Price Genealogy has researchers who are experienced with this process.
Once the application form is filled out correctly (be sure to follow directions precisely), the chapter representative from your local chapter will review it to be sure it is correct. Then it will be submitted and soon you will learn if you have been accepted into this special society.
On the front page of the SAR website are listed four steps.
The process of becoming a member of either DAR or SAR may take extra time and effort, but is well worth the sacrifice because in the process you learn more about the ancestors leading to your patriot, especially the sacrifices they made so that you can enjoy the freedoms prevalent in this beautiful and extraordinary country.
Are you a member of the Sons of the American Revolution or the Daughters of the American Revolution? Let us know in a comment below!