Whole Number 9
by William Perry Johnson
No doubt many of the Sparks descendants, of the fairer sex, are, or will be, interested in joining the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (commonly known as the "D.A.R."), which has local chapters all over the United States. Therefore, those of you who have been invited to join the D.A.R., and have an ancestor who participated in the American Revolution, will need to know how to go about proving your lineage.
Assuming that one has an ancestor of military age in 1775, there are four categories of service which would enable his descendants to be eligible for membership in patriotic societies based upon such service, especially the D.A.R.
1. Military service, in any American military organization, of any rank. For the Army there are three types of service: (a) Continental Line, (b) State Troops, (c) Militia.
2. Public Service Claims. This category, and it is a large one, covers persons who furnished supplies or materially aided the American forces during the American Revolution.
3. Oaths of Allegiance. During the American Revolution a small number of the inhabitants remained loyal to the English Government. The American officials therefore required all citizens that were faithful to the American cause to sign an Oath of Allegiance to the United States, Many of these lists have been preserved, and if one of your ancestors signed, and you can prove it, the D.A.R. will accept this in lieu of service or furnishing of supplies.
4. Civil Duty. Persons can join the D.A.R. if their ancestor performed civil duty during the American Revolution, such as serving on a jury.
To better clarify just who is and who is not eligible for membership in the D.A.R., the Eligibility Clause from a D.A.R. Membership Application Blank is here quoted in full. "Any woman is eligible for membership in the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution who is not less than eighteen years of age, and who is descended from a man or woman who, with unfailing loyalty to the cause of American Independence, served as a sailor, or as a soldier or civil officer in one of the several Colonies or States, or in the United Colonies or States, or as a recognized patriot, or rendered material aid thereto; provided the applicant is personally acceptable to the Society."
(Constitution, Article III, Section I.)
The D.A.R. requires ample proof for your line of descent from an American Revolutionary patriot. Proofs for line of descent are wills, administrations, deeds, church, Bible, census and pension records, tombstones, histories, genealogies, old newspapers, etc. On the application blank they state: Give below a reference to the authority for EACH statement of Birth, Marriage or Death. If from published records, give names of books and page numbers. If from unpublished records, applicant must file duplicate certified or attested copies of same. Attested copies of material will he accepted in lieu of certified copies, when signed by the applicant with the Chapter Registrar and another chapter officer as witness. A certified copy of a record is an exact copy of a Bible, tombstone, baptismal, or other record that has been sworn to in the presence of a notary public, as being a correct copy. These sworn statements are requested in order to make the record submitted by the applicant absolutely complete, and something that future applicants, and historians and genealogists cannot question.
When asking for certified copies of Bible records, the D.A.R. desires to have sent them a full copy of everything listed in the Bible under births, marriages, and deaths and not simply the applicants direct lineage. They also desire to be informed as to the year the Bible was published, name of publisher, and name of original and present owner. Certification or attestation is not necessary for photostatic copies or microfilm.
Speaking further in the application blank of marriages, the D.A.R. states:
"Marriage in every instance in this paper means legal and lawful marriage. Date of marriage may he substituted for dates of birth and death where such date proves the soldier to have been living during the Revolution and of a suitable age for service. (Note: Resolution adopted by the twenty-fourth Continental Congress: Descendants of polygamous marriage are not acceptable as members of this Society.)
Two copies of the D.A.R. application blank are filled out and sent to the Treasurer General, N.S.D.A.R., 1775 D Street, Washington 6, D.C., and if accepted, one copy will be returned to the Registrar of the Chapter or to the individual. At the present time the cost is $5.00 to the National Society, plus chapter fees.
After joining the D.A.R. one may wish to prove descent from other Revolutionary ancestors in order to receive other D.A.R. bars or pins. These additional lineages are known as 'supplementals'. At the present time the D.A.R. is not accepting supplementals, but will resume on March 9, 1955. The cost for supplementals is ten dollars each.
The Now Modern Encyclopedia, published in 1953 by Wm. HG Wise & Co., Inc., New York, has this to say about the D.A.R.: "Society of women composed of descendants of persons who rendered 'material aid to the cause of (American) independence'. Organized in 1890, it has patriotic and educational objectives.
It has a membership of about 171,109 organized in about 1,500 local chapters. An annual congress of delegates from all chapters is held in Washington the third week in April. Headquarters are in Washington, D.C.";
The D.A.R. Library in Washington, D.C., is second only to the Mormon Library in Salt Lake City, from a genealogical and historical standpoint, The D.A.R. method of compiling, recording, and proving lineages is an ideal one, and has been adopted by many individuals in their own genealogical research. It is especially recommended that photostatic copies of all genealogical material be obtained whenever possible.
Note: An article on joining the Sons of the American Revolution (S.A.R.) will appear in a forthcoming issue of The Sparks Quarterly.