Society of the Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration

The Society of the Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence (DSDI) was founded “to strengthen in American life the principles set forth in the Declaration of Independence, and to perpetuate the memory of those men who, in signing that Declaration, mutually pledged their Lives, their Fortunes, and their Sacred Honor in the cause of Liberty.” You might be eligible to join DSDI.

DSDI feels it is extremely fitting that the direct lineal descendants of the men who inscribed their names upon the first page of the history of the United States of America should form an association devoted to the promotion of the ideas expressed in the Declaration of Independence. Fifty-six men signed their names to this important document.

Those who want to apply for membership to the DSDI need to present their applications to the DSDI Board of Governors during the enrollment period. There is a fall enrollment period, and a spring one. Check the DSDI website for the exact date of each deadline.

The DSDI points out that there is a difference between being related to a Signer of the Declaration of Independence and being descended from one. The DSDI is only for people who can provide documented evidence that they are descended from a Signer. Those who are related to a Signer, but not a descendant of a Signer, are not eligible for membership in the DSDI.

The DSDI provides this explanation: “If you are a grand child, great grand child, etc., you are a descendant. If the Signer is a cousin, great uncle, etc., you are related to the Signer.” The DSDI does not accept DNA results as proof of descent.

There is some helpful information on the DSDI membership page. Only 15 of the 56 Signers of the Declaration of Independence have male descendants today.

The following Signers have no descendants:

* William Whipple – seven children, all of whom died within their first year of life
* John Hancock – two children, one died at 1-year of age, the other at age 11
* Samuel Huntington – Raised two adoptive children, had none of his own
* James Smith – five grandchildren, none of whom had children
* James Wilson – one grandchild, never married, no had no children
* Caesar Rodney – never married, no children
* George Wythe – one child, who died as a newborn
* Francis Lightfoot Lee – had no children
* Joseph Hewes – never married, had no children
* Thomas Lynch, Jr. – he and his wife died at sea. They did not have children.
* Button Gwinnett – had one daughter, who had no children
* Lyman Hall – had one son, who never married and had no children
* George Walton – one great grandson, George Walton Reab. He was a bachelor and had no children.

Related Articles at

* Declaration of Independence – 56 Signers

* Any Relationship to a Signer of the Declaration of Independence?

* Sons of the American Revolution

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