Using the DAR

An overlooked resource is the databases available online with the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution). In their Ancestor Database, the simple-style search form has you place a surname and given name for an ancestor who might have served in the military or as a civilian during the American Revolution. In this simple search at least a surname or given name must be provided. The ‘ancestor number’ refers to how many generations back from the DAR member who submitted the lineage. This would be unknown to most researchers. Instead place the two-letter spelling for the state (colony) the patriot (ancestor) would have served from. There can always be differences in spellings of surnames or given names, however generally the spelling is based on the later more accepted spelling, especially it was descendants who submitted the information. Use the ‘Advance Search’ if you do know more details about the patriot.

If information is located on an ancestor in the Ancestor Database, you can confirm by the birth and death dates listed, the spouse’s name and residence. Then you see the application listings for those DAR members (listed with numbers) and who they are related through (usually a child of the patriot). There are also a code to stating if there was documentation and supporting documentation.

Click on the documentation icon and the listing for that descendant covers the direct lineage with names, birth-death dates, spouse and marriage date. Generally the last 2 to 3 recent generations are not shown for privacy reasons.

The Descendants Database works very much the same. This database has some 7.1 million names – the descendants of patriots from the American Revolutionary War. You may not know a name fully, but at least place a surname of a patriot. Again names of descendants for a patriot – those who had a relative compile the list and submitted it to the DAR is what will be found. Their applications had to provide proof of lineage, so it does constitute a good source, but can’t be the sole proof of lineage if you desired to join the DAR.

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