by Ruby Coleman
In 1890 the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) was founded as a volunteer women's service organization, headquartered in Washington, D.C. The purpose was and continues to be to promote patriotism, preserve American history and secure the future through better education for children.
As a genealogical society, they have 3,000 chapters with approximately 170,000 members. Membership can be obtained by any woman 18 years of age or older who can prove lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution. This is available regardless of race, religion or ethnic background.
The DAR National Headquarters is located at 1776 D Street, NW in Washington, DC. They have an extensive genealogical library plus large concert hall, collection of pre-industrial American decorative arts and an extensive college of manuscripts and imprints.
For the genealogist, accessing their records and library is of utmost importance. The DAR Patriot Index consists of names of Revolutionary patriots (men and women) who p rovided service and assistance between 1775 and 1783 during the Revolutionary War. The information in the index consists of names, dates and places of birth and death, name of spouse, rank, type of service or assistance, and state where the patriot lived or served. If the patriot applied for a pension, this information is noted.
Researchers will find published DAR Patriot Indexes in library collections, but the information is also available through the DAR. To inquire about an ancestor that you feel may be listed in the index, check out their web page at http://www.dar.org/natsociety/pi_lookup.cfm. Fill out the request form, submit it and volunteers at the DAR will check at no charge for this information.
Women who have applied for membership in the DAR fill out application papers which contain extensive information proving their lineage to a Revolutionary War ancestor. The papers of active, resigned, dropped or deceased DAR members are held by the DAR. Their staff will search and copy an application for $10. The fee is nonrefundable, thus it is important to be sure your ancestor is listed in the DAR Patriot Index. The web page at http://www.dar.org/natsociety/content.cfm?ID=146&hd+n&FO=Y contains directions for ordering application papers.
While browsing the DAR web pages, be sure to check out their Online Library Catalog at http://www.dar.org/library/onlinlib.cfm. This can be searched by title, author, subject, and combinations of all three, plus by "anything" and "notes." Information is displayed regarding the book or item that matches your search parameters. From this you can locate the book if you are visiting the DAR headquarters in Washington, D.C., or you can inquire about having copies made of specific pages from the book. Keep in mind that many of the books fall under the copyright law.
In about 1910 members of the DAR began transcribing unpublished records that were genealogically beneficial. This has continued through the years as an ongoing project and in 1913 was named the Genealogical Research Committee or GRC. Since these early beginnings, approximately 17,000 typescripts have resulted. They were eventually renamed the Genealogical Records Committee Reports and are located in the DAR Library in Washington, D.C.
Sets of these records which pertain to states were placed in various libraries within the states. In the early 1970s some of these were microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah. The microfilm is available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and is available through their many Family History Centers. The entire collection was not filmed.
Many of the sources that were used in the extraction process are now difficult to locate. Indexing is being done by volunteers and merged into a national index. This is only an index and is searchable on Internet at http://members.dar.org/dar/darnet/grc/grc.cfm.
These reports are considered as a serial and to date there are about 18,275,579 names in the index. If you locate information that interests you, it can be checked at the DAR headquarters in Washington, D.C. or photocopies can be requested for a fee. The type of information in the collection varies ... Bible records, deeds, probate records, cemetery records and more.
The genealogical possibilities of the Daughters of the American Revolution are unlimited. Even if you have no Revolutionary War ancestry, it is worth your research time to check out what is available in their extensive and valuable collections.