I am in the beginning stages of joining the prestigious Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). A non profit women's organization established in 1890, the organization focuses on the promotion of historic preservation, education, and patriotism. If you are a male, you can apply for membership in the Sons of the American Revolution.
Membership in these organizations gives you a forum for the exchange of historical information and genealogy research with others with shared interests. Any female 18+ who can provide documentation of their lineal descent* from a Patriot of the American Revolution can apply for DAR membership. There are approx 3,000 local chapters of the DAR, you can search for a chapter near you. *Lineal Descent: Belonging to or being in the direct line of descent from an ancestor. Ex parent, grandparent, great grandparent...
I recently discovered my 7x great grandfather, Samuel Merrill, was a participant of the American Revolution as a Lieutenant in the 30th Regiment of Foot from Buxton, ME. I first learned of his involvement in the American Revolution from my Ancestry.com family tree. When viewing Samuel Merrill there was a leaf indicating a possible historical record match. When I reviewed the hint I was brought to an application to the DAR from 1909 with a Samuel Merrill listed as the Patriot in which the applicant was proving their lineal descent. The applicant was not from my direct line but had similar information so I decided to do a little digging to see if this was in fact the same Samuel Merrill I was researching.
To do this I focused on my direct line from Samuel Merrill to flush through and verify the information and sources I already had for these specific ancestors. I worked my way up the line, starting with myself going up 10 generations in my tree to Samuel. Feeling confident in my lineal descent from Samuel, I filled out a Member Interest form on the DAR website to get the ball rolling. This is simple form to notify DAR of your interest and get you connected to a local chapter to learn more about the application process.
A week or two later I received an email from the Brooklyn DAR Chapter with a genealogy worksheet for me to complete. The genealogy worksheet has blanks to fill in genealogical information about the ancestors in your direct line to connect the generations up to the Patriot. All of the information needs to supplemented with documented sources and you have to indicate what sources you have for the information you provide (vital records, census records, certificates, etc.). I thought I was pretty organized but I quickly found out how scattered my information was! If anything this process so far has really helped me organize, connect loose ends, and encourage me to learn more about these ancestors.
I've completed the worksheet and emailed it back to my contact. Hopefully I'll hear back soon! I hope I entered in the information correctly and thoroughly enough. Fingers crossed.