Although I’ve been aware of having Revolutionary War ancestors, I’ve never done anything about proving the line in order to join a lineage society such as the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) or Sons of the American Revolution (SAR). In fact, I think I have five separate lines that can be traced to a Revolutionary soldier. Several years ago, a shirt-tail relative of mine (who did belong to the DAR) offered me all of her source material—but at the time I was too young (and dumb?) to take her up on the offer.
I recently surfed over to the DAR Web site to see what the requirements were for membership. I was surprised to find a DAR Patriot Lookup Service. If you fill out a request form, someone will check to see if a member has joined the DAR using the service record of a particular ancestor. If someone has joined using your soldier, it makes your life a bit easier, as some of the paperwork has already been done for you. You’ll normally get a response within a week. If your ancestor wasn’t found, you’ll receive an e-mail letting you know, and offering you assistance in documenting your patriot.
I’ve since been scouting out Revolutionary War sites and found a dandy called the Valley Forge Muster Roll Database. The searchable database contains the name, rank, state, regiment, brigade, company, division and monthly status of those who were at Valley Forge with General Washington. Guess what? I think I found another ancestor! Now all I need is the time to prove these lines.
For more handy Revolutionary sites:
• Liberty! The Story of the American Revolution
This site is a PBS companion to their 1997 series. Great site, particularly if you’re hazy about the events leading up to and through the war.
• Revolutionary War Bounty Land Grants
• Revolutionary War Soldiers Buried in Illinois
Search burials by county. The information on this site can be filled with clues, i.e. “Alexander Beggs was born in Antrim County, Ireland, May 30, 1754. Coming to America he entered the service of the colonies and served in 1776 for four months in Henry Lee’s Artillery company; he again enlisted in 1778 for three months and in 1781 for the same period, he also served ten months in 1777. He was captured at Brandywine but escaped that night. He was also in the battle of Stono. He served first in the Pennsylvania troops. After the war he removed to Union County, Illinois, where he died 4 Feb. 1837. He was pensioned.”