I’m Black, but I Want to Join the DAR. Help!

Tracing Your Roots: She traced her Revolutionary War roots via an early AME bishop and needs tips for applying.

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Name of your father, b. in [town/city, county, state] on [date of birth]; d. in [town/city, county, state] on [date of death]. He married in [town/city, county, state] on [date of marriage], [name of spouse].

Name of your mother, b. in [town/city, county, state] on [date of birth]; d. in [town/city, county, state] on [date of death].

You should continue this process for each generation, concluding with generation 8. You will need to provide evidence for each name, place and date for generations 1-8, starting with you, Ky’a Jackson (generation 1), through Phillip Townsend/Young (generation 8). Your qualification outline will consist of eight separate sheets of paper.

To provide evidence for each name, place and date, we first suggest locating all of the possible vital records (birth, marriage and death) for each generation. Vital records often provide information about an individual, such as the place and date of birth, as well as information about his or her parents.

Since the NSDAR is a lineage society, establishing proof of each generational connection is essential. There are several different sites that have large collections of digitized vital records, such as the subscription site Ancestry.com. There are also free sites, like those maintained by FamilySearch in Salt Lake City. Use variant spellings when searching for your ancestors, since spelling in the 18th and 19th centuries was not as uniform as it is today. 

For example, we examined FamilySearch’s database New Jersey, Marriages, 1678-1985 to locate a marriage record for Nicholas Jackson Jr. and his wife, Nettie Derickson. According to the indexed record, Nicholas married Nettie in Camden, Camden County, N.J., Feb. 27, 1888. The marriage record also indicates that Nicholas was born in 1864 and Nettie was born in 1871. Note that your great-great-grandmother’s surname was spelled “Derickson,” not “Derrickson.”

Since the 1888 marriage information was extracted from an index, you must locate a copy of the original record. The NSDAR does not accept indexed records as proof of lineage, since the full record may contain more genealogical information. Therefore, to locate the original 1888 marriage record, you could order the microfilm (film No. 495707) from FamilySearch for $7.50 and have it shipped to your local Family History Center or the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston. Locate the closest Family History Center on the FamilySearch website.

If you are unable to locate a specific vital record, we recommend exploring alternative records, such as cemetery records or inscriptions, obituaries, probate records, census records, Bible records, local histories and well-documented genealogies. Some examples are below:

Cemetery records and inscriptions: Several national cemetery databases offer free access to tombstone inscriptions and photographs. Generally, the NSDAR will accept photographs of tombstones as proof of death (and sometimes marriage). If you are using a tombstone photograph as evidence, include a clear photo of the stone as well as a broader, landscape photograph that shows the surrounding stones. This will provide the NSDAR with context and demonstrate the age of the tombstone. Sites include Find a Grave, BillionGraves, Interment.net and Locate Grave.

Obituaries: Several sites have large collections of digitized newspapers, such as the subscription sites Newspaper Archive and Newspapers.com. There are also free sites, like the Google News Archive and the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America Collection. If you are using an obituary as evidence, be sure to include a clear clipping of the article, as well as a photocopy of the entire page in which the obituary was printed. This will provide the NSDAR with a better citation for your source.