I have been diligently working on a Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) supplement this week. Something about celebrating Independence Day inspired me to tackle it after procrastinating for quite some time. I have been a member since 2009, when I got extremely lucky and joined on my Mema Garison’s already proven DAR line. For those of you unfamiliar with DAR, in order to join you must prove your lineage to a proven Patriot or establish a new Patriot through recorded historical documentation (muster rolls, pension records, etc.) A Patriot is defined as someone who fought in the war, but also as someone who aided in the war effort by providing goods, services, livestock, and funding in support of the war effort. For my initial membership application, I had it really easy. I only had to prove my relationship to Mema as she had already proven her relationship to Major Richard Goode with primary documentation. Richard was engaged in 1776 as a Captain of a company in the North Carolina Militia. He fought in a campaign against the Scotch Tories with who a battle occurred at Moore’s Creek Bridge on February 27, 1776. He served with General Rutherford’s expedition against the Cherokee’s and was the adjutant of Colonel William’s regiment. He was also in the battles at Ramsour’s Mill, Guilford Court House and Eutaw Springs.
Again, I had it pretty easy with my initial membership application. A copy of my birth certificate and my father’s was all I needed. While many would think I was lucky (I did at the time), I realized this week that I robbed myself of really learning about research, getting to know each of the generations on my lineage, and the thrill of obtaining another verified source. There is something really exhilarating about proving each link of the chain with a verified source, and not just taking what family legend or an online family tree at face value. While online searches are certainly a great place to start, and often can help you find sources such as census and military records, they often have incorrect information posted by individuals searching their own family trees. I am currently working on a supplement application for my Patriot Arthur Garrison. A supplement application is one where you prove lineage to a Patriot other than the one you initially applied for membership. For this application I almost had to start from scratch. I pretty much knew my lineage to him from my Mema’s old research notes, but she had not left behind any primary source material. SOURCES ARE EVERYTHING. If I learned nothing else in college and graduate school, they will make or break you. Your family history research is only as good as the sources you provide. Not citing or verifying sources is NOT an option for any credible research. I have come to the conclusion that verifying the source is part of the fun and the challenge of family history research. It’s trying to solve a big puzzle so you can see the whole picture of not just your ancestors, but also of who you are and how you connect to the history of the world and humanity in general. The sources also help to make your ancestors jump off the page, no longer just a name. Some will give you details on their service in major wars, some on their life status. Some will give you a description of what they look like. When you are really lucky, sources will give you not just information on the ancestor you are searching, but also provide information on another ancestor that you haven’t yet discovered.
I have enormously enjoyed researching my lineage to Arthur Garrison. I have learned much about each generation and what motivated them to move from New York, to Pennsylvania, to South Carolina and then to Arkansas. I can’t wait to share their story on this blog! I have learned about my place in American history through them. I have also learned that while my ancestors were strong resilient individuals, they were still human.
NOW, I just have ONE more source to obtain before my DAR supplement application is complete! Once I have this application finished, it will help me with my application for the Huguenot Society, also on the Garrison line. Two more generations to prove with verified sources and that application will also be complete. The searching never ends. Thank goodness!
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