Working with DAR Applicants

Last week, in my capacity as Education Chair for the Minnesota Genealogical Society, I had the opportunity to work with prospective members of the Daughters of the American Revolution. In partnership with the Minnesota State Society DAR, MGS offered a three-hour workshop to support women preparing DAR applications. Despite a freezing drizzle, over thirty prospective members attended. MNSSDAR provided volunteers experienced in preparing applications, and MGS created a special opening time for our Library and Research Center and staffed it with half a dozen volunteer research consultants.

During the afternoon, I worked with a number of prospective members. All had done extensive research into their family history, most of it very good research using original sources. My role developed into helping them write down the links between the generations that ultimately connect them to the patriot whose service during the American Revolution will enable them to be a candidate for DAR membership. Once we laid out each prospective member’s lineage on paper, we talked about the kinds of evidence needed to document (in DAR terms, “prove”) the birth, marriage, and death of each person in the lineage and the links between generations. In some cases, we did on the spot research, either finding a suitable proof document, or finding out where to get one.

The research consultant’s job was to help the prospective members break a broad, general objective–write a DAR application–down into achievable pieces (write down the lineage, fill in the facts and proofs they had, determine how to find the missing information and proofs), and then showing them how to treat each piece the same way.

Just another day doing genealogy, but what fun! Wearing my MGS hat, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with MNSSDAR–partnering makes each organization’s resources go farther. Wearing my genealogical educator hat, I loved showing the prospective members (some of them from my own DAR chapter) how to find information about the resources they need–I’m always about teaching people how to fish. (You know the quotation–“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”) And as I always am in this wonderful pastime, I was moved by how each prospective member’s individual family history fits into the broader tapestry of American history.