HeritageQuest Online Gets Better With Ancestry’s Support

HeritageQuest Online improvesHeritageQuest Online is now even more worth the trip to your local library to access for free, now that its new interface is powered by Ancestry.

For the past few months, library patrons have been getting used to a new version of HeritageQuest Online. This online genealogy resource, available only at libraries or through their websites, “has a new interface powered by Ancestry, enriching the search experience and streamlining the research process,” as described by a company press release a few months ago.

“The intuitive interface provides a fresh user experience that will be familiar to Ancestry.com users,” states the release. “A new Image Viewer offers basic and advanced capabilities without any plug-in, making it easy to share images with family and friends. Image resolution…is significantly improved with the addition of greyscale and color. The Research Aids resources for learning opportunities for novice, intermediate, and advanced searchers.”

Other bloggers have commented on the improved user interface, but what caught my eye was a more detailed, mouthwatering description of all the census extras and other new HeritageQuest Online content (from its site):

  • “Now available for searching is the entire U.S. Federal Census collection from Ancestry.com including supplements (e.g., 1940 Enumeration District Maps) and several schedules (e.g., non-population schedules) previously not included for searching.
  • 20,000 city directories have been added to the existing city directories in the Book collection, increasing the size of the Books collection to more than 45,000 titles.
  • Expanded content in the Revolutionary War Collection. The entirety of the NARA Series M804 is now included here, providing access not only to the previously available “Selected Records” (Series M805) but now also to the “Non-Selected” records of each file.”

Finally, four of the six HeritageQuest Online data collections (Census, Books, Revolutionary War, and Freedman’s Bank) have “brand new search pages with limits, exact matching options, and additional fields for searching.”

Resources:

5 Genealogy Resources to Look for at YOUR Public Library

WorldCat for Genealogy: 40 Million Records and Digital Gateway

Premium podcast 125Genealogy Gems Premium members can learn more about using HeritageQuest Online and other fantastic resources in Genealogy Gems Premium Podcast Episode 125. (Premium membership required: learn more about that here.)

Black Friday Specials: Genealogy Gift Ideas Galore!

This year I’m offering three great Holiday Bundles, available for 4 days only–through Cyber Monday (12/2/2013). Check out these extra-special genealogy gift ideas–for yourself,  a loved one, or as separate gifts for more loved ones.

ebook bundle
The eBook Bundle. Get a copy of each of my books in e-book format: How to Find Your Family History in NewspapersTurn Your iPad into a Genealogy PowerhouseThe Genealogist’s Google Toolbox and Genealogy Gems: Ultimate Research Strategies.
Bundle price of $29.95
Over 40% off the retail price of $50.80!

 

books

The Print Book Bundle. Prefer print? Get all 4 of my books in paperback instead of ebook format: How to Find Your Family History in NewspapersTurn Your iPad into a Genealogy PowerhouseThe Genealogist’s Google Toolbox and Genealogy Gems: Ultimate Research Strategies.
Bundle Price: $49.95
Over 40% off the retail price of $84.80!

 

Bonus EBookPremium + NEW EXCLUSIVE BONUS EBOOK!
GG Premium MembershipWhether you are subscribing for the first time or want to add an extra year
to your existing Genealogy Gems Membership, this is the sale for you!

Premium members get so much more than most people realize!
The 1 year subscription provides access to:

  • Over 100 exclusive Genealogy Gems Premium podcast episodes!
  • Over a dozen of my most popular classes on video!
  • The brand new video mini series: Get Started with Evernote!
  • Genealogy Gems Newsletter Archive full of tips!

A bargain at $29.95. But this special also gives you a special FREE BONUS Gift: Lisa Louise Cooke’s 67 Best Tips, Tricks and Tools from Family Tree Magazine ebook (Retail value: $15.97)

Are you currently a Member? You can still take advantage of this offer – the extra year will be added to the end of your current membership, extending your expiration date by one year. You won’t miss a day’s worth!

This EXCLUSIVE  ebook is a compilation of Lisa’s most popular articles from the pages of Family Tree Magazine. It’s 23 pages filled with innovative, usable ideas to help your research:

  • Family History Freebies – 41 Genealogy Goodies
  • On Assignment – How to conduct an effective family interview
  • Undercover Genealogy–  10 investigative strategies to locate living relatives
  • Using the David Rumsey Map Collection – How to access over 45,000 free digitized maps!
  • Finding Newspapers Through Journalism’s Voyage West – A step-by-step guide.
  • Organizing Your Hard Drive – Seven steps to organizing your computer files.

Happy shopping! And don’t delay – this sale ends on Cyber Monday December 2, 2013 at midnight PST.

 

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links and Genealogy Gems will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on these links (at no additional cost to you). Thank you for supporting Genealogy Gems!

 

Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 233

Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 233

with Lisa Louise Cooke
September 2019

Listen now, click player below:

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In this Episode

Today we’re going to take a look at what so many records and record collections have in common: they are often Lists. Now that may sound pretty straight forward, but there’s a lot more to Lists than meet the eye.

A list of names, places or other information has a lot to tell us and can be used in unique ways. Professional genealogist Cari Taplin joins me in this episode for a conversation about what is so lovely about lists.

My Summer Vacation

If you’ve been following me on Instagram – you can find me here on Instagram or by searching for genealogy gems podcast in the free Instagram app – then you know that I’ve spent a bit of my time this summer getting a taste of some of the work many of my ancestors did and probably that many of your ancestors did: farming.

Bill and I have a close friend who owns his grandfather’s 1904 homestead in North Dakota. A few years back Bill went up there to help them open it back up and get things up and running. This year we helped them harvest their crop of oats. (They even have a sign in the field that says, “These oats will grow up to be Cheerios”)

Cheerios in the farm fields

Of course, we used equipment that our ancestors may not have had. I learned to drive the combine, and I turned the field with the tractor. But in many ways, things haven’t changed all that much.

One of the things that really struck me was how the farming community out there pulls together.

Now to put this in perspective: the 240-acre homestead is about two miles down a dirt road from Canada. The house has fallen into disrepair over the decades, so our friend bought an old farmhouse in the nearby town where he grew up. That town has a population of just over 50 people!

North Dakota Farmland

North Dakota farmland. Photo Credit: Lisa Louise Cooke, Genealogy Gems

So, we’re talking about a pretty remote location, and folks are scattered on various farms miles apart. But when a tractor was in need of repair, within the hour a neighbor would be pulling up ready to crawl under it alongside our friend to work on it till it was fixed. When a piece of equipment was needed that he didn’t have, it would soon be rolling down the road from a neighboring farm to pitch in.

Everyone had one eye on the sky at all times to watch the ever-changing weather, and there was such a commitment by all to make sure no neighbor was left with unharvested crops before a storm hit.

So even though the combines of today are motorized massive machines with air conditioning and stereos, the work ethic, the commitment and the community was unchanged from when his granddad first filed his homestead claim. Bill and I felt really blessed to be a part of it.

Think of us next time you eat your cheerios.

Farm selfie

Farm selfie

MyHeritage

MyHeritage.com is the place to make connections with relatives overseas, particularly with those who may still live in your ancestral homeland. Click the logo above to get started.

GEM: Interview with Cari Taplin

If you’ve been doing genealogy for any length of time, then you have probably encountered a list. They come in all shapes and sizes, and at first glance they may seem very straight forward.

Cari Taplin, a certified genealogist out of Pflugerville, Texas, says it’s worth taking the time to really examine lists carefully because there may be more there than meets the eye.

Cari Taplin genealogist

Cari  currently serves on the boards of the Association for Professional Genealogists and is the Vice President of Membership for the Federation of Genealogical Societies. As the owner of GenealogyPANTS, she provides speaking, research, and consultation services, focusing on midwestern and Great Lakes states and methodology.

Types of Lists

Nearly every time we sit down to do genealogy research we run into a list. There are loads of them out there. Here’s just a starter list of the lists you might run into:

  • indexes of any kind
  • city directories
  • tax lists
  • petitions
  • censuses
  • church membership
  • members of a club or society
  • fraternal organization member lists
  • community groups
  • committees
  • lists in newspapers like hotel registrations, letters at post office
  • hospital admittances and discharges
  • cemetery books
  • event participants
  • jurors
  • estate sales
  • militia rolls
  • voter lists
  • land lottery winners
  • school class lists
  • yearbooks
  • agricultural lists
1850 census

Census records are examples of lists

Significance of List Construction

Of course, not every list is alphabetically organized by any means. We might run into a list of prison inmates listed by number, or burial sites listed by plot or location. The information can be organized in many different ways.

Cari says that the way the list maker decided to organize the list tells us a lot about the information.

For example, a list that is alphabetized might be an indication that it is a recreated list. Other ways that lists may be constructed include chronologically or by location.

Here are follow up tasks you can do:

  • Evaluate for potential error
  • Locate the original source

 

List Explanation or Instructions

Understanding the thinking behind how the list was constructed is also important.

The U.S. Federal Census is a great example of a list that has other background documents such as the enumerator instructions. We don’t see these instructional documents unless we go looking for them. The instructions provide background on the creation of the list, and that can help us get more out of it.

Research Tip: Measuring America: The Decennial Censuses From 1790 to 2000. From that page you download the PDF of enumerator instructions.

Here’s an example of how understanding the census enumerator instructions can help you better understand how to interpret it:

In 1900 the census was answered as if it were a particular day. This means that if someone died a few days later, they may still be listed as alive in the 1900 census. If you know that they died that year, you now have more information that it was after the enumeration date.

Genealogy websites like Ancestry, FamilySearch and MyHeritage often provide background on the creation and purpose of their record collections.  

Tax List example: there are laws behind them. Look up the statute. Google to find summations of tax laws at the time. Keep in mind that they might be in order of location.

When analyzing a list, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What was this list created for?
  • Why is it in this order?
  • What does that then tell me about these people?

What’s we’re really talking about is educating ourselves
so that we’re not contributing to the errors that get out there.
It’s an investment in accuracy.

Context

It can be tempting to just scan the list, grab your ancestor out of it, and move on. But if we do that, we could be leaving a lot of genealogical gold behind.

“Evidence mining requires attention to detail, including details that might initially seem insignificant.” ––BCG, Genealogy Standards, #40, p. 24

Here are some ideas as to what we should look for:

  • Sometimes it’s just a name (example: petition lists)
  • There might be columns at the top – pay attention to those details for more understanding
  • Other people in the list: the FAN Club (Friends, Associates, Neighbors.) Look for those names in other documents.

 

Organizing Your Research and the Data Collected from Lists

Cari uses spreadsheets to organize her genealogical research project data.

Come of the benefits of using a spreadsheet are that you can:

  • easily sort the data
  • easily manipulate the data
  • visualize the data in different forms

Free Download: Read How German Address Books at Ancestry.com are Helping Bust Brick Walls and download the free spreadsheet template.

Addresses found in German Address Books marked in the spreadsheet

Addresses found in German Address Books marked in the spreadsheet

Explore the Bigger List

Often times you do a search, and you find a single record. But that single record is actually part of a massive internal list, an indexed list from which the search engine is pulling.

An example of this is when you run a search for your ancestor at the Bureau of Land Management website (BLM).  After finding your ancestor’s record, you can then run a search by that land description to find other people who owned land and possibly lived nearby.

Watch the FamilySearch video on the batch search technique that Lisa mentioned.

What Constitutes Proof?

“Evidence mining requires attention to detail, including details that might initially seem insignificant.” – BCG, Genealogy Standards, #40, p.24

Review the Genealogical Proof Standard in the show notes for Genealogy Gems Podcast episode 232.

2 men with 1 name

When everyone in the family wants to name their children after Grandpa, you can end up with a lot people in a county with the same name. You need to tease them apart.

Questions to ask:

  • Who did they associate with?
  • Who were their siblings?
  • Where were each of them located?

All of these things can help differentiate them. A spreadsheet is an excellent tool for this.

The Yearbook List Example

Very often the list of names is the full list of students. However, not every student necessarily had their photo taken. Count the names and then count the photos to verify you have the right person. Search the Ancestry Yearbook collection to try and find another photo of the person to compare.  

Cari’s Main Message

Don’t skip over a list because it’s lacking some identifying information. You still need to record it. You may come back to it one day!

Visit Cari Online: Genealogy Pants

 

Profile America: The Gregorian Correction

Wednesday, September 11th. This was a day that didn’t exist in Colonial America in 1752, as the familiar calendar underwent what is called the “Gregorian correction,” switching from the ancient Julian calendar to adjust for errors accumulated over centuries.

After September 2nd, the next day was September 14th. The British parliament’s Calendar Act of 1750 had also changed New Year’s Day from March 25th to January 1st. As a result, the year 1751 had only 282 days. Since then, with leap years built in as in 2020, the calendar has remained constant.

Sources: 
Calendars timeline, accessed 6/6/2019  
Calendar Act  
Calendar riots  
Printing services, County Business Patterns, NAICS 32311  
Printing employment, Annual Survey of Manufacturers, NAICS 32311  

News: Watch Lisa’s new MyHeritage Education Center

Visit the MyHeritage Education Center to watch videos and read article to help you get more out of using MyHeritage. Watch the presentation at the MyHeritage Education Center: How to Find Your Family in Newspapers with SuperSearch

Download the Show Notes PDF in the Genealogy Gems Podcast app. 

 

Joining the DAR: 5 things you need to know

Show Notes: Do you have a revolutionary war ancestor? Have you thought about joining the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR)? I’ve invited Barbara Jurs of the DAR to explain the process. In this video, you’ll learn the answers to the questions:

  • What is the DAR?
  • What do I need to do first? 
  • How much genealogical proof do I need?
  • How do I apply for the DAR?
  • How do I find local DAR chapters near me?
how to join the DAR

Watch in the video player below

 

Watch the Video Premiere with Live Chat

Show Notes:

Downloadable ad-free Show Notes handout & printable worksheet for Premium Members

1. What is the DAR?

Barbara: Many people have the misconception that it is just a lineage society. But the DAR was founded On October 11, 1890, and it is a service organization. Many people do not know that it is a service organization.

Some of the things that we really emphasize are historic preservation, education, patriotism, good citizenship, and we honor our ancestors. We are devoted to educating youth, preserving our past, promoting genealogy, American history, and all kinds of service projects. Anything that you have an interest in, you can find a chapter to use your talents and gifts to help the chapter in the state and the nation. It’s a very vibrant and exciting type of organization to be a part of.

2. What do I need to do first to apply to the DAR?

Lisa: There will be many people watching who are in the same boat that I’m in, knowing that they have a revolutionary war ancestor. They think they know how they connect to that person. Give us kind of the high-level overview of what are the steps of the application process.

Barbara: There are many ways to start the process. DAR recommends that you start with what you know, which is what we are told to do in genealogy. Start with making your pedigree chart or writing down as much as you know about your family. Then, begin finding documents.

I work with each individual a little bit differently. If the individual knows she has a DAR relative, that really is a good way to start. If you have a mother, a grandmother, an aunt, a great grandmother, and you know that name, that is very helpful, because she will have a verified application that will provide you a lineage that has been verified by DAR.

It’s also helpful to approach a local-area chapter. You can also go on the DAR website and express your interest. Someone will get in touch with you to tell you what chapters are in the area and help you start that process so you can go visit them.

Each chapter has a registrar. Some chapters have linage research committee chairs. The registrar will meet you and take your information. She can help you determine whether you have a verified patriot.

There’s some work you can do at home at the DAR website. At the top, you’ll see, Join GRS, Give, Members, Genealogy, Blog and Shop. The Join button will take you directly to the area that I was mentioning, that can help you. There you can fill out an interest survey or get in touch if you don’t know someone in your area.

The section that says Genealogy tells you all kinds of things as to where you can begin. In addition to starting with what you know, it also encourages you to speak to your relatives and begin collecting documents. There are some databases available such as the Ancestor Search, the Membership Search, and the Descendants Database.  All have information of all verified applications that go back to the very beginning.

In your case, you told me you had a patriot ancestor. That was the first thing that I did before I even looked at your pedigree chart. I checked to see if he’s in the system. We check to make sure there are not any red notes, meaning that there were problems that have been discovered since a person became a member using that Patriot, such as an error in linage. The registrar can go in, look to see how many applications there are, and when the last one was verified.

You can do a lot of that on your own. When you have identified a chapter that you’re very interested in, the registrar has the ability to go a little bit further and to see what we call images that can help the applicant in the process. But there is a lot you can do on your own. Let’s just say for example, that you did not know who your Patriot was. You could use the Descendants Database, if you had your pedigree chart, and you could plug in the names of all of your descendants. A lot of people don’t use this database, but it’s wonderful for genealogists because you can find lineages. So, you put your chart up there, and I actually did this in preparation to see if there are applicants in your line. I was hoping that maybe I’d find a great-grandparent or someone much closer. We all hope that as registrars. I was able to identify two children of your patriot who is Jehu Burkhardt, and there were some children that were identified, and one of yours is a verified son, Henry.

In addition to searching on names, you can add a state if you know where he was born and pull up different suggestions. And that helps, especially if you don’t know if you have an ancestor.  But if you have an ancestor, like you did, then I sort of start at the top, because at the time we started talking, I did not know your full pedigree. The other way is, like the DAR suggested, that if you know your pedigree, you would go work your way up. If you have a DAR member, you can put the member number in, such as an aunt or your grandmother, if she will share the DAR number. The general public won’t be given any names of anyone that is living, because DAR is very, very protective about identity.

Lisa: If somebody hasn’t gotten that far back, then really, it’s starting with the genealogical research and citing your sources. We are going to need those sources to provide the proof along the way of the connections. When it comes to those searchable databases, just to clarify, do we need to have an account? Is there any kind of restriction, or can the general public go in and start searching?

Barbara: Absolutely! You can put in ancestors’ names to find out if they are a verified patriot. You can use the descendants and see if any of the descendants are in lineages. You can use the Membership to see if you find that there is a member in your family. For example, if you have an aunt that is a member you can put that in and find out whether there is a verified lineage. Hopefully, there is one and it doesn’t have any issues. As more and more applications are done, and more and more research is done, sometimes those very early applications were not done with as many sources as we have now, and they didn’t follow the genealogical proof standards.  They were many with hearsay or letters or books, and the DAR has, and rightly so, been putting a lot of emphasis on the proof because it is proof of bloodline, biological.

I also forgot to say to that they have a wonderful section for Bible records. Again, when you work with the registrar, the registrar can actually help you with your research to identify whether there’s a Bible with your actual family. The DAR has been collecting Bible records and is still collecting Bible records and transcribing them. It’s a fabulous project!

We also have what is called the GRC, and that has many, many books. DAR daughters have been transcribing and going to graveyards and going to repositories for many years and transcribing and making books available that can be utilized. In some cases, when it’s an actual transcription, it is accepted for part of the lineage proof. The Library link to the DAR is incredible!

And then there’s a Patriots Index also. You can go to the Patriots Index and find out about all kinds of patriots. The DAR has an incredible amount of genealogical information that even a non-DAR member can utilize. I know many of the sons of the American Revolution applicants, because the SAR usually accepts a DAR application, not vice versa. They will often go on the public site to see if there are lineages to help with the individual in their SAR application, and also other societies too.

3. How much genealogical proof do I need to apply to the DAR?

Lisa: So, as you were looking at my pedigree chart and you were looking people up in the system, we verified that Jehu served in the Revolutionary War. Does the system, when we go in search, tell us that I indeed have somebody at some point who was a member? Did you find other members? There must have been somebody I guess who tied into that same ancestor. But how do I know when I look at it what work I might need to do to make sure that I can prove that I connect to that patriot?

Barbara: That’s a good question, Lisa. Yes, I did look up Jehu Burkhardt and there are 37 DAR members who have joined under him. The most recent was probably about three years ago. That particular person went in on a different sibling than yours. And you are under the son, Henry. And that is an important point: when you’re looking for your Patriot if you do know a patriot, knowing who the child is, whether it’s male or female is extremely important. When you pull up on the database, it helps you figure out which applications will go under that particular child.

As with doing genealogy, you always have to remember that sometimes you’ve got to go out into the sibling lines. You were lucky in that Henry was proven. But let’s just say that there was another sibling of Henry that you descended from, and he had not been a proven line. You would want to find out what documentation the descendant, the DAR member, submitted for that sibling. Maybe there’s a Bible record that lists all of the children. That’s when you really begin the process seriously with a chapter and with a registrar, or lineage research chair. The registrar will actually be able to go in and look at the documents that were submitted. That can help you in your genealogical proofs.

Now, you asked about the genealogical proofs. For DAR, oh, gosh, I calculated at one time, but with eight generations, the number of tiny data entries that we make from the name of the person, which sometimes has a first name, a middle name, and a last name, the date of birth, which has a day, a month and a year, and then the location which can have a town, a county and a state. If you look at each generation and see the number of tiny data entry that you need, and then multiply that by eight, you come up with anywhere from over 300 to 400 tiny facts. So, as you collect your documents, you always have to be thinking about these things.

You need to be able to prove a date of birth, and a place of birth and date of death, and a place of death. That varies according to the generation. So, in generations, one, two, and three, DAR expects completeness. And so, you would need to, for example for yourself, provide a complete amount of information for your birth. And it used to be a requirement than if you were married, you had to provide your spouse’s information. That is now optional. If you have children or nieces and nephews, you may want to go ahead and do that, or if you anticipate grandchildren wanting to join down the road, include them because it makes it a whole lot easier. If you go ahead and do that and have it in the system, then it gets verified.

The fourth generation is a tricky generation in the sense that the DAR says that beginning with the fourth you only have to provide a minimal amount of information and that is either a place of birth and date or a place of death and the date of death. One or the other, not half of each. The fourth generation is in a time when vital records are usually available. So, DAR expects that if the vital records are available, you should try your hardest to get those. My mentor registrar was a registrar for 33 years and she always taught me to treat the fourth generation like the third. In other words, try to go past the minimum and try to get your death certificates, your birth certificates, and marriage certificates which  I really encourage because it proves the name changes. The easiest way is to get a marriage record. And there is a difference between a marriage record and a marriage certificate. Try to get that because that’s the easiest way to prove a name change.

Then, for the fifth generation all the way up to the Patriot, follow that same procedure. When you get to the patriot there are a lot of little caveats to it, because the patriot has a set of data that is required. And if he is already verified, you don’t have to redo it. The spouse has another. The registrar has a guidelines book, and she can tell you specifically what your scenario is because she can go in and look to see how many pieces of data are missing. But basically, the Patriot needs a date of death and a place of death and a birth.

4. How do I apply for the DAR?

Lisa: Are we going to be submitting this information on a printed form? Or, are we providing the information to the registrar, and they are entering it? Or are we entering the information directly into a website form? And what method are we going to be delivering all this in our final application?

Barbara: Good questions. DAR has paper forms that are still being utilized. And we now have gone to an electronic version as well. You can do that in collaboration with your registrar.

For example, if you had approached me and said, hey, I’m interested in joining the Battle of Cal pens chapter in South Carolina, I would download the most recent application for your patriot. In your case, it was about three years ago. I would then do what we call build an app. There would be an application populated automatically with your ancestor. I would take out all of the generations that have nothing to do with you. That’s when I would look to see if you have at least a great-grandmother who was in DAR, and if you had, then I would go to that application and download it and merge it or cut a copy and paste it in. And that’s where each chapter is a little bit different depending upon how large they are, and how trained their genealogists are.

Some chapters have big teams, where the registrar can download that application, send it with the permission of the applicant, and have people work with that individual and help them build it. Others, like in my case, have many ladies who need a lot of help with the lineage research. I’m training people in my chapter. I can send your information to a trusted DAR member and say I would like you to be working with this particular person, she can send it to you electronically and let you fill it in is to the best of your ability with the documents that you have. The electronic version is totally different. It has a totally different set of processes. And that’s where you do it in a chapter where that is being practiced.

5. How do I find a local DAR chapter near me to apply through?

Lisa: It sounds like it’s a teamwork approach with a local chapter. So how does a new applicant decide which chapter to join? Do they each have their own website? Or would do we do that through the main website?

Barbara: We’ve had several Texans move to South Carolina and they found out about the chapters in my region by going to the DAR national website and filling out the electronic Member Interest Form on the DAR website. It gets filtered back to our South Carolina membership chair or maybe directly to a district director or maybe to several chapters of the regions. In your particular case I did a little bit of research to find out what chapters are in the area where you live, and I can share that information with you. Then you can contact each of those chapters from the website.

3 ways to find a DAR chapter near you:

  1. Use the Chapter Locator
  2. Visit the State and Chapter Websites page and click the state of interest
  3. Google to find state chapters. Example: Texas DAR chapters

Visit the local chapter website to learn more about their chapter and their projects. And sometimes they have Facebook pages which are very active. I encourage you to visit because most chapters now love to have guests. And once you make that contact with either the Regent, which is the President, or a registrar or a membership chair (if they have one), they will invite you to a meeting.

If you’re still in a working career, you might want to find a chapter that meets on the weekends or in the evenings. But if that doesn’t matter, it may be that choosing a day of the week is more important, because you might have other obligations.

Because you have communicated to me that you didn’t already have some chapters in mind, I would recommend going to the DAR website and looking and reading all about DAR and then googling Texas chapters and choosing your area of where you live and what would be the closest to you and contacting them.

If you are joining during this time, you’ll be joining during a very exciting time. Most chapters and the National are gearing up for the 250th anniversary of the revolution. So, many chapters are doing all kinds of things to get ready for that.

The value of being a member of the DAR

Lisa: I’d love to know what has been involved in the DAR meant for you. What do you like most about it?

Barbara: Oh my gosh, Lisa. Well, I was lucky that I was in the Children of the American Revolution from about age 11 or 12 until going off to college. My grandmother had been in the DAR. I did not know it was her dream for me to be in both organizations. She died when I was a young child, but she instilled in me as did all of my grandparents, a love for genealogy and patriotism, and history.

As careers come and families and so forth, there was no one that told me to join right after the Children of the American Revolution and go right into DAR. I wish I had known that. But that’s okay. I had the opportunity to go and visit a chapter and join. And it has been one of the most rewarding experiences.

I just love the idea of learning about our Constitution, learning about the history of the nation, but also the history of the region where I live. I am native South Carolinian, although I’ve lived in other southeastern states and my ancestry are all Northern. I learned so much about how the backwoods men and the militia in the upstate of South Carolina were so involved in the Battle of Cowpens and Kings Mountain. Having grown up in historic Camden, South Carolina, where the battle of Camden was, I was very aware of that.

I also loved that the projects that many of the chapters do support veterans, support patriotism, support education. We give scholarships and do all kinds of things for schools. It’s just unbelievable the amount of service that we can do. And so, I love that aspect of what we as women are doing for our nation.

I can just talk on and on! I love the camaraderie of other women who enjoy learning. And so many of the chapters have incredible programs that can touch on all topics. I know that my education has grown so much.

And then of course, loving genealogy as I do, I’m working on applications and memorializing these ancestors. I enjoy helping the ladies that join and telling them the stories that I discover that they may not have known. I know I had a revolutionary war ancestor, but in the process, you’re starting from the time you are born, and having to research or look at all of the generations, and you learn things about your family, or learn things about the family that you are helping the applicant with, that they don’t know. I could just go on and on! You can tell I’m so excited about it. I think all the lineage societies have this enthusiasm and excitement also.

Lisa: Well, I appreciate you sharing your enthusiasm and excitement with all of us. I’m excited to explore it further and do my homework and make some of those final connections. I’m going to take you up on the idea of visiting a couple of local chapters and seeing where I’d like to get involved. There’s just nothing better than learning more about family history, our country, and how fortunate we are to be in this wonderful, wonderful country. I have a new grandbaby on the way, so there are lots of generations to come to share it with.

Barbara: When I was doing yours, I got so excited because not your direct line, but the sibling, ended up settling in a county where I have property. And I was looking at documents and seeing names of clerks and seeing rivers and talking about the deeds and how they got there. And I was like, “Oh my gosh, this is just so wonderful. I wish she could see pictures of where part of her family went to but even before that, the North Carolina connection, and the Yadkin River Valley is such a beautiful area.” The sibling that ended up in Ashe County came from parents that would have gone into that Yadkin Valley. It’s wonderful to be able to share with someone that lives far away from their ancestral area when you’ve had personal experience with it.

Lisa: It’s amazing how many connections we all have. I’m sure that happens a lot as you visit with different people. We certainly find that in genealogy, that serendipity that happens when we sit next to someone at the archives or the library and realize we’re related. It’s amazing.

It’s been wonderful to talk with you. I’m going to check back in with you after I do more homework. Barbara, thank you so much for helping all of us learn more about the DAR and how to get involved.

Barbara: It has been an honor Lisa, to talk with you and to share your excitement and also an honor to represent South Carolina, DAR and the national DAR, and my chapter. So, thank you so much!

(This interview was minimally edited for clarity)

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