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What You'll Find at the Daughters of the American Revolution Library

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Books, Newspapers, Membership Applications, and More
Did you know that the Daughters of the American Revolution's library collection can be searched online? Find out what you can learn and how to get ahold of pieces from this unique collection.

Like any large genealogy library, the Daughters of the American Revolution Library has a wide variety of books, newspapers, magazines, and microfilms. Their collection includes more than 25,000 family histories, genealogies, and local histories and can be searched online.

The Daughters of the American Revolution Library also has several unique resources, including their Genealogical Records Committee Reports. These are sets of records that have been collected for preservation over the years. They were collected from all fifty states and include a great variety of records including Bible records, cemetery inscriptions, wills, and marriage records. If you can't make it to the library itself to use this card catalog, you will find that much of the information in these reports has been indexed in the following books:

  • The Cemetery Record Compendium by John and Diane Stemmons
  • The Vital Record Compendium by John and Diane Stemmons
  • An Index to Some of the Family Records of the Southern States by E. Kay Kirkham
  • An Index to Some of the Bibles and Family Records of the United States by E. Kay Kirkham.

The DAR Library also maintains the membership applications of those who have joined the Daughters of the American Revolution. Each member's application shows how they are descended from a Revolutionary War patriot and includes the sources that the person used to prove their descendancy. For a small fee, any member or potential member can request a copy of the application of a deceased ancestor. However, to get a copy of a current member's application, you must first contact the member to get their permission.

These membership applications can prove very useful in your research because they contain names, dates, locations, and sources for the direct line between the Revolutionary War-era ancestor and the person who submitted the application. Thus, if you can prove the connection to the person who made the application, you have an instant jump forward in your research.

The Daughters of the American Revolution Patriot Index may also be of interest to anyone who believes that they have Revolutionary War-era ancestors. This index lists all of the Revolutionary War patriots who have been used for membership and includes information such as the patriot's birth date, death date, spouse's name, a few details about their service, and the names of people who have used the individual to join the Daughters of the American Revolution. This list is also of interest to researchers because many of the individuals who participated in the Revolution were immigrants, so the index may tell you where they came from. In the mid-eighties, the Daughters of the American Revolution created an additional index that lists all of the spouses of the patriots — in most cases, the patriots' wives, so it is an excellent source for information about 18th and 19th century women.

Although the Daughters of the American Revolution library is a non-circulating library, you can order photocopies of microfilm pages, book pages, files, and membership applications. However, you must find out in advance what materials you would like copied and then send in a specific request. Keep in mind that the Patriot Index and some other indexes to Daughters of the American Revolution materials are available in other genealogy libraries, so you don't necessarily have to visit to find out what they have. Check with your local genealogy library or Family History Center.

If you are interested in doing in-depth research in the Daughters of the American Revolution Library, or wish to have a more detailed overview of the library, try their 180-page book titled American Genealogical Research at the Daughters of the American Revolution, Washington, D.C. It details how you can make the most of the Daughters of the American Revolution Library for your genealogical research.

What Else Does the Daughters of the American Revolution Do?

In addition to maintaining their library, the Daughters of the American Revolution has several other functions. They run schools for disadvantaged children, provide scholarships in the areas of history and medicine, have historic preservation projects, and work with veteran patients, among many other activities.

If you would like to become a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, you must be at least 18 years old, and must be able to prove "lineal, blood line, descent from an ancestor who aided in achieving American independence." This does not mean that your ancestor must have been a soldier in the Revolutionary War — there are many possible categories into which your ancestor may fit.

Lest you think that these activities are limited to adults, note that there is an associated organization for boys and girls under 18 called the National Society of the Children of the American Revolution. If you would like to get your children or grandchildren involved in genealogy and history, this might be a fun way to start.

About the Author
This article was written by staff.

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