Thursday, August 16, 2012

DAR - Take 2



“Cuz I said so” is not a good answer when the DAR asks why you deserve to be a member of this prestigious organization.  You can’t go on family lore.  You can’t just have a pretty printed family tree.  You can’t say you saw it on Ancestry.  Nope.  You have to have the concrete evidence. 

“Evidence” is defined ideally as the actual certificates of birth, death, and marriage.  When those are not available, other forms of evidence can be used including family bibles, pictures of tombstones, church records, military records, newspaper articles, even family letters. 

To keep myself straight, I created an Excel spreadsheet to record what evidence I have, what I still need, and where I should look. 

Part of my spreadsheet
Click to enlarge


One of the FEW shortcuts in the application process is to intersect with an already proven patriot.  I knew my ancestor Leonard Davis had already been recognized through the efforts of a descendent of Leonard’s daughter, Sarah Davis Lamb. Not much of a shortcut for me.  I don’t descend through Sarah, but I looked at the parts of the application available online to see if there is anything to help me.

And while looking, I was distracted by the lure of other possible patriot connections.  I searched for other family names.  Angus Rucker came up.  I knew he was a proven patriot, but I have never been sure he is “mine.”  Eleven applications through five of Angus’s children are listed. One of them is John Franklin Rucker, my ancestor, who has for years been the focus of a Rucker debate. 

The Rucker Society is HUGE.  Rucker researchers are numerous.  And they historically have been divided about this John Franklin.  Some say he was the son of Jarvis; some say he was the son of Angus.  Both had sons named John who moved from Madison County to Rockingham in Virginia.  Not so easy to determine one from the other.

There is strong circumstantial evidence to say John Franklin was son of Angus.  First of all, his daughter Eliza Rucker Baugher named one of her sons Angus.  Why not honor her Revolutionary War hero-grandfather?  Second, his son Frank Rucker named one of his sons George Allen, the same name as John Franklin’s brother. 

But circumstantial evidence isn’t good enough for the DAR.

I wanted to see what the applicant knew that I didn’t.  How did she prove her connection to Angus through John Franklin?  I paid the $10 to download a copy of the application.  I knew from looking at a sample application that I would not see copies of the actual documents that served as proof, but I should be able to see the bibliographical information. 

But drat it all -- there is no true bibliography.  Instead, there are just code numbers for each level of proof. I guess the shortcut isn't so short after all.   

Good news:  my sister and I have two patriots.  

Bad news:  my sister and I have doubled our workload.









11 comments:

  1. Oh dear, I hope you can make some sense of the information you are able to glean. The same family names are diffiuclt to trace. It still goes on today. My cousin named his eldest son after himself and his youngest son after his father and they all begin with the letter R! I pity future generations of this side of my family trying to do what you are doing!

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    1. At least we live in the days of clearER paper trails. The further back you go, the less concrete evidence there is.

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  2. Researching makes me feel a bit like Nancy Drew--which I love. :) Good luck with your search. Have fun!

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  3. Wendy, I'm enjoying your posts on your quest to join the DAR. Last winter my application was submitted and I got a letter from the national office requesting additional information. I wasn't sure I would ever find what I needed, but thanks to a volunteer researcher in Union County, Ohio, I was able to send in additional documentation yesterday that should prove the relationship in question. Doing the work required to join the DAR (or any lineage society) is a good way to hone your research skills!

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    1. You're right about that. I just about have memorized what things I can find for free at the Library of Virginia, and what I need to order from the Dept. of Vital Records and at what cost. I am curious though about the additional documentation you had to supply. If I have birth, death, and marriage records, should I expect to supply anything else?

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  4. I spent last year going through this, but I learned a lot of information in the process. Just when I thought I had it several times, 1 piece of proof stood in my way. Shirley

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  5. Wendy, you are right on about that nexus strategy...but as you pointed out, sometimes we get tempted down the bunny trail of other proven patriots. When you mentioned Davis, I felt that pull once again! During our family's last trip to Fort Wayne to the Allen County Public Library genealogy collection, I ran across some more DAR possibilities--with links and codes! Tantalizing.

    But I think the best route for now is to stick with the original ancestors I've selected to focus on. I think it's better to get one application finished and submitted than to have five or six possibilities in a holding pattern and never get to "go."

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    1. You're right. I think the process allows for only one at a time anyway. You have to get one approved before adding others. I wonder which patriot will be easier to complete.

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  6. Thanks for sharing your DAR pursuit with us. It's interesting to see all that goes into the process. :)

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  7. Those numbers listed for each generation? Those are DAR membership numbers. It appears that the application you downloaded was verfied and accepted to DAR the same way you are trying to get in - by hooking up to a previously proven application.
    You need to contact the registrar of your local DAR Chapter and have her assist you so you don't waste any more money. Or if you email me - sherifenley@gmail.com - I will see what I can do.

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