Thursday, January 7, 2016

A Funny Thing Happened . . .

. . . on the way to the DAR. It’s been a couple years in the making, but we finally made it. On New Year’s Eve I received an email from Pam, the registrar of the Fort Nelson chapter of the DAR, saying “Verified Apps! You’re IN!” At last my mother’s dream to join this prestigious organization has come true through her daughters.

But getting here was not easy. In late summer 2015 we submitted our paperwork linking us to Leonard Davis, our 4X great-grandfather.  Our efforts were hampered by the difficulty of finding those required birth, marriage, and death records for the fifth and sixth generations. We thought surely an old, OLD family Bible belonging to Mitchell Davis, our 2X great-grandfather, would clinch the deal because it gave death dates for his father Leonard Jr. and grandfather Leonard Sr., the proven patriot.

However, DAR did not buy it. Nothing in the Bible stated precisely who they were. Deeds showing Mitchell and his mother selling their rights to Leonard’s estate did not convince the DAR either despite a detailed analysis of all the evidence penned by our capable registrar. The application came back with a laundry list of what we should do next.

Being the obedient child that I am, I launched in right away to find new documents and plan for a future research trip to obtain probate records that might be more convincing than the apparently “flimsy” evidence submitted earlier.

Then Mr. Sam Towler came along.  He is a volunteer with the Albemarle County Chancery Cases Preservation Project. In addition to transcribing and indexing the old documents, he scours the Internet for additional information about the people and places mentioned in each case so that he can include new findings in the case folder for the benefit of future researchers. While working on two related cases, Jarman vs Jordan and Shiflett vs Clayton, Mr. Towler found my blog featuring William Jordan which I had written as part of the 52 Ancestors project in 2014. He thought I might be interested.

Interested?! Heck yeah!

Among the documents Mr. Towler sent was a copy of William Jordan’s declaration as a patriot applying for a pension which conveniently named his wife and children. Witness accounts confirmed the same. Two lawsuits and receipts echoed those familiar names and – even better – the husband of Williams’ daughter Susan who was my 3X great-grandmother AND then her daughter and husband, my 2X great-grandparents. The big three documents – birth, marriage, death – for my great-grandparents, grandparents, and parents were already in my possession.

And that’s when the DAR goddesses looked down and smiled. I knew I had exactly what I needed for my sister and me to join through this line. All it took was a letter requesting a change of ancestor and copies of the NEW documents for generations 3 through 6. Easy Peasy.

Still, I was surprised to hear so quickly that my sister and I were IN without another do-over. Initially it looked as if it would take another month to get our national numbers, but they came early and we were invited to be inducted at the January meeting.

And that’s what we did. One day after Momma’s birthday, we joined the DAR, an organization she wanted to belong to. So this is for you, Momma. And Cheers to Mr. Towler.

© 2016, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.


  1. Congrats!! Glad you were able to obtain a goal of your mom's! Will you be able to pass it down to your daughter?


  2. Congratulations! Amazing fortitude and a bit of blogging luck paid off. Your Mother is smiling!

  3. Congratulations, Wendy! Plus you became a member during the 125th anniversary celebration.

  4. Congratulations, Wendy! Your perseverance paid off (along with a bit of luck, it seems). Well done. I'm sure your mother is thrilled.

  5. Wendy! Congratulations, that is amazing.

  6. Wonderful post Miss girl! Momma and Daddy would be so proud and amazed by all of your work. The three of us are lucky to have you.

  7. Congratulations Wendy! I'm still working on mine. I just need one more document! I'm not giving up!

  8. Wendy,

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

    Have a great weekend!

  9. What a great story! Indeed it has been a season for serendipity.

    Mr. Towler is a great example of the broadly-thinking genealogical and historical researcher.

  10. I'm SO happy it worked out. And the day after your mother's birthday - perfect timing. Congratulations!

  11. Congrats!! I joined DAR a few years ago, & I was thrilled to be approved on my first submission. I know it often doesn't work out so easily!