Saturday, March 2, 2013

To DAR or not to DAR that is my question

American Revolution soldiers grave stone
American Revolution soldiers grave stone (Photo credit: freefotouk)
A few months ago, I decided that if I was going to go to all the trouble of documenting my ancestors, I should join the DAR, Daughters of the American Revolution. I am not familiar with what they do as an organization, just felt the need to be able to say, hey my ancestor was a soldier in the revolution.
I contacted my local DAR chapter and got the ball rolling.  The chapter genealogist went through my tree and identified quite a few Patriots already proven.  She thought that my Thornton ancestor would be the easiest to prove.  I debated that the Samuel Thornton in the DAR records was really my ancestor, because so  very little is known about the man.  She assured me that the DAR is almost always right. 
I finally agreed to get the required documents to prove my relationship to Samuel Thornton.  I have just about everything, I just need my grandfather's death certificate and I will be ready to submit my application.  On a whim I ordered all the supporting documents for the other members who have claimed Samuel as their patriot, thinking that they might have some information on him.  What a disappointment.
The first application was made in 1962.  There application list Samuel as the patriot.  No date of birth, not date of death, no wife, no nothing.  There were two records for land deeds but that was it.  The information on the next generation was a handwritten paper with names and dates but not a single piece of documentation. There is absolutely nothing which links the patriot to the next generation.  
So here I am spending a lot of money on birth and death certificates to try to prove that I am related to a man that I am not really sure I am related to.  I have already invested a lot of time in this project and part of me wants to just go ahead and do it, but on the other hand I feel ambivalent about making a claim I am not sure of.  What would you do?

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