Find a Patriot Ancestor

Find a Patriot Ancestor

Find a Patriot Ancestor

Need Help Finding a Patriot Ancestor?

If you are interested in joining the Gainesville Chapter,
Florida Society,Sons of the American Revolution, please
emailJim Partin with as much ancestrylineage as you
have. He is our Genealogist, as wellas our Registrar,
and can guideand assistyou.

Note: The SAR is a "lineage" society. This means that to become a member you have to trace your family tree back to a point where you have an ancestor who supported the cause of American Independence during the years 1774-1783.

A great website to assist you in your research is:
Copyright © 2009 - 2011 by Debbie Duay, Ph.D., Fort Lauderdale, FL. All Rights Reserved

This website is useful for both DAR and SAR applicants. The procedure is basically the same for each one.

We will highlight some procedures outlined in

You will find that they comport with the procedures listed by Dr. Duay above.


When a prospective member indicates an interest in completing his application there are a couple of basic starting points:

1) Does the prospective member:

  • Know if any of his parents, grandparents or great grandparentswas a member of either the SAR or DAR?
  • Have any blood related family members in the SAR or DAR?
  • Have a cousin, aunt, uncle or some other type of relatives or friend who has done family genealogy?
  • If the answer to any of the above is "YES" then you should start with that lineage.

2) Does the applicant have a Patriot Ancestor in mind? If he doesn't have a Patriot Ancestor in mind, does he know the name of any of his grandparents or, hopefully, one of his great grandparents?

In any case, it is necessary to establish some sort of a lineage back to a Patriot Ancestor. This seems to be the hardest part for most applicants, but with the advent of the computer, it can be one of the easiest.


Establishing a framework lineage for an application is not all that hard. This is not PROVING a lineage, but rather establishing a framework from the applicant to the Patriot Ancestor(s). Building a "framework lineage" is also appropriate when the applicant produces a scribbled genealogy that "Aunt Susie" reluctantly sent him some time ago when he first broached the subject of SAR/DAR to her.

This "framework lineage" may contain multiple lines back to Revolutionary War. This is true even if the applicant has a Patriot Ancestor in mind. Remember, the goal is to prove back to one Patriot Ancestor. After that,a supplemental application may be used to add other Patriot Ancestors.

The first step in establishing a framework lineage is to see what others have done with those same names. Here are a number of Internet sites (URLs) where people have posted their lineages and these are a great place to start.

Roots Web’spurpose and function is to connect people so that they can help each other and share genealogical research.

This is the LDS (Mormon) Church site.

Ancestry is a fee based genealogy site but is available from any of the Alachua County Library locations that provide internet access.


The working lineage established above CAN NOT BE USED AS PROOF!

The first step in proving a lineage from the applicant back to the Patriot Ancestor is to read the official rules, The first three generations are normally proved with birth certificates, death certificates and/or marriage licenses - many/most families have these on hand or can easily get them. Note that photocopies are sent with the application to National Headquarters - not the originals. It is always a good idea to keep copies of all documentation forward with the application in case questions arise.

The 1930 US Census is the next stop. Even an applicant just old enough to join SAR should have grandparents alive and indexed in the 1930 US Census.When accessing the US Censuses you must be aware that only heads of households are listed prior to 1850 and thus do not provide good genealogical proof for the early days of our country.

When you have located an ancestor(s) in the 1930 US Census start going back - the idea is to the next earlier generation where the family is living together to establish/prove the lineage. When you find an ancestor in the 1930 census calculate his/her age and then go back to an earlier census where he/she would be a young child (i.e. still living at home).

Keep this up until you pass the 1850 census before which the census is no longer "every name". You can still use the earlier censuses to figure out where the family was/maybe living.

At this point check the SAR Patriot Index, which has thousands of names of descendants of Patriot Ancestors.

If this doesn't work you can try the GenWebproject. Follow the instructions and try the appropriate countyweb page and/or use the Message Boards for the surname to post a query to see if anyone else has researched your Patriot Ancestor's lineage.

Another possibility is to use the Find-A-Graveweb page. Use the "Begin New Search" feature and see if the ancestor you are looking for is listed. If he/she is listed the web page can not be used as proof but you can post a request for a picture of the grave, which can be used as proof, or you may be lucky and find one already posted. Note that you can limit your search. Setting the death year to "Before 1850" will put you in the right general time frame.


Once the lineage is back to the Patriot Ancestor, the first step is to check the SAR Patriot Index to see if the Patriot Ancestor you are interested in has been used by a Compatriot. If so a copy of the application may be ordered from SAR Headquarters in Louisville, KY. Note that if the information on the SAR Patriot Index is complete you may to specify the SAR National Number.

If you do not find your Patriot Ancestor in the SAR Patriot Index the next step is to check The DAR Genealogical Research System (GRS), free resource provided by the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution. If you find your Patriot Ancestor in the DAR Patriot Index you MUST order a Record Copy - your Chapter Registrar can help you with this. The DAR charges $10 for a Record Copy. Note that you MUST submit a "Record Copy" of a DAR application with your SAR application.

Another possibility is using the SAR Patriot Grave Search. This site does not have any information that may be used as "proof" but it does provide a clue as to where the Patriot Ancestor may have died - especially when making an inquiry through theRootsWebMessage Board.


This is the toughest nut to crack

If the applicant has no lineage at all, the best approach seems to be to start with the 1930 US Census and work backward to the 1850 US Census, following both the maternal and paternal lines, but not pursuing those whose parents were not born in the United States. Once back to the 1850 U S Census you may revert to searching RootsWeb Family Trees or Family Search.


Here are some web links that may be helpful in researching a new application (just click on the underlined words to jump to that site. You will have to use your browser's "Back arrow/button" to return to this page):

Researching Your Family TreeThis is a FREE interactive genealogy tutorial. This site is the exception to "Free" and "Good" being an oxymoron. Even very experienced genealogists can learn something from this site.
Celebrating Revolutionary War-Era Ancestors This site has a number of suggestions about finding patriot Ancestor's service.
Finding Your Patriot: Basic Sources for Starting Revolutionary War ResearchHere is another site with helpful suggestions on finding a Patriot Ancestor.
Researching Your Revolutionary War Ancestor This is a West Virginia Archive site but it has some good background for any state.
Revolutionary War Military Records Another site with lists of Revolutionary War Service Records and some helpful search hints.
Florida Pioneer web siteFlorida, and many other states, have a state "Pioneer" or "First Family" verification program. Florida, and most other states, will provide information on a lineage. In almost all cases, such a certification program requires authentication of the type needed in a SAR application. These are often overlooked resources.
Genealogy.comis a commercial site but does have a good search feature which takes one to books they are promoting. However many of these books are available at CityIsland and Deland Libraries. In addition, a few of their CD's are available from the Daytona-Ormond Registrar.
Southern Campaign ~ Rev War This is a site that concentrates on the Southern Campaign of the Revolutionary War. If you are researching a Patriot Ancestor who may have been in a Southern Campaign try this site.
Most of the above sites have links to other helpful sites.