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Ten-Step Guide

Finding and Proving a Revolutionary War Patriot —
Gathering Evidence and Proving Service

Contact your Local DAR Chapter and enlist the services of the chapter registrar to help you assemble your paperwork and fill out an application. Contact our chapter registrar.

Download the Pedigree DAR Worksheet from the DAR website (pdf). Start filling in your family tree(s), beginning with yourself, and work towards a supposed patriot.

Use Family Resources. Talk with your parents, grandparents, and others in your family to find out what information they have available to share.  It is necessary to prove the blood lineage of each generation from yourself back to that patriot.  You will need your birth certificate and records linking each generation. Early birth, death and parentage links can be proven by a number of sources, including obituaries, wills, deeds, probate records, estate settlements, church records, cemetery records, Bible records, old letters, published genealogies, marriage records, and newspaper announcements.
Use Census Records from 1850 to 1940 to find your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and so forth. These can be searched online through, which is available for free at the California Genealogical library, Sutro Library (located at 1630 Holloway Avenue on the San Francisco University campus).  The 1880 through 1930 censuses show the birthplace of each parent for individuals on the schedule. (The 1940 and also the 1950 census [to be released in 2022] asked for the parent's birthplace on the supplemental questions given to those names who fell on the sampling lines.) The 1900 Census gives birth month and year, and number of years married. Go back as far as you can on lines that seem promising to research — in other words, persons seen to be living in America in 1850 and who included their states of birth. Every generation doubles itself for the lines you can research.  You have four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, and so on, so there are many opportunities to find patriots.

 • Use the DAR Genealogy Research System. This is found at under the "Genealogy" tab.  From this tab, click "Online Research" found on the left. Then click on the tab that takes you to the DAR Genealogical Research System, also known as GRS.  On this page you will see tabs at the top.  One is for "Ancestor" (patriot), one is for "Descendants" and one is for "Member."  You can search for known family patriots, or for family members of previous generations that might already be proven under a patriot.

Use Free Genealogy Search Services such as to search for family records. This site is maintained by the LDS Church. Thousands of vital records are being added every day, with sources cited that are acceptable to DAR.  You can search this site by name and by location of where your family lived. Many original documents are now available to download for free, but sometimes going through non-indexed original documents may be neccessary.

Use Free Internet Genealogy Sites such as, where millions of tombstone transcriptions are posted, as well as photos of gravestones. If you find gravestones with pictures that show dates, these dates can be used. Sometimes descendants post information that may aid you in further research.  Other free sites that may prove helpful are and  Click on your state and county of research. Google a state name and add "state archives." Often online records are available. Check for additional ideas and tips for searching.

Try Doing an Internet Search for an early ancestor or suspected patriot. A link is often provided to a site on which someone has uploaded original documents or posted a family tree. If documentation is not provided, you still might find a lead toward finding that documentation.

Contact Local Resources in areas where your family once lived. You can search online for addresses and phone numbers for these resources. Look for local public libraries, county courthouses, and historical and genealogical societies.  For instance, you can inquire as to whether death records or obituaries are on file, or whether cemetery books are available for a lookup by a librarian or volunteer.  The local library may house family genealogies that could provide useful information. Many libraries have services such as "Ask the Librarian" available either by telephone or online.

Prove Correct Acceptable Service: “Unfailing Loyalty to the Cause of American Independence.” For more information on accepted service, go to the website.  Decisions regarding service are based on the last known act performed by an individual within the Revolutionary War timeframe. These services include:

Military Service (designated by rank) — Continental Army, Navy, Marines, state and local Militia, and authorized Privateers. Dates for acceptable service are generally considered to be between 19 April 1775 and 26 November 1783, from the Battle of Lexington to the British evacuation of New York.  The highest rank held is used. There is no rank of “soldier.” The Continental Line was the first national army, full-time and well trained. They served for one to three years and were most often younger men.  The Militia was the local defense, similar to our modern-day National Guard. They served where they lived for periods that were typically shorter, and they could be between 16 and 50 years of age.

Civil Service (CS) — people who held civic offices: town clerk,treasurer, selectman, judge, juror, sheriff, justice of the peace, overseer of roads, etc.   Sources of civil service include town or court records.

Patriotic Service (PS) — people who signed documents which show other ways in which they supported the War:  Committees of Correspondence or Safety, Provincial Congresses, state governors (not Royal), legislators, signers of Oaths of Allegiance, doctors, nurses, ministers, POWs, those who rendered material aid (e.g. supplies, clothing, munitions, or money), having paid "supply tax," having paid for or furnished a substitute for military service, etc.  Sources for proving patriotic service include pay vouchers, oaths, committee minutes, court records, and supply tax lists.

Signers of the Declaration of Independence (SDI) — A state-by-state index of all 56 signers can be found at

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