It's been a crazy-busy week for me, but I couldn't let it pass by without shouting out my excitement at having my application verified to join the Daughters of the American Revolution!
What is D.A.R?
It's a non-profit, non-political volunteer women's service organization dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history, and securing America's future through better education for children.
How does one join?
Any woman who is 18 years or older and who can prove lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution, is eligible for membership. I have several ancestors on both sides of my family who fought in the American Revolution, but let me tell you, it's TOUGH proving these lines with documentary evidence.
My patriot: Nathaniel Brittain
I finally managed to prove one of my lines all the way back to Nathaniel Brittain, my GGGGG grandfather who fought and died in the American Revolutionary War. Nathaniel was born in 1734 in Chesterfield, Virginia, to James Brittain, an immigrant from Wales, and his wife, Mary Whitty. Nathaniel married Elizabeth Parks in 1760 and they raised eight children.
Not a lot is known about him, but we do know that Nathaniel enlisted and served as a Private in Captain Jonathan Clark's Company, 8th Virginia Regiment, on March 4, 1776. He died while in service on October 17, 1776.
How did I prove this ancestry?
Well, it took a long time and a lot of online searches, phone calls and letter writing to find all the documents needed to prove that I am, indeed, descended from Nathaniel Brittain. My search started with my Grandma Edith's records. She had already laid out the path for me, and I just needed to follow it to gather the documents I needed to prove, generation by generation, her theory about Nathaniel. Ancestry.com and Footnote.com were invaluable online sources, as was good old Google. I also made many phone calls to various county courthouses, libraries and historical societies. A very nice woman named Kandi went to an Iowa courthouse to make a copy of a marriage record I needed. Another helpful woman took the time to scan and email a copy of my great great grandfather's cemetery record to me. And, I found a fifth cousin, Jennifer Woods, over at Climbing My Family Tree, who is also trying to join D.A.R. through Nathaniel Brittain. She and I put our heads together and managed to break through some solid brick walls. She's getting her application together and we're both excited about joining this great organization this year. And my friends in the Knitting Genealogists group at Ravelry offered advice, tips and much encouragement. See, genealogy is a team sport!
Now, I bask in my glory! Actually, I'm still not completely IN the organization. My application has been verified, but I have to wait until February 5, when the D.A.R. holds it's national meeting and officially accepts my application. I'm told this is a formality. Then, I get to take my oath at my local chapter meeting in San Francisco. I'll have to wait until April to do this since I have prior commitments in March.
I'm proud of my ancestor and proud to be part of a family that played an important role in the founding of our country. I have a good five or six more patriots, on both sides of my family, that I'm working to prove. I hope that my participation in the D.A.R. will help me with that quest, and I also look forward to working with the La Puerta de Oro chapter to give back to our country and community through their many volunteer efforts. I'll be sure to blog any interesting happenings with the D.A.R. and how it relates to genealogy!