Many of you have ancestors who were patriots of the American Revolutionary War. Now a
patriot of that particular war does not necessarily have to be a soldier. Before I joined the
Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) I was under the impression that I had to find
an ancestor in my lineage that had been a soldier during this war. Wrong. After doing some
research I found the following on the DAR website defining what a patriot was. The site
In applying for DAR membership, women must document their lineage back to
an ancestor who aided the cause of American independence. These efforts
may come through military, civil or patriotic service and must occur during
the period between 19 April 1775 (Battle of Lexington) and 26 November
1783 (withdrawal of British Troops from New York).
Well, this came as a pleasant surprise and as I researched further I discovered the Sons of
the American Revolution (SAR) had similar requirements. So basically, your ancestor was
never a soldier in the war he or she may have done other things to make them eligible as a
patriot. Listed below are the types of Revolutionary War Service that could qualify for a
member of the DAR or SAR if your lineage is proven.
Signers of the Declaration of Independence-This is a shoe-in if you are lucky enough
to have an ancestor who was a signer.
Military Service-This grouping consists of any person that served honorably in a
military unit, no matter how long they were in the service; one day to several years,
it doesn’t matter as long as they did not desert or show any unpatriotic action.
Civil Service-This category could include: surveyors, constables, sheriffs, tax
assessors, etc. who held positions within a patriotic government.
Patriotic Service-This is a pretty broad category which can encompass many
different things; but can certainly meet the qualifications to being able to join the
DAR/SAR organizations. Some of these services include: furnishing supplies to the
troops, signers of the oaths of allegiance, or being part of a patriotic committee
(some committees raise money, collected supplies, etc.) to help the war effort.
Furnishing Supplies-Supplies were needed to help run a war. Citizens donated and
in many cases were reimbursed for food, horses, clothing, etc.
Supply Taxes-Every state was required to pay a supply tax to help with the expense
of a government.
Prisoners of War
Spanish Military-If you can prove that an ancestor served on the island of Cuba
during the time of December 1776 and November 1783 this would qualify you for
The above categories were found on the DAR website-www.dar.org
Listed below are a few sites that may help in searching for your Revolutionary patriot.
Debbie Duay, PhD and current Regent of the State of Florida has a wonderful website with
lots of great information on finding a Revolutionary War patriot. Please check her site
“Hidden Gems” at: http://www.learnwebskills.com/patriot/
Family History Library-Catalog
Here are a few state sites that may be of some help.