International Society, SAR

Filling Out Side 2 of the Application

Burial Site of the Patriot Ancestor

You should include this information if you know it, but it is not required.

Documentation: References for Lineage

The official SAR flyer that describes how to write-up and document an application is [starball] Form 912 -- Requirements for Preparation of Applications

If your relative's application is recent, all you will need is one or two birth certificates to link your line to the one on the relative's application, and your reference list will be very simple. The following applicant's father is an SAR member:


Fig. 3 -- Application Showing Reference List
when the Prospect's Father is in the SAR

In Figure 2 the applicant's grandmother was in the DAR. Unfortunately her application had been appproved before 1965 (which is when careful checks of documentation began) so we could not use the DAR application itself as documentation. However we could use the references cited in her application to find where to get copies of acceptable documentation. You will find that getting documentation going all the way back to the patriot ancestor is an educational experience, but the documentation makes a nice addition to your family history files.

The SAR requires that you reference (and attach a copy of) documentation that answers the question (for each generation) "What supports your claim that your direct ancestor listed in Generation N is the child of the direct ancestor listed in Generation N+1?" It is optional for you to include documentation for the birth of the non-lineage spouse and any deaths.

Documentation about people not listed on the application is not required and is not usualy helpful, so do not submit it unless you and your helper find it necessary to support a complex situation.

Any time that the line goes back through the mother (see the X's above) you will need to document the mother's maiden surname. While the mother's maiden surname appears on most birth certificates, but it is not included on census records. So a census record that lists "William Smith - age 45, Emily - wife - age 44, and Arthur - son - age 14" may be used to document Arthur Smith as the son of William Smith, but it won't support a claim that Arthur Smith is the son of Emily Jones, since Emily's maiden surname name might be Anderson. However, you could use the census along with marriage license or newspaper wedding notice that says "William Smith married Emily Jones".

When the family moves a long distance between generations or there are several people with the same name in the area you may need to supply additional documentation to support your claim tha the Arthur Smith who is documented as a child of the patriot ancestor in Vermont is the same Arthur Smith as the person you are claiming as your ancestor by that name in Missouri.

Parent-child relationships are best documented by standard government documents such as birth certificates, marriage licenses, death certificates, wills, census records, and Social Security applications. Newspaper announcements of birth, marriage and death (obituaries) are acceptable, as are cemetary abd hospital records. Family bible records are less common now than in earlier times, but these are acceptable in many cases. Photos of tombstones are acceptable; in some cases the tombstone is the only place that lists the wife's maiden surname.

In the example below an old DAR application is cited along with acceptable documentation to back it up.


Fig. 4 -- Application Showing Acceptable Reference Citations

Explanatory notes will help readers find the documents you cite. For example, records are kept in the county in which they were generated, so when a new county is created from part of the territory of an earlier county the old records related to from people living in the newly-created county's area remain with the original county rather than the newly-created county. See Gen 6 in the example above. The same is true for records from early West Virginia, whose counties were originally part of the state of Virgina. It is best to give the original county and state in the lineage listing and to put an explanation about the present county or state in the reference list.

County histories and biographical sketches are acceptable in many cases, but family histories are acceptable only when there is evidence (such as listing reference sources) that the author obtained the information from acceptable sources of information. Family tradition is not an acceptable reference source. Web pages are unacceptable because they are often cobbled together from information posted or exchanged by amateur genealogists who may have misinterpreted documents or added in family tradition. The unacceptable sources may provide valuble leads to acceptable documentation, so do not overlook them. However, don't plan to use them on the final application.

Please do not send your helper lengthy excerpts from family histories, Web pages on the family, or lengthy fan charts and box diagrams. These just bulk up your helper's files and make it harder to find the direct lineage information that is required.

You may have to use a somewhat round-about method to document a claim -- as when the only document that shows A as the child of B is the will of an uncle (B's brother).

You may have to use several documents to document a link, especially when the direct line is through the mother, since you have to document her maiden surname.

If you cannot find an acceptable document that clearly shows a relationship or name you may have to resort to "preponderance of evidence" by presenting and explaining how several documents (some perhaps from sources that are not normally acceptable) imply (without explicitly stating it) that A is the child of B, so that the claim of descent is very likely true.


References for Service

The SAR requires documentation to support the statement of service. You may list several sources to document several different periods or forms of service. These references follow the references for lineage.


Fig. 5 -- Application Showing References for Service

Marking-up Documentation for Submission

See Marking-Up Documentation for Submission
[by the SAR Genealogy Committee]
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