The DAR Genealogical Research System (GRS) is the free online portal to genealogical records maintained by the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution. It provides seven databases that contain a wealth of information to help potential DAR members complete membership applications, but even genealogists who do not plan to join DAR may find valuable information on their ancestors.
Sharon Katz of the Captain Nathaniel Mills Chapter National Society Daughters of the American Revolution presented a genealogy workshop about the DAR database collections and she gave an overview of how each section can help support ancestry research.
The GRS is not a complete collection of information on every patriot who served in the American Revolution, but a collection of known patriots whose information has been submitted with DAR membership applications.
The seven databases are:
- Ancestor – Almost exclusively taken from verified applications for membership, this database contains patriot ancestor names, ranks, births, deaths, service descriptions, spouse(s), children and their spouse(s), supporting documentation if available, and the ancestor’s database number.
- Member – While this section has limited public information to protect the privacy of DAR members, genealogists may search for basic information on a member’s ancestor record using national number, name, and other fields.
- Descendants – This database is an index of the names found on the lineage page of DAR applications and supplemental applications. Applications contain not only information about the patriot ancestor but information on their families. This database contains lineage from almost 900,000 original applications.
- GRC – The Genealogical Records Committee Reports began in 1913 and this database is comprised of about 20,000 typescript volumes that have been digitized. The transcriptions are primarily from Bible record and cemetery records.
- Bibles – There are about 40,000 family register entries from Bibles now available as a subset of the national collection of the GRC reports. Genealogists can search Bible pages identified by the original surname found in the family register.
- Resources – Genealogists can use a link to the DAR Library Analytical Card Index, which contains information from old county histories, and other publications and periodicals. Another resources in this section is the Revolutionary War Pension Index, which are pension records that were abstracted and transcribed by the DAR before microfilm and digital records.
- Library catalog – This section provides a link to the DAR Library’s online catalog. It operates as any library catalog and genealogists can access books, microforms, manuscripts, maps, genealogical charts, and other research tools.
Genealogists are encouraged to use the video tutorial on the GRS website and read the overview to each section before using the databases.
Unless family oral history, military records, or Bibles have been passed down through a family, many genealogists begin their research unaware of any ancestor having served in the American Revolution. They should research the GRS databases to see if their ancestor is already part of the DAR system. If they are, this opens the door for DAR membership and it expands the family tree. There is a process for genealogists to order records from the GRS to document their research.
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