On June 29, Ancestry.com posted the Sons of the American Revolution membership applications running from 1889 to 1970. These applications are of great value to genealogists, as they include actual linages starting with the applicant, and running all the way back to the patriot ancestor – and sometimes even further. Other useful information is also found in these applications. Notes about the ancestor’s service, the names of second wives, military service of the applicant, and all kinds of other family history related data can be found in the applications.
Ancestry.com got the original data from the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution in Louisville, Kentucky. The data was on 508 rolls of microfilm, allowing Ancestry to convert the data to digital images. The indexing of the many pages in itself is of great value to genealogists. On a personal basis, I’m very excited about the indexing and easy access that we now have available to the applications. I searched for my ancestor, Moses Crane of New Jersey, and got 8 hits on the name. Seven of them were for my guy. Of those seven, five different applicants were represented, because two applicants were applying for the service of father and son ancestors.
Beside the hits for Moses Crane, I also got hits for a number of other family members that I knew of, thanks to the online indexing of these records.
Of course, I clicked on all the links to each of the eight hits for Moses Crane. As an example of the genealogical data found, I’ve used only two pages – those being for item number 6 in the list of hits. However, every one of the applications adds additional family information to my ancestral collection.
The above two pages of the four-page application to the Sons of the American Revolution made by David John Crane gives you a pretty good idea of the genealogical value of the SAR applications now found at Ancestry.com.
The following is directly from the search page for the SAR applications found at Ancestry.com:
About U.S., Sons of the American Revolution Membership Applications, 1889-1970
This database contains applications for membership in the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution approved between 1889 and 31 December 1970. The applications are arranged in packets. It may be helpful to scroll through the images to find all information relating to the applicant.
As the Sons of the American Revolution website explains:
“The SAR is a ‘lineage’ society. This means that each member has traced their family tree back to a point of having an ancestor who supported the cause of American Independence during the years 1775–1783.”
Applications require a pedigree and accompanying information to demonstrate a generation-by-generation link to a patriot ancestor. Genealogical information submitted may include references to Revolutionary War pension files, baptismal records, marriage records, cemetery records, census records, family Bible records, deeds, court records, documented family and local histories, and copies of applications to other lineage societies. Applications also typically include a short summary of the ancestor’s service.
These records can be an excellent source for names, dates, locations, and family relationships. Applications can be searched by name, place and date of birth and death, and application year.
If you wish to submit an application for membership in the SAR based on an old SAR application, please be advised that the SAR will require a ‘record copy’ of the old application. To obtain a record copy, please click here. Also, please be advised that many older SAR applications are not sufficiently documented pursuant to current SAR genealogy standards. You may need to supplement the old SAR application with additional documentation. Please review the SAR’s genealogy standards and procedures on its website.