Friday, November 20, 2009

Using the DAR Genealogical Research System (GRS)

The Daughters of the American Revolution organization in Washington DC has added significant content to their website at The announcement can be read here.

The Genealogical Resource System (GRS) description is online at It is described as:

"The DAR Genealogical Research System is a combination of several databases created in recent years to organize the large quantity of information that the DAR has collected since its inception in 1890."

There are sections for:

* Ancestors -- The Ancestor Database was created by and is maintained by the staff of the DAR Registrar General’s offices. With few exceptions, the data are taken from verified membership applications and supplemental applications.

* Members -- The Member Tab search option is limited in order to protect the privacy of the Society’s members. One may search for basic information on a member’s ancestor record using national number, name and other fields using this tab.

* Descendants -- The Descendants database is an index of the names found on the lineage page of DAR applications and supplementals. The database is currently under construction.

* GRC -- The DAR’s Genealogical Records Committee Reports began in 1913 and continue to arrive every year. The information in these 20,000 typescript volumes is predominately Bible record and cemetery record transcriptions along with many other types of transcribed or abstracted genealogical sources.

* Resources -- Researchers will find a variety of links to other resources of use in genealogical research in this section of the system. In the near future, various bibliographies and other information relating to the American Revolution will appear in this section.

* Library Catalog -- This section provides a direct link to the DAR Library’s online catalog. The catalog provides subject, title, author, and other access to the books, microforms, manuscripts, maps, genealogical charts, and other sources in the collections of the DAR Library.

This is a major improvement in access and content for researchers who are not members of the DAR.

I've had some success finding information on people in my Seaver surname study by browsing through the Descendants tab. I'll show some of those results in the next post. I need to go look at some of my other surnames of interest also - Carringer, Dill, and Vaux, plus all of my Revolutionary War veterans to see if there is submitted data that I've missed.

It's important to note that any data in this database needs to be verified by original sources, even though it's been put through the DAR review and approval process. In the little work I've done on some Seaver people, there are differences in birth years and birth places for some individuals between what's in the DAR applications and the information in other original and derivative source records. These applications are definitely derivative source documents, but they can be used effectively to find original sources.

1 comment:

Geolover said...

Rhanks for this rundown, Randy.

You note, "It's important to note that any data in this database needs to be verified by original sources, even though it's been put through the DAR review and approval process."

It should be noted that as a result of improved research items submitted to DAR in the course of the increased interest in the Bicentennial period, quite a few mistakes in earlier applications and previously accepted Patriot Ancestors were discovered. Happily, DAR then adopted better evidentiary standards.

Genealogical and Patriots' service-related material submitted before then are highly variable in quality. In many instances wrong genealogical items or misattributed service are flagged in the site entries, but DAR has *not* gone through and re-researched all past lineages and submitted ancestors, and has not published specific information on the disproofs. So there are still many many errors in the overall database that are yet to be discovered.

In one of my lines, DAR accepted service given in the Patriot Ancestor's pension application, in which he said he served under another name because he had deserted from the British Army. No evidence was given of a connection between the Ancestor and the person whose name was actually in the Regimental rosters. No evidence was given concerning his previously being in the British Army. And the service record for the person whose name he gives shows that the person deserted.

Further, regarding this same Ancestor, no evidence was given of the relationship between the Ancestor and the claimed son through whom all DAR applications under this Ancestor claimed descent.

If someone were to apply today under this Ancestor, if there had not been already-accepted applicants under him the new application would not be acceptable. He is not flagged on the site.