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A New Patriot Line

Revolutionary War ancestors provide the key to joining the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) lineage society. I have known since I was a young teenager that I was eligible for membership even though no family member in living memory had joined the organization.

In the 1960’s, my paternal grandmother brought me a family tree compiled by a cousin. It traced my lineage back to Robert Kirkham (1754-1819), a Patriot who served at Boonesborough with the frontiersman Daniel Boone.

Since then, I thought that if I joined the DAR, my membership would be based on that line. It did not work out that way.

In 2020, the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower landing, I decided to join that organization to preserve my New England genealogical research. When my application as a descendant of Stephen Hopkins was approved, the Mayflower Society Historian contacted me about joining the DAR, too.

My Mayflower line includes a Patriot ancestor, Gershom Hall (1760-1844). The Historian kindly forwarded all the documentation to the DAR for me, and soon I was a member based on descent from Gershom Hall, not Robert Kirkham.

So what about Robert and all that lineage work? It turns out you can submit DAR supplemental applications based on other ancestors.

I decided to go ahead and turn in one for the Robert Kirkham line. At last month’s meeting, I asked my Chapter Registrar about it. She urged me to send everything I had on Robert’s line to her right away. She was eager to begin.

My first step was to look at the DAR database to see whether anyone else in Robert Kirkham’s line had ever joined the DAR. If there were other approved applications, I might not need to submit so much new documentation.

I found that several of Robert’s descendants had joined over the years.

Only one other person had claimed Robert’s daughter Ann Kirkham Reed on an application. That file dated from the 1940’s. The DAR makes clear that older applications may not have been as complete as those required today. I wondered whether I could use what the other person had submitted over 80 years ago.

I contacted my Registrar to ask for advice. She reviewed the 1940 application. The three generations from Robert Kirkham through his daughter Ann Reed and grandson Caleb Reed looked fine. Caleb Reed was my second great-grandfather.

Since my supplemental application would claim through my father’s family just as my original application had, I already had sufficient evidence on file for him and for myself. I would need to submit paperwork for only two generations—my grandfather Owen Herbert Reed (1896-1935) and my great-grandfather Samuel Harvey Reed (1845-1928).

This morning I submitted digital copies of everything the Registrar thinks I need to make my case. She says I can sign my supplemental application at our next Chapter meeting in two weeks.

And then I will wait, and then wait some more for approval. After getting terribly backlogged during the pandemic, the DAR processing time for supplemental applications is taking up to 15 months.

No wonder the Registrar wanted me to get started on this right away.

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