Not every good genealogical resource is indexed and available from a major genealogy website, or orderable from the Family History Library, or requestable via inter-library loan. Sometimes you need to dig.
Major genealogical societies and local historical societies are also useful repositories, and these groups often have niche sources that are too costly for the major websites to obtain.
Most of the time, you won’t really know what these smaller repositories have unless you visit (or hire someone to visit for you). The Daughters of the American Revolution are an exception, and in this video, I’ll show you the resources you can obtain from that site.
There are two main sources to look at in the DAR’s Genealogical Research System, or GRS.
The first is the Genealogical Records Committee search or GRC search. As I understand it, the various DAR chapters around the country visit churches, graveyards, and other repositories to transcribe their registers. These are then reported in to DAR headquarters and indexed in the GRC.
For example, I spent quite some time trying to prove that a Jeremiah Van Fleet from Ohio married a woman named Margaret Armstrong, but at the time, I couldn’t find any records to prove it.
Searching for Jeremiah in the GRC, I get two results, one showing wedding records. If you click on the page number, you can see the other names on the page, and there’s a Margaret Armstrong. I ordered the report, and it confirmed that Jeremiah married Margaret Armstrong. Of course, it’s been five years, and that record is now easily available, but you get the idea.
The second type of information is the Ancestor search which will get you secondary sources—genealogies with citations.
You can also search for a particular ancestor: Let’s search for Bernard Slough—my wife’s lineage to him is how we got into the DAR. Start by clicking on this red tree icon: this will bring up a listing of genealogies the DAR has approved. The first item brings up my wife’s lineage starting with her great-grandmother. The second is that of another member.
The third major option is purchase a copy of a DAR member’s application and any supplemental material. The DAR has tightened it’s standard of proof, so the most recent applications will have the most detail.
I recommend buying all the lineages and supporting documentation, but if you don’t want to spend that much cash, pick the lineage with the highest member number. Member numbers are assigned sequentially, so the higher the number, the more recent the application.
And if you’re expecting to get your hands on the supplemental documentation, it’s really important to note that, prior to 1984, the DAR didn’t even retain a copy of supporting documentation. So make sure you’re ordering a recent application.