Friday, August 15, 2014

My own DAR adventure begins

In 1987 Mom was totally engaged with genealogy and devoted to building out our family tree. OK, so truth be told, she got obsessed with it and spent just about every available waking hour on it! She loved entertaining me with various stories about our ancestors and painted a word picture for me whenever we had some time together and I just loved listening to her. (I think she was selling me something; a good sales pitch often begins with an engaging story.) I was super busy running my business, but she had me working with her on my DAR application which was approved the first time through.

Flash forward 20 years and it's 2007. Dad had passed, Mom was adjusting to living alone and working on genealogy more than ever. I was enjoying retirement. One thing hadn't changed: Mom was still telling me about the ancestors and I was finally becoming as obsessed as she was. In no time I was caught up in chasing down some family history too. But during this time, I have to confess, I didn't think too much about the good ol' DAR.

You ever have that experience when something appears on your personal radar screen once, twice, and then three times over? For me it takes three times before I really get the hint that this might be something I need to act on. Well that sort of happened with the DAR recently. The first appearance on my radar happened when I found my old DAR records and remembered how that came about. Once retired and into genealogy one of the first projects I undertook was continuing to research my DAR Patriot ancestor, Nehemiah Newan. (You can see some of that effort put into a timeline on one of the tabs above.) I loved researching him! Was shocked to find that he did not die at Yorktown as was commonly believed but instead never returned to his wife and son and ended up having a full life in upstate New York. What a story!!

The second appearance of the DAR on my radar screen happened a half-dozen weeks ago when I stumbled into a DAR Facebook group called Daughters of the American Revolution. The Facebook page fascinated me and I popped back in to see what was going on every once in a while and finally clicked the Join button. Right at the moment there are over 12,000 members and growing all the time. That's encouraging right there. The comments were kind and welcoming and I got a warm feeling about the online group. The ladies were happily helping others take first steps, offering helpful research pointers, and were glad to help them find the right area of the NSDAR (National) web site. My DAR train was picking up speed.

All of this lead me to think about other of my ancestors who might have been Patriots. I popped on over to the National web site which you can find here. You can search and see if your ancestor is already approved and recognized as a Revolutionary War Patriot here. I quickly found out that both  Peter Troutman and Isaac Workman were listed! How cool is that?! Plus I had it on my To-do list to work on them. This might be the perfect excuse to get my act together and finish my inquiry into both of them at the same time. So that was the third appearance of the DAR on my radar screen and I really liked what I was seeing. Now I had to do something about this DAR radar thing.

Maybe I'd like being a part of one of the local chapters here in San Diego? I had already met two members over in the genealogy library in town and they were equally as nice and helpful as the ladies on the Facebook DAR page. Yeah, I might like being part of a group that loves genealogy, is interested in civic pride and doing projects along those lines. It was only going to take as much time as I wanted to invest, what with the once a month meetings, except in summer months. I'd be more that willing to help others get started with genealogy if I could and knew enough to be useful. And who knew how else I might be helpful? And yes, I would like to meet more ladies who are friendly and helpful, and like to have fun.

I wasn't going to find out just sitting here, so I emailed the Regent, that's the lady at the top of the local chapter. Got a reply fast. I was on the way.

Next blog post is about the "meet & greet" at a local restaurant. I really like these ladies! And they just love researching ancestors!

Here are some handy NSDAR links:

Become a member or just inquire.
Chapter locator. Want to find the chapters near you? Just plug in your zip code. Alternately you can Google your town or city and "DAR".
Want to let them contact you? Just fill out the Membership Interest Form here.
Not familiar with the NSDAR research options? Then check out the GRS or Genealogical Research Services here.
And don't forget that ever-popular Ancestor Search. All you need is a surname. How easy is that?

There's my paternal grandfather, John Lee Kelly (1892-1969), top row middle, in this Kelly family portrait that was likely his wedding portrait. His parents are in the front middle. It's his mother, Christiana (Eckhart) Kelly (1861-1932) who is in my DAR ancestor's line and Nehemiah Newans was her great grandfather.

Nehemiah Newans was thought to have died at the battle of Yorktown, yet here he is selling some land in upstate New York in 1817! That was worth knowing.


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