Daughters of the American Revolution, or the DAR, is an organization for women all around the country who have relatives who fought in the Revolutionary War. It has helped these women to be proud of their heritage, honor their ancestors, and help their community. I got the opportunity to talk to Lynn Clark about what it is like to be a member.
Q: Can you tell me a little bit about what the DAR is?
A: The DAR is a national organization for women to honor the patriots of the Revolutionary War. It is a lineage organization so that you trace your family history back to your patriot. There is the national organization. From there it breaks off into smaller groups, being the state level, district level, and the chapters.
Q: What do you have to do to become a Daughter of the American Revolution?
A: To become a member you start out by filling out an application that traces your ancestry back to the Revolutionary War. You are trying to call a patriot in your bloodline. Along with this application you must provide “proofs” such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, land deeds, or other documents linking you to your patriot.
Q: What does it mean to be a Daughter of the American Revolution?
A: It means that you have found someone in your ancestry who fought in the American Revolutionary War. To do this, you need to fill out an application and provide information proving who the patriot is that you are related to. It is hard and a lot of work to join. I think that is why it means so much to people to join because they know they worked hard.
Q: How far back have you traced your own ancestry?
A: I traced it back 8 generations to find my patriot. His name is Phillip Wolfe. Phillip fought in the battle of King’s Mountain, which was a major battle in South Carolina. His family came to the United States around 1740.
Q: What do you do once you have joined?
A: Once you join you are assigned to a “chapter.” This is a branch of the DAR in your community. All states have numerous chapters. I am part of the Joyce Scott chapter in Greer, South Carolina. Each chapter has meetings for its members to attend. At these meetings there are usually interesting programs that have to do with history, patriotism, citizenship, or cultural groups. Almost all of these programs are somehow tied into the Revolutionary War period. Along with these programs, each chapter also has projects that they work on. They are usually picked because they have some sort of significance to the members or the community.
Q: What project is your chapter currently working on?
A: A project that our chapter really enjoys to work on is the Tamassee DAR school. This is a boarding school to help out families in tough situations. It is designed to help kids with different needs to have an environment where they can flourish.
Q: How often does your group meet?
A: There is no regulation about how many times a year a chapter needs to meet, so it varies from chapter to chapter. Our group meets 4 times a year while others might meet more.
Q: Are there ever meetings besides the chapter meetings?
A: Yes, there are district meetings at least once a year that everyone in that district can attend. There are also state level meetings and a national meeting which is held every July. This meeting is called the Continental Congress meeting, which is held every July in Washington D.C. at the DAR house and library.
Q: How many people are involved in the DAR?
A: There are so many people involved I’m not really sure. If I had to guess, I would guess at least a thousand. My chapter has about 40 people, so it is considered a fairly small chapter.
Q: What does being a DAR mean to you?
A: It makes me very proud of my heritage. I think a lot of it makes me so aware and appreciative of my family history, and that is why I really enjoy it. I feel like I am a part of something as well; this is a really good way for me to reach out and help my community. One part I enjoy the most are some of the friendships I have made through meeting new people in my chapter.
Q: Is there a way for younger people to get involved?
A: Yes, there is. Children of the American Revolution is a group quite similar to the DAR. It is the oldest patriotic youth group in the country. Being in this group helps kids to develop strong leadership skills and gives the kids the opportunity to forge strong friendships with people who have similar interests.