The information on this page should give the prospective member an idea of how to go about joining the NSSAR (i.e. the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution).
Pamplets providing more detailed application requirements for the Sons of the American Revolution can be obtained by writing to the National Headquarters, 1000 S. Fourth Street, Louisville, Kentucky 40203.
According to the Constitution and Bylaws of the NSSAR, qualifications for membership in the society include:
"Any man shall be eligible for membership in this Society who, being of the age of eighteen years or over and a citizen of good repute in the community, is the lineal descendant of an ancestor who was at all times unfailing in loyalty to, and rendered active service in, the cause of American independence, either as an officer, soldier, seaman, marine, militiaman or Minuteman, in the armed forces of the Continental Congress, or of any one of the several Colonies or States; or as a Signer of the Declaration of Independence, or as a member of a Committee of Safety or Correspondence; or as a member of any Continental, Provincial, or Colonial Congress or Legislature; or as a recognized patriot who performed actual service by overt acts of resistance to the authority of Great Britain; provided, however, that no person advocating the overthrow of the Government of the United States by use of force or violence shall be eligible for membership in the Society."
Membership is limited to direct lineal descendants of the Patriots as outlined in the statement above. Lineal descent refers to genetic descent. Lineal descent does not flow through adoptive parents to their adopted children. Prospective members who were adopted by another family should not be discouraged from attempting to gain membership in the SAR; they might be able to prove their direct lineal descent from a qualifying ancestor.
Most new applicants join a local chapter so that they can attend the meetings and special functions of that chapter. You may join any chapter of any state society, or you might choose to become a "member at large" with no affiliation to any chapter or state society. You might want to consider joining a chapter in the state for which your Patriot ancestor served during the American Revolutionary War, regardless of whether you live close to such a chapter. You need to realize, though, that you may not be able to attend the meetings or any special functions of that chapter.
Determine if you descend from a Patriot of the American Revolutionary War. This would involve performing a genealogical study of your ancestry (or having it performed for you by a genealogical society or professional genealogist.)
Collect copies (either photocopied or photographed) of source material that proves the following information for each generation from yourself back to the Patriot ancestor:
Husband's birth date (and place) and death date (and place).
Wife's birth date (and place) and death date (and place).
Husband and Wife's marriage date (and place).
Link between the generation in question and the one preceeding it.
An important point that should be noted is that you should not, in any way, mark the copies of any and all source matrials. In other words: do not highlight anything with a 'magic' marker; do not underline anything in either pencil or pen; do not make notes in the margins and draw line-arrows to any text; etc. Anything that needs to be pointed out in the text will be taken care of by the local Chapter Registrar.
The source material might include (but is not limited to) Bible records, court records (deeds, wills, orphans' court records, etc.) newspaper accounts / obituaries, tombstone inscriptions and certain published books (such as the state archives transcriptions). If you utilize published books as sources (including the genealogical records from a family Bible), you must include a photocopy of the frontispiece (i.e. title page) showing the date of publication.
Note: The first thing that you should attempt to obtain for each individual would be the Death Certificate. Records maintained in Pennsylvania are available from the year 1906 through and including the year 1962. Birth and Death Certificates, for individuals from Pennsylvania, may be obtained from the department of Vital Statistics at the Pennsylvania State Archives located at 350 North Street, Harrisburg, PA 17120-0090 [(717)783-3281 www.pastatearchives.com]. Non-certified copies of either the Birth and Death Certificates can be obtained at a cost of $5 per certificate/individual. It is highly recommended that the Death Certificate be obtained because it will provide both, the birth and death dates, for the individual along with a spouse's name and the names of the deceased individual's parents. Thusly, the Death Certificate should provide all of the vital information needed for either the husband or wife of the most recent generations, in addition to the link to the previous generation.
Newspaper accounts, such as obituaries, should be used sparingly, and only after a search for a death certificate proves unsuccessful. If a newspaper obituary, or article detailing an individual's life, is the only record available, you need to make sure that a photocopy is light enough, with adequate contrast, to be readable. And the newspaper's masthead (i.e. title and logo), with date, needs to accompany the article. Note: The photocopy of the masthead showing the newspaper's location and date can be photocopied on the back of the account/obituary's copy.
Genealogical books, lineage charts, or other "family press" items are not accepted as proofs for membership application purposes. Utilize them only to obtain the source references they might contain. If you do find a source reference in a genealogical book, you should attempt to obtain a copy of the original source material.
You can obtain a worksheet of the Membership Application from the Registrar of a local SAR chapter. A computer .doc file of the Application can be obtained from the local Chapter Registrar.
The current Registrar for the Frontier Patriots Chapter is Larry D. Smith (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Type (or if you are using a hard copy of the Application form, hand-write) your ancestors' birth, death and marriage information into the appropriate fields on the front side of the Membership Application forms. (Use of the worksheet prior to filling in the application forms is suggested.)
Type the sources of the information into the appropriate fields on the back side of the Membership Application forms.
Dates should be typed in the following format: two-digit day, three-letter month, four-digit year. For example: 05 Sep 1853
If you cannot provide an exact day/month/year date, you may include an approximate date with the abbreviation of the "about" notation: For example: abt 1823
As noted above, do not write on the front of any photocopy or photograph. Do not underline anything or position arrows in the margins. The Registrar will mark the proofs as necessary.
But Note: On the back of each photocopy or photograph to be used as proof of a particular item, in pencil, write the generation number and the subject.
For example: Gen. 4, Husband's Death
If you cannot obtain a source for a particular item, provide a statement explaining why such is not obtainable. Or, if you find two sources which exhibit discrepancies, provide a statement explaining why a discrepancy exists, and which is the correct version. This 'statement' (which may consist of any number of items) should be typed on a separate 8-12" x 11" sheet of paper, to be submitted along with the Application.
Such a statement might begin with the heading: I, _________ affirm that the following statement(s) are true and valid to the best of my knowledge: List the generation number and the subject, and then state clearly and succinctly your reason for inclusion of a particular item.
For example: Gen. 5, Wife's Birth - Although no record exists to prove -----'s birth date of -----, I submit the ------ Township, ------ County Census of 18-- in which she is listed at the age of ----. Her birth date is therefore calculated as circa 17--.
You will need to provide a statement to prove discrepancies between variations in the spelling (or structure) of the names of any individuals included in the lineage.
For example: Gen. 3, Husband's Name - My grandfather's name, as noted in the family Bible, was John Charles. In certain public and private records this individual is listed as John; in others he is listed as John C.; in others he is listed as Charles. I submit that all the references refer to one and the same individual.
Mail, or email, the Application (along with any 'statement' sheets) to the local Chapter Registrar. He will check through the information and make any necessary changes or additions. If you can't type your information onto the Application form, and instead submit a hand-written Application form, the Chapter Registrar will type the information into the required computer file. Then he will make copies on the required SAR watermarked paper.
When the Chapter Registrar has the completed Master Application prepared, he will get three copies of it to you for your signature. Sign your name on the appropriate line on the back side of the Membership Application form using black ink only.
The Chapter Registrar will submit two of the completed and signed Master Application forms, along with the photocopied/ photographed proofs and any 'statements' pages, along with a check for the amount of $164 made payable to the State Registrar (e.g. PASSAR) and a check for the amount of $14 made payable to the local Chapter (e.g. Frontier Patriots Chapter). The Chapter Registrar will retain one of the signed Master Application forms for the local Chapter files. The applicable dues (which over time may vary from the amount previously quoted) will be forwarded, along with the paperwork, to the State Registrar, who will then forward it to the NSSAR.
Due to the large volume of applications received daily by the NSSAR, and due to the need for each application to be properly reviewed, please be patient in waiting for a reply. The process may, in some cases take a few months. Queries about the status of your application will not speed up the process.