David's Reformed Church Congregation

David's Reformed Church Congregation
Congregation of David's Reformed Church, Montgomery Co, Ohio, Circa, 1900

Page Two: Lineage Societies: Where Do I Begin?

One of my favorite parts of genealogical research has been becoming a member of several lineage societies.  Most state and county genealogical societies have some type of lineage group that pays tribute to those persons who were the earliest residents of that particular area.  There is usually an additional cost to your general membership, but once you are accepted, you can usually add more ancestors at no extra charge.  In most cases, you will receive a membership certificate and sometimes, there will be a pin that you can wear to meetings or genealogical events.  In my case, I started with the First Families of Clinton County, Ohio since it was that county where I had the most records accessible to me quickly.  With my initial membership packet was included a pre-printed form for First Families membership, but some societies have these forms available from download from their websites.  These forms consist of a lineage record, where you trace your ancestry, and a "Document List" which is where you name the sources you are using to prove your statements.

The record forms begin with an area for you to list the ancestors whom you are going to prove lived in the area before a certain date.  You then have to "prove" your descent from those ancestors with a list of pertinent dates and a list of what source materials you have to prove those dates.  It sounds much more difficult than it is. 
The next part of the form will be the actual line of descent. 

Begin with yourself, list your name, (for women, use your maiden name) and your date of birth and birthplace.  If you are married, it will ask you the name of your spouse and his or her birthdate and birthplace.  It will also ask for your marriage date and place.  There will be a spot on each line where you will list the number of the document you are using to prove this information.  For example, I proved my name and birth information with my birth certificate.  This was numbered as document number 1 and on the "Documents" list under number 1, I listed Montgomery County, Ohio Health Department birth certificate #xxxxxx.   I did the same for my husband's birth certificate which was document number 2.  Our marriage certificate was document number 3. 

The next portion is for your parental information and it's where you fill in the name of each of your parents and their marriage information and requires the same numbered document information.   Each generation of ancestry follows backward in the line until you reach the ancestor to whom you are proving as a "First" citizen of the area.  Make sure that you follow all the instructions given to you on the forms.  Documents must be identified, usually on the back of the page, and numbered to match the number where they appear on the document list.   Check and recheck to make sure that you have sourced all the information you have given on your forms.  A pedigree chart is also usually required so the committee can not only see your family tree, but also include it in the lineage society records. 

Once your application is submitted it will take some time for it to be reviewed.  If the committee doesn't agree that your have proven the ancestry, they will turn down your application, but sometimes you will be given the opportunity to find the additional proof you need without having to pay a further application fee.

You will usually be informed by mail that your application has been approved.  There is most often a special date each year when new members will be inducted.  In some cases, there will even be a dinner or other occasion where you will be presented with your certificate. 

In the case of the Daughters of The American Revolution, you must have someone who prepares and turns in the application for you.  You can contact the chapter of the DAR in your area and they will be happy to help you.  The DAR representative will talk with you and see if the Revolutionary War ancestor you have is already listed in their database.  If so, it may be easy for you to trace your ancestry back to someone who has already proven their lineage.  You will pay your fee and the local representative, once they have agreed that you have proven your connection, will send your application to the National organization.  They will go over your application and when they have processed it, you will receive a beautiful certificate, along with a DAR number. 

It is quite a lot of work, but it's truly one of the most rewarding things I have done since I began my journey through genealogy.  It also gives me something else to pass down to my descendants to help them prove "where they came from".


  1. I'm contemplating an application to 1812 and receiving a lot of pressure from my DAR friends to join them in Colonial Dames. As always, a great post Lori.

  2. Lori, Thanks for posting this! My first records of my great-great-grandparents are in Clinton County, OH. The husband was an Irish immigrant, born in 1846, so wouldn't qualify, but I was surprised to find that his wife's Matson family went back a lot further. I'll have to investigate this some more. --Kathryn