The Daughters of the American Revolution: A treasure for genealogical research

The following blog post is written by NYG&B President D. Joshua Taylor. If you are interested in hearing even more about this topic from Joshua, watch our free webinar on this subject at the bottom of this article. 


I first came across the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) as a young genealogist, when at age 10 I learned of my grandmother’s membership in the DAR.

Her mother (my great-grandmother) was active in her state chapter, and her mother (my second great-grandmother) and grandmother (my third great-grandmother) were also members. While their membership left a legacy of genealogical information, it also represented a much larger legacy of community service and work to preserve the memory of the American Revolution.

The DAR holds the most authoritative and exhaustive database of Revolutionary War soldiers and their descendants. They have safeguarded the lineage of America’s founders, identifying more than 144,000 Patriot ancestors in the past 125 years.

The Genealogical Research System can be searched online, for free, by anyone. The Genealogical Records Committee (GRC) reports can also be freely searched online, gathering thousands of records and names that have been preserved by DAR organizations across the United States for many years.

In 2012 the DAR published New York in the American Revolution: A Source Guide for Genealogists and Historians.1 Authored by Eric G. Grundset, the work provides an exhaustive bibliography of resources indispensable for anyone tracing New York families during the Revolutionary period and is an essential reference work.


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Beyond Revolutionary War Patriots

Through the GRC and other work, the DAR has established an unparalleled collection of family history resources – one of the nation’s best resource for genealogists tracing an ancestor born in the United States before 1850.

Be sure to check the following resources (click on the name of each resource to visit):


Descendants Database Search

Searches more than 7.1 million names of descendants of accepted patriots. This unique collection includes thousands of New Yorkers and can be important for identifying relatives or collateral lines, depending upon the uniqueness of the surname.


DAR Analytical Index Cards

A unique collection of digitized cards from the DAR Library, typically providing information by surname on family narratives and other items found within published sources. Many of the cards include references from materials in the public domain, which can easily be found through Google Books or the Internet Archive.


Bible Records and Transcriptions

More than 81,000 searchable materials from the GRC reports gleaned from bible records often submitted by DAR members. Results provide a state series and volume, which requires a visit to a library. The entire collection can be accessed at the DAR Library in Washington, D.C., while other volumes are sometimes available at local libraries. For New York, the New York State Library in Albany, New York has a terrific collection of New York’s GRC reports (and is a frequent highlight of researchers who join the NYG&B on our yearly trip to Albany).

As with any repository, the DAR’s online collections represent only part of their immense collection. Consider spending some time in their Library Catalog to explore books, manuscripts, and other collections that might assist you in tracing your New York families.


Free DAR Resources Webinar

For a more in-depth discussion of the DAR's resources, we invite you to watch the free webinar below.



[1] Grundset, Eric G. New York in the American Revolution: A Source Guide for Genealogists and Historians. Washington, D.C: National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, 2012


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About the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society

The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society is 
a registered 501(c)(3) organization devoted to 
preserving, documenting, and sharing the history of
New York State families. Read more about our mission.  

Since 1869, our mission has been to help our thousands of worldwide members discover their family's New York story, and there has never been a better time to join.

The cost of an Individual Annual Membership is less than six dollars a month, and includes the following benefits: 

  • Access to over 50 exclusive digital record sets covering the entire state of New York, including the fully searchable archives of The Record
  • A complimentary subscription to all of Findmypast's North American records, as well as U.K. and Irish Census records.
  • Access to hundreds of expert-authored Knowledge Base articles and webinars to help you navigate the tricky New York research landscape. 
  • Exclusive discounts and advanced access to conferences, seminars, workshops and lectures to learn more about researching people and places across New York State. 

To learn more or join us, please visit our member benefits page