Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Is There a Patriot in My Tree?

The next few writing prompts from BlogHer did not inspire me, so I am going to talk about another root I have been tugging on. I have a subscription to ancestry.com, so my family tree is online. When Ancestry thinks they might have a match for someone in your tree, they dangle a shaking leaf off the name on the tree. It is like a Siren's call - I must go click on the leaf to see what waits out in cyberspace. After reviewing the information you can then determine if you think the hint offered is a match. And then you can add the information at your own risk. If it came off of the tree of someone else, then you need to determine if they have any backup for the data provided. If
it came off of a record such as a census and the family names match yours, then it is probably a good hint. Sometimes you will find a tree where the "genealogist" has a child who was born before its mother, or a child born after the mother is dead. So you always need to take these things with a grain of salt.

Through several trees on Ancestry I have identified a man on my father's side of the family tree who was a Patriot, meaning he fought or aided in the Revolutionary War. I know this because a man had filed with the Sons of the Revolutionary War on Jacob Christopher Kern. And this man referenced a filing by his sister on the same Patriot to the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). Up to this point, nearly every ancestor I have identified came over to the United States in the 1800s. I was struggling to find someone who fought in the Civil War much less the Revolutionary War. This was an exciting discovery! If it is accurate, and that is a big IF.

Jacob Kern

Saturday the Olde Towne Fenton branch of the DAR held an informational meeting, which I attended.  They walked us through the process of applying for membership in the DAR, as well as the documentation that is required. In essence, you must prove the birth, marriage and death of each generation (husband and wife) all the way back to your Patriot. (Or until you can tie yourself into the application of someone else who has researched the same Patriot.) A review of applications for Jacob Kern revealed that some people applied through his son Joseph, while a couple applied through his daughter Magdalena. I would be applying through his son Peter. So essentially the other applications will not help me. Story of my life with genealogy and house history research.

Obviously birth, death and marriage records only go back so far in the different states. Then you have to get your hands on other records such as church baptisms and marriages, obituaries, census records, etc. I can see that this process will not be easy or cheap. And I may be barking up the wrong family tree. But I won't know until I try.


Mrs. Wryly said...

Keep barking! That IF would really be something!

Bark on the family tree... that's punny.

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