Is an approved application for the Sons of the American Revolution considered an appropriate source?

+14 votes
I recently came across an application for the Sons of the American Revolution that had been submitted by a collateral relative in Oct 1961.  It was approved in Dec 1961.  Given that my relative and I followed the same tree branch until the 1930s, he used the same ancestors I would use on an application.  The point being that I have profiles of these same ancestors until his line branched off some time in the 1930s.  His application contains some information that I do not have in my profiles.  In one instance there is a date and place of death, in another there is the name of a spouse.

I feel that if the application was approved then the information in the application should be considered valid and proven and, therefore, I should be able to use data from the applicatiion and then place the description of the application with my other sources.

What is your opinion?
asked in Policy and Style by Judy Wardlow G2G6 Mach 1 (18.4k points)
retagged by Keith Hathaway

3 Answers

+9 votes
Best answer
Appropriate as a source? If that is where a fact originates, definitely.

Reliable as a source? That depends on the applicant who wrote it, the reliability of the sources they used, and the amount of scrutiny it was given by the reviewers .
answered by Rob Ton G2G6 Pilot (271k points)
selected by Andrea Powell
+7 votes
I don't know what checking these lineage societies do, but I've seen some dubious genealogy on some SAR applications that got accepted. These sources are very solid for details like the applicant's birthplace and birthdate, as well as names of the applicant's parents and grandparents. However, the farther away you get from the applicant's personal experience, the less reliable the information might be. Also, some applicants might be tempted to "fudge" their ancestry in order to join the society.

Bottom line: These can be useful sources, but don't assume that the SAR has validated them. Try to find other sources to support the information you find.
answered by Ellen Smith G2G6 Pilot (850k points)
+4 votes

Hi Judy, the application is a secondary source of information and should be cited as the source of some of your information.  It is not proof or even an original document because the information on the application has been transcribed from other sources.  Still, it is your source for your information and should be included in the Sources section.

DNA testing is straightening out and correcting many long held beliefs of family lines. Accessibility to new information via internet websites and new ways of collaborating have called into question some pretty well established research.  I don't think we can ever say a family line is proven or complete, but these applications were believed valid at the time they were created, and they are still your Source for some profile information. Also, please check the SAR database:  and the DAR database: for your patriot ancestor's records.  The accepted citation method for these databases are noted in our 1776 Project.  

answered by Kitty Smith G2G6 Pilot (454k points)
I want to thank you all for your answers to my question concerning the SAR application.  I am a member of the UDC and I know how particular our leadership is that documents are provided to prove each fact stated on our applications.    I guess I assumed all lineage societies had the same standards.

And a special "Thank You" to Kitty Smith for the links you provided.
Both of your SAR/DAR links take me to the same website -- don't you need a different url for the DAR?


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