Monday, June 10, 2013

Researching a Lineage for the DAR

Anon asks:
”You may be the answer to prayers. Can you please tell me the source of this information. It is on a website that sells software, which I don't want. I can't figure out another way to get the info, pay or not. Any help would be so appreciated.”

Anon sent me a link to a compiled genealogy posted on Family Tree Maker’s website.  Here is the LINK.  Anon then clarified with this: 

“I do lineages with proofs not the family trees with aunts and cousins. This particular search is for a friend who is 92 years old and says she can die happy if she can get in the DAR [Daughters of the American Revolution] and she feels this is her last chance. Of course when you take on search like this, it becomes your search, too. I am not getting paid anything.  Her Revolutionary ancestor is Richard Curtis but I found this generation I need going thru William's wife – Callie Simmons. I need a family Bible or a will or probate record or some record of note. The line goes Richard, (Rev anc.),  to William (I have kinda), William to James b abt 1784 (I need), I have James Curtis's Family Bible and on down to my friend Bonnie.  I belong to but haven't found sources.”

To get your friend in the DAR you will need proofs for every relationship going up the line.  Sometimes these proofs are not simple documents that name the relationship specifically but rather a complex case study/proof argument.  You might want to start by reading my six part series on the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS) which will give you some idea of what the DAR expects.  The DAR’s requirements have tightened up quite a bit in the last few years. 

Step 1 – A Reasonably Exhaustive Search
Step 2 – Complete and Accurate Source Citations
Step 3 – Analysis and Correlation of the Collected Information
Step 4 – Resolution of Any Conflicting Evidence
Step 5 – A Soundly Reasoned, Coherently Written Conclusion

I took a particular interest in your little dilemma because I happen to know who Callie Simmons was.  I had to research Callie’s father, James Simmons, because I had to differentiate this James Simmons from my James Simmons who also lived in Mississippi at the same time (they both lived there before Mississippi became a territory).  It was actually fairly easy for me because your James Simmons lived in the Natchez area and mine lived in Perry County which is quite a distance away.  My James was also one generation younger.  There might have been some sort of familial connection between the two but I haven’t been able to find it.

Anyway, back to your dilemma.  I would contact the person that posted this information just to see what he has in the way of documentation.   His contact information is posted on the site, just hit the HOME link at the bottom.  Even if he doesn’t have the documentation that you need, his research may give you clues to help you find the documentation yourself. 

You need to find out what DAR applications have already been submitted for this Revolutionary War Patriot.  If the application is not flagged as having errors, you can piggyback onto that application and only have to add any relationships that aren’t included.  I ran a search on the DAR Ancestor Search and your Richard Curtis #A028944 is listed HERE.  There are NO applications using Richard’s son William.  You will definitely have your work cut out for you because it looks like you will be starting from scratch.  Richard’s children that have been used are Richard Jr., Phoebe and Jemima.  It would still behoove you to get a few of these applications because however these people proved that Richard Jr., Phoebe and Jemima were children of Richard might also prove that William is a child of Richard’s. 

The two places you will need to look for your documentation are the Family History Library’s (FHL) and the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH).  It just so happens that there are a lot of surviving documents from the Natchez District.  Half the battle is knowing what is actually available and where it is located. 

It is very likely that you won’t be able to find direct evidence documents for every fact.  You will  probably need to put together a convincing circumstantial case and that is where the GPS will help you.  I wish you the very best luck.  Your friend is lucky to have someone to help her with this.

Copyright © 2013 Michele Simmons Lewis

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