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11 Hints for Using DAR Records in Genealogy

Did you like Saturday's post (eight tips for using the DAR GRS for genealogy--straight from my, now retired, lecture "The DAR Library for All: Near or Far, Member or Not")? If you liked that, I've got a bonus for you today!

DAR records are a great source to use for genealogy but they can be deceptive. Here are 11 hints for using DAR records for your family history.

These are the hints I've always included in the lecture handout about using DAR Records for Genealogy. 

These hints went with Tip #8, Use Common Sense but give you a bit more specific information if you are using DAR applications/ supplementals. If you haven't already, check out Saturday's post to get geared up to use DAR sources for your genealogy.

Here are my eleven tips for using DAR records in genealogy.
  1. Not all DAR applications required supporting documentation.
  2. Many DAR applications contain the minimum needed to become a member, which changed over time.
  3. The older the application, the less likely strong documentation (if any) was required.
  4. When little or no documentation was required, applications were not checked for accuracy.
  5. Newer applications were checked more carefully than old.
  6. Some applications list documentation that was not submitted.
  7. Many applications refer only to previous applications, trace backward (see tip #4).
  8. Applicants often used what was handy such as the family Bible.  They may also have simply written down what they thought was their lineage (some are correct and some are very incorrect).
  9. For a short period, all supporting documentation was returned to the applicant, there is no way to tell this. The Library also estimates that much documentation was returned to applicants, at their request, prior to 1984. (Learn more by reading the "pop-up" that comes up when you go to order a Record Copy or supporting documentation).
  10. DAR documentation standards are not the same as standards for “proof” in genealogy (GPS)
  11. DAR applications are applications for membership, not complete genealogies or lineages. 
I have a list of DAR-isms on my J. P. Dondero Genealogy Blog (that post is several years old and some of the terms have changed, sorry, I'm not planning on updating it at this point but some people will use the old terms, anyway). You should look for help in the GRS (look for those information icons I talked about in Saturday's post) to understand DAR-specific terms or policies you may not be familiar with, also.
DAR records can help your genealogy research. But they can be tricky. Here are 11 hints to help you use DAR records for your family history.

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