SAR members can exercise their genealogical skills by constructing supplemental applications. The process can take a long time, thanks especially to COVID. No matter how impatient you get, do not contact the national office for an update. Contact the State Genealogist, if you must contact a person. But there are other ways to track the progress.
Each supplemental application identifies a direct ancestor who performed patriotic service in the Revolution. A successful supplemental application provides a “proven” line of descent plus documented evidence of patriotic service. I say “patriotic service” as opposed to “military service” because the SAR recognizes a broad range of patriotic activities, from taking oaths of allegiance, to paying certain taxes, to service in battle. My most recent 3 applications were based on payment of “supply taxes.” Our State Genealogist and Registrar provided the direction and helped me uncover several previously unrecognized patriots.
The smart strategy for joining the SAR is to use the best-documented lineage you have that leads to a Revolutionary patriot ancestor. If you have additional ancestors, you can take the time to track them down after your membership is approved. In my case, several second cousins (double cousins, actually) had joined the DAR and provided me with a half-dozen patriots to start with.
Here is a summary of the supplemental application process as I see it:
- Construct the application – Here are recommendations from our State Genealogist.
- Have it approved by the State Society – Once you have signed the final, official application and provided payment, the State Society sends it to National for approval.
- National cashes your check – The national office collects incoming applications in batches. When they actually start processing an application, they cash the check and enter the application in their tracking system.
- Monitor the process – The national office publishes an Application Status Report once a week that lists the applications being tracked. It is sorted by state.
- National approves the genealogy – This is the first step in actually processing the supplemental application. It currently takes several months to reach this point. My latest applications (sent last summer) were approved the following March. New member applications are given priority and may only take a couple months for approval.
- National registers the supplemental application – The application’s final approval awaits verification of the ancestor’s patriotic service. This usually takes a couple more weeks.
In the past I’ve seen supplemental applications remain on the Application Status Report for a week or two after final approval. My most recent 3 applications simply disappeared from the report. I had to examine my “Member Info” in the national online database to find out they were approved.
NSSAR has about a half-dozen web sites containing data useful to members:
- The main SAR.org web site
- The merchandise web site, store.sar.org
- A file storage site for committee reports and other working documents
- And three more listed under the “Quick Links” menu on the main site:
The “Yellow” Member Info site requires a separate login – any SAR member may set one up. The site contains several tabs, including lists of SAR awards you have received, offices you have held, and registered patriot ancestors. I visited the Patriots tab, and my 3 recent supplemental patriots were all listed. The “Blue” database also has tabs to hold this information, but the data isn’t always filled in.