During Celebrate America Night at Continental Congress last month, Mrs. Young gave a presentation about an exciting new initiative and DAR committee, Patriot Records Project. Today I want to tell you a little bit more about the project and encourage you to get involved in the committee by volunteering to help.
The purpose of this project is to save precious information from a collection of extant Revolutionary War era records. Oftentimes patriots have never been recognized because the record of their service is located amidst an obscure collection of loose, scattered and deteriorating papers housed in a variety of repositories. The majority of these Revolutionary War era collections have never been microfilmed or digitized, let alone indexed. Today there is a continuing decline in funding for most state archival and historical agencies which limits their abilities to image, transcribe and preserve Revolutionary War documents. This situation provides an opportunity for DAR to not only step into the void and preserve these sacred documents but also to potentially identify hundreds of new patriots .
The first part of the Patriot Records Project will digitize and index DAR’s large in-house collection of rare Revolutionary War records. More than 300,000 images from these records are already digitized and waiting for your help to index them.
This wonderful collection needs to be indexed to make it more easily searchable and to preserve these records for future generations. When the indexed records are verified we will make the index accessible in the DAR’s online database, the Genealogical Research System. Isn’t it thrilling to think that someday soon people will be able to search an index to these rare records?
The collection currently being indexed includes the Massachusetts Continental Loan Records and the South Carolina Arch Accounts Audited, along with records from New Hampshire, Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, and Maryland.
The second part of this project will involve going outside DAR’s own collection and reaching out to libraries, archives, historical societies and other repositories of Revolutionary War era records. Please note that we are not inviting states to start their own projects but rather to help locate and identify these Revolutionary War era records and then coordinate with the Patriot Records Project Committee on including them. Once permission is secured, these records would also be digitized and indexed by our member volunteers.
How can you help? Do you have a computer with an internet connection? Want a diversion from housework? Nothing good to watch on TV? Can you read cursive? Volunteer now! Fill out the Patriot Records Project volunteer form here: www.dar.org/prpvolunteer. We will contact you with the instructions for the project.
All work for this project is done within your web browser on your personal computer at home. No special software is needed and no information is stored on your computer. All information is entered twice and then overlaid for any necessary corrections.
Since many of the collections that we are indexing are held outside DAR and will benefit the general public, volunteer indexers may record Celebrate America! hours for time spent indexing. More information about the committee and the Patriot Records Project pin is located on the committee page here: www.dar.org/patriotrecordsproject.
We look forward to hearing from you soon and getting you started on the team!