A Hot Genealogy Topic From Facebook

Written by: Karen Janczy, DAR Genealogist
September 25, 2018

The DAR has numerous helpful resources to assist members with the preparation and submission of applications and supplementals. One such resource is Facebook, where there are several pages devoted to this topic: DAR Registrars and Members Helping Each Other; DAR Supplementals Support Team; and Lineage Research, NSDAR. These pages are administered by DAR members, and each site is devoted to the topic of the page, although other off-topic questions are permitted.

As a DAR Staff Genealogist, one thing I have noticed is that many of the same topics tend to pop up again and again; some “hot button” topics that lend themselves to rumor and mistaken “facts” and therefore, repeat performances, often prefaced by “I have been told”, or “There’s a rumor”.

One such topic is when and how to cite previously verified applications. Much concern has been expressed regarding the sources used (if any) on older papers, and that they are no longer valid to be acceptable as proof of a new member application or member supplemental. This blog post will be addressing the use of older papers.

It is true that many of these older accepted applications have since been found to be in error, for lineage and/or service, and those ancestors and member papers have been coded. So does this mean that all previously verified papers must be “re-proven” in order to use and cite them? Must all older applications have new “acceptable” documentation submitted to bring it up to standards?

The Staff Genealogists review your submission by first comparing it to the most recent verified paper. We look at Service and Lineage. Let’s discuss Service first. Acceptable proof of service must be used, cited and submitted for any ancestor who has no source for service listed in his profile. This is not “re-proving” service; it is updating the service with an acceptable source. A line is only closed as a last resort when other service cannot be found.

Generally speaking, all previously verified papers are considered to be acceptable regardless of what was used to prove the LINEAGE, unless something comes up during the verification process that calls the lineage into question or the paper has already been coded as being in error. Staff use the same criteria that each of you should be considering when building an application. Was a child born several years before a marriage? Was the mother nine years old or the father deceased for three years at the time of the child’s birth? Does it make sense geographically? These are obvious clues that something is not correct, and are issues that lead DAR to close a lineage as being in error.

When using a previously verified paper as proof, it may be necessary to provide documentation to prove one or more of the missing required fields, usually a place of birth or death. For example, a death certificate is submitted to bring generation three up to date by providing a complete date of death, a place of birth and place of death. This document will probably also name the parents. However, the document will not be used to prove the lineage as it has already been verified. It will be used to prove the new dates and places listed on the application for that generation. You are not “re-proving”, you are updating. The most recent verified paper will still be cited as the lineage link, regardless of how old that newest paper is.  If you take it upon yourself to “re-prove” an entire lineage and submit all of the documentation, only those documents that prove NEW INFORMATION will be used and cited, and the newest national number will still be cited as the proof of lineage, again regardless of how old that paper is.

A reminder: Staff Genealogists are not permitted to pre-judge or pre-verify new member applications or member supplemental submissions. If you call or email requesting confirmation that a certain paper is still acceptable, we will tell you what has just been stated, with the caveat that we cannot guarantee that your paper will be verified. We encourage you to be familiar with the Genealogy Guidelines, and don’t automatically accept “what you have heard” without going to the source.

Facebook is a valuable tool in which members can connect, and ask questions. However, it can also be a fertile ground for misinformation. We ask that you consider your response to a question before you post, especially if one of the Staff Genealogists has already taken the time to answer the question. We are happy to be able to assist our members in any way we can. I hope I have provided some clarification of this issue for you and you will feel more confident as you prepare your papers.

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