Registrar General

Written by: Registrar General, Mary Frisch
August 1, 2016

My mother was adopted. It bothered her all her life that she did not know who her people were. My paternal grandmother, on the other hand, knew a lot about her family and often talked about the DAR and her patriot ancestors. When my mother died in 1995, I called the DAR and asked for a copy of my grandmother’s application. I was ready to sign up!

When Kathryn Morgan Bannister’s DAR record copy (NSDAR # 178488) arrived in the mail, I was surprised to find so many blanks in the lineage. I mistakenly thought I could just send in the fees and information linking myself to her and Viola! I would be a member. Silly me. It took two years, numerous Have Writtens and a road trip to DC to become a member. During those two years I almost gave up. I had a dial up internet connection, a subscription to ancestry.com and the NARA nearby. It wasn’t enough. But a trip to the DAR library resulted in the elusive document needed to verify my application. On October 11, 1997, I became a member of the DAR.

Was it worth it? Absolutely! Since gaining membership in 1997, I have made lifelong friends and enjoyed experiences I would never have thought possible. From playing bingo with veterans to washing the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, DC, DAR has enriched my life. I never declined a job that was offered. I had no idea what a marshal did but when offered the job I was thrilled to accept it. Turns out, I was good at it. And, that led me to other opportunities. Every job offered the possibility of new friendships and experiences.

We have so many more resources now than when I began this journey. As DAR members we have volunteers and tools designed to make research easy and quick. With the introduction of the electronic application and the upgrades to our internet bandwidth we are ready for the next 125 years. I encourage all of you to meet every challenge with faith and optimism. Embrace change. Learn new skills. Welcome innovation. Help one another. DAR members excel at that. You will be amazed by how many of our members are ready, willing, able and happy to assist you.

You cannot possibly imagine how many lives you have touched as a DAR member. How many students lives were enriched because they got a DAR medal or scholarship? How many veterans have enjoyed your visits, cards, letters? How many parades have you marched in? How many historic markers have been placed and historic sites saved? These activities are the tip of the iceberg. As we move forward in service to America, each of us has an opportunity to make a difference in our community, to set a good example and to be a positive force.

It’s an honor and a joy to be a member of the DAR. Being descended from a patriot of the American Revolution is a legacy that I am exceedingly proud of. I do not take it for granted. I consider it my responsibility to help everyone who is eligible for membership in the DAR to realize that dream, to achieve that goal.

I found the name of my mother’s birth mother in 2009. I left a message on an internet message board and in November of 2015, (that’s right-6 years later!) I got a response from a “new” cousin who turned out to be a member of the DAR in Virginia. Who knows? Maybe my mother could have been a member of the DAR. I intend to find out.

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Historic Preservation,
Education, Patriotism

Through restoring historic properties, funding scholarships and supporting our troops, DAR makes a difference in local communities.