Genealogist Challenges the DAR

American flag Genealogists spend a great deal of time searching for documents that prove basic facts about their ancestors. There are many who greatly enjoy the specificity and detail their research requires. One must put in a great deal of effort to make sure everything is correct. Therefore, it is understandable that one genealogist is fighting with the DAR over whether or not his ancestor really fought in the American Revolution.

The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) is a lineage based genealogy group. It was formed when women were denied acceptance to the Sons of the American Revolution, (another lineage based genealogy group).

In order to become a member of the DAR you must be female, and you must be age 18 or older. You also have to be able to prove lineal decent from an ancestor who was a patriot in the American Revolution. In this case, “patriot” means anyone “who provided service or direct assistance in achieving America’s independence”.

Wayne Witt Bates is a genealogist who does the research for the Bates Family of Old Virginia. This group has 300 members, (and counting). He also is the coordinator of the Bates Family DNA project, and has been the editor of the family newsletter for fifteen years. Clearly, this genealogist knows a whole lot about the family tree, ancestors, and family history of the Bates family.

In January of 2011, Suzanne Witt Adrian, a cousin of Wayne Witt Bates, informed him that the Daughters of the American Revolution did not recognize their ancestor, Ruben Bates Sr., for his Revolutionary War service. Ms. Adrian already was a member of the DAR. The point was she wanted this ancestor recognized by the group, and the group wouldn’t do it.

This sparked a “war”, of sorts, between the expert genealogist of the Bates family, Wayne Witt Bates, and the Daughters of the American Revolution. Since January, he has been sending appeal after appeal, (often daily), to members of the DAR that have the authority to officially recognize the service of Ruben Bates Sr..

At this time, there isn’t any indication that Wayne Witt Bates is going to give up on this quest. Never scorn an informed genealogist! They live to do genealogy based research that results in facts. The effort required to find proof that Reuben Bates Sr. served in the American Revolution, and that he was an ancestor to Suzanne Witt Adrian, might be something Mr. Bates would choose to do for fun, even without the DAR’s denial.

Image by Denise Krebs on Flickr