Yesterday I attended a presentation given by the local DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution.) No – not for my family – the furthest back this 100% Ashkenazi Jew goes in America is 1859 when Aaron Samuel arrived in Hoboken, NJ from England, with his wife and 9 children.
I was there with a friend of mine who really is a full-blown, descendant of an American Patriot. I did, however, have an agenda. In 1951 my husband’s uncle, John Winchester Holman, Jr., applied for and obtained membership in the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR.) Now, mind you, I have no particular interest in becoming a card-carrying member of a lineage society. But I do love a challenge. I especially love challenging incorrect material and faulty conclusions.
John’s application was approved based on the fact that his paternal grandfather, Aaron John Holman, married a woman named Elizabeth L. Winchester. Elizabeth descended from the American patriot, Richard Winchester, who was born in Canterbury, CT on February 15, 1755. This sounds fine. Except – according to family lore, Elizabeth was not the biological grandmother of Uncle John. She married Aaron after the mother of his children passed away. One result of their marriage was that many subsequent generations of Holmans chose Winchester for the middle names of their children. (Read more about that here.)
I will admit I haven’t teased this out 100%. Yet. Too busy researching John’s maternal grandmother at the moment 😀Anyway, back to yesterday’s meeting. I questioned the presenter, who was representing the DAR, about whether an application can be approved based on a step-parent. She looked a little confused so I explained the details. Her response was, “No.” However, she quickly qualified that the DAR and the SAR have different criteria, alluding that the DAR is more stringent in its review. The application was approved in 1951, so perhaps the data available wasn’t as specific as it might be today. However, she assured me that it was highly unlikely we would be “kicked out” should the “truth” ever be discovered!
Whew! That’s a good thing because I just learned my grandchildren might be able to get college scholarships from these societies!! I’d better get to work on some back-up people in my husband’s family just in case!