By Michael L. Keen (DESSAR), Chairman, and
Del B. White (KYSSAR), Vice Chairman
On January 4, the Patriot Index & Revolutionary War Graves Register Committee published a new version of their online repository of known patriots, whoserved in the Revolutionary War, and their graves. The new format combines previous data from the Graves Registry and the Patriots Index CDs along with the old online data, into one document. The project also focuses on making the data easier to read and allows broader and more elaborate searches. Additional data, such as expanded birth and death information, spouse’s name, the names of children, and latitude and longitude of grave sites, were added if known.
“All fields are now searchable,” team member Del White said. “For instance, if a local chapter wanted to identify graves of patriots in their county, they could find that information by a query of county and state fields. You could even search a particular cemetery. Such information might be useful if a local chapter wanted to clean up those graves as a service project.”
Publication of the data completes Phase I of the four planned phases. “We encourage you to use the site as it currently exists with the understanding that completion of additional phases will add new functionality,” team member Michael Keen said. The site can be found at http://patriot.sar.org.
“We are currently in Phase II, which sanitizes the data for duplicates and updates existing records with newly discovered information from recently submitted applications,” Keen said. The development team is hopeful that this phase can be complete by the end of the year. “In order to reach that goal, we need your help,” Keen continued. “If you have a computer, the capability to get online, and an extra hour a day, we are looking for your help.”
The development team has posted a step-by-step online tutorial for potential volunteers to view at Patriot Index Tutorial. If after reviewing the document, you feel that it is within your capability to assist us, please email Michael Keen to set up your password account to get started.
Phase lll takes a giant step as a genealogy resource by making the connections between SAR members and their ancestor. “Phase III activates the lineage button currently on the patriot layout,” White said. “When activated, the lineage button will display all current and past SAR members who were accepted into the society under that patriot.” White used his own patriot ancestor as an example of the expanded capability saying, “Search my patriot ancestor, Barrett White. On his patriot page, select the lineage button and a list of all members who used Barrett will appear.”
Phase IV, already under development, will activate a “more info” button that will display the genealogy for each member listed. This will include adding searchable data for each generation. Due to the national society’s contract with Ancestry.com, we are not allowed to post the actual applications.
Even though we have yet to complete Phase II, according to Genealogist General Larry Cornwell (ALSSAR), interest is “building to add data for Phase III.”
“I encourage state and chapter registrars to participate in the next phase matching each compatriot, or new member, with their patriot ancestor in the database,” Cornwell said. “This link will make it a valuable resource for potential members.” Several societies are now making that connection for new members and are wad- ing through historical records as time allows. A Phase III tutorial is also posted at Patriot Graves Volume Lineage Tutorial.
You can help the SAR make the Patriot & Graves Online Database a valuable resource for anyone searching their lineage. Past VP General of the South Central District, Denis Boyer (KSSAR) said, “It is up to us whether this becomes a reality sooner or later. I have chosen to volunteer because a greater number of volunteers means a quicker conclusion.”
Even if you are not involved at the chapter or society level, you can still be a volunteer on the national level by contacting the committee. Remember, we need your help to complete this valuable resource. One of the goals of the national society is to “commemorate and provide memorials” for people of the American Revolution. We need to locate, document, preserve and honor the men and women that gave their lives so we can be free.