Saturday, January 12, 2013

Dead People and Road Trips

When life gets me down and I need distraction I turn to my dead people. I mean, after all, their drama is over with, right?

Yeah, dead people and road trips.

My dead people sort of ground me. Road trips refresh me. Road trips give me the opportunity to get away and get some perspective.

In my first course of study I studied art, specifically painting. I had a painting teacher that told me that when you paint you must never stand with your feet together, you must always have one foot in front of the other. This helps you to moved towards and away from your canvas. If you stay static you will get caught up in the detail you are painting and never see the whole picture. You must move away to see the whole piece. Sound advice for life really. And so road trips give me  the opportunity to gain some perspective and see some peace.

This year has not started off well for me. A series of events related to significant relationships in my day to day life rose to a crescendo during the first week of this year. It sucks. I was trying to pour myself into my genealogy research to distract myself from it all but I needed out. Come the 6th I approached Cousin Mary of Threading Needles in a Haystack fame about a research road trip to the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Library in Washington, D.C. But that chickie is 6 months pregnant and can't sprint off on impromptu road trips. And so a call went out to Cousin Kelly; a daring young cousin who no longer suffers from a crappy job.

I thought we'd come up with a date to head down to D.C. You know, something soon. I was hoping in a week or two we could make a day trip when Kelly said to me, "I can be to your house in two hours." And we were off!

I spent the following day at the DAR Library in Washington, D.C. Kelly spent her day at the Smithsonian Institute National Museum of Natural History.

The DAR Library is a wonderful resource and their online library is very, very useful to those researching their patriot.

The DAR's online library has a collection of databases that provide access to the materials amassed by the DAR since its founding in 1890. When one applies to become a member they must provide documentation of their lineage through birth, marriage, and death certificates as well as other resources. These records then become part of the DAR's collection. They do not permit access to records of those still living but they do share what documentation they can with prospective members. In order to see this documentation, you can order a “record copy” of a membership application from them online for $15 OR you can visit their library in D.C. There is a visiting researchers fee of $6/day to use the library; members can research for free.

I highly recommend checking out the DAR Genealogical Research System (GRS) if you know or suspect one of your ancestors may have been a patriot in the American Revolution. 

In my next post I will explain how to use some of their website.


  1. I love your writing style!

  2. Thanks, Micheline. If you are so inclined I'd be delighted if you'd "follow" my blog.