While working on building my family tree in earlier years, I was excited to find a direct ancestor who served in the American Revolution. An obvious next step was to join the Daughter of the American Revolution, starting with finding a local chapter and attending a meeting as a guest and prospective member. What I learned was that my ancestor was not a recorded patriot, which I came to find out is an exciting event. What this also meant is that I needed to prove my lineal descent over six generations with documented proof to confirm the connection for each generation. With this exciting and daunting task before me, I was determined to link the almost two hundred years of ancestry between myself and my patriot.
My journey would span three states, countless hours of research in repositories, online databases, and several road trips to his home state of Maryland, where most of the family lived. Since genealogical research often leads to at least one cemetery visit, in 2008, I traveled to Stone Chapel Cemetery in Carroll County, Maryland. This visit would not only uncover a missing link that opened up a new branch of family history, but would also involve what I've always considered a jovial poke from my long-lost ancestors.
After roaming this cemetery for some time, finding my 3x Great-Grandmother, and delighting in the joy of my discovery, I headed back to my car. As I searched for my car keys, they were nowhere to be found in my purse. As a mild panic set in, I couldn't help but think that my ancestors were looking down laughing as they played this joke on me. After unsuccessfully retracing my steps in a systematic grid search, calling my husband (not that there was anything he could do from New Jersey), I considered calling the police as the sun began to set. Luckily a gentleman who was walking by stopped, possibly seeing my dread. After explaining my situation, he was kind enough to help me search, and after what seemed like an eternity, I found my keys not far from my newly found ancestor's grave. Beyond relieved, I thanked the wonderful man who stopped to help me then bid my ancestors farewell. As I drove away, I was now able to laugh about this wildly exciting adventure
All the years of diligent research and efforts became well worth it when my application was accepted. The journey was a valuable learning experience and also paved the way for other family members to join. I am especially proud to now have my daughter join me as a member, and I look to the future when my two granddaughters continue our new legacy of being recognized as Daughters of the American Revolution.