My 1927 Daughters of the American Revolution Insignia Pin
Last year, a cousin of mine walked up to me at a family funeral and handed me a little blue box as a gift.
I opened it.
Inside was a priceless item—priceless to me at least. Emotionally priceless. It was our maternal grandmothers’ insignia gold pin from her membership in The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution. Engraved on the back is her full name, as well as her membership number.
The Daughters of the American Revolution, or the DAR, is a genealogical service organization for women who can prove direct lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution. It was founded in 1890 by a group of women frustrated by their exclusion from men’s organizations that had been formed to perpetuate the memory of ancestors who fought to make this country free and independent. These women wanted to carry the torch of patriotism and show their pride in the country, so they started their own version.
Today, members in 3,000 chapters work to serve America by promoting both historical education and patriotism, preserving history, and educating children, as well as supporting and honoring both active duty military and veterans.
Growing up, my mother often spoke of the DAR and her own membership in the organization. She had joined the Atlanta Georgia chapter in 1953 on the coattails of her own mother’s application records and I was routinely encouraged to join for myself. At the time, I wasn’t interested. After the death of my mother, however, my attitude changed. A yearning began in me to continue the legacy.
While working on my own application, my grandmother’s membership came up in conversation. I remember the person assisting me with my application noting, “I found copies of your grandmother’s original application. I see that she was an early member.” At the time, I didn’t know the details of what she meant.
Today, I do.
Grandma Ray became a proud member of the Atlanta chapter in April 1927 on the lineages of Charles Broadfield, Thomas Carleton and Charles Dean. Her national membership number is rather low—yes, “an early member” of the DAR.
I became a proud member of a Texas chapter in 2012. My national membership number is much higher.
Hopefully, my daughter will have her own number someday.
In the meantime, I have Grandma Ray’s insignia pin.