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Daughters of the American Revolution


DAR President General Lynn Young

Lynn Forney Young

By Melanie Saxton

Our nation sprang from the American Revolutionary War, which took place from 1775–1783. But for some, this battle for independence is more than a slice of history. It’s a window into our lineage, made personal by the service and sacrifice of our ancestors.

ABOUT THE DAR PATRIOTIC SOCIETY

The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution patriotic society was organized in 1890 to promote historic preservation, education and patriotism. These timeless, overarching principles keep the DAR strong and vitally relevant, while the society continues to evolve to best fulfill its objectives and attract new members in an ever-changing world.

The common bond between members is that they descend from Patriots of the American Revolution and want to honor their memory. The DAR events on the local and state levels – and even online and through social media – help connect members from all across the world.

Today, 3,000 chapters and 177,000 members share the NSDAR motto of “God, Home and Country,” which is also the personal motto of Lynn Forney Young. In 2013 she became the first Texan to be elected as President General and was installed at the NSDAR’s Continental Congress as the 43rd to hold that prestigious position. She will serve until 2016.

“Although we come from different backgrounds, many different stages of life and certainly different regional accents, we all share our common love for our country and our determination to make it even better for future generations,” notes Young, who adds that she’s met some of her best friends through her involvement in the DAR.

DAR GENEALOGY 101

Are you a daughter of the American Revolution? To become a member you must prove that your ancestor contributed to the cause of Independence – which is actually a much larger pool of people than just soldiers of the American Revolution. Ancestors could be someone, for example, who provided supplies to the soldiers, signed an oath of loyalty, served on a jury or provided military service.

First and foremost, the most important step of discovering American Revolutionary ties is asking those closest to us what they know of the their own history. “It’s always best to start with your family – you will be amazed at the stories you learn!” says Young.

Curious hopefuls can access the DAR Genealogical Research System, which is an unrivaled resource for tracking down information. It allows database searches for Revolutionary War ancestors or for past DAR members, or names of descendants of Revolutionary War patriots. This genealogical information has been collected from more than 930,000 women who have joined the DAR since its founding over a span of 123+ years, and can’t be accessed anywhere else. Best of all, it’s free and easy to search at dar.org/grs.

Additionally, there are many outstanding onsite genealogy resources such as the DAR Library in Washington, D.C., the Family History Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, and the Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research in Houston.

WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?

The DAR Library and the GRS website were featured on an episode of TLC’s “Who Do You Think You Are?” Rob Lowe was the subject of the episode, causing such a huge amount of online traffic that the site crashed three different times. “It was a great problem to have!” says Young. “I think the popularity of these types of shows stems from helping to better explain what genealogy really is – that it’s about learning more about who you are from the lives of your ancestors.”

Discovering family history is much easier now thanks to the greater availability of many online research options, including Ancestry.com and other genealogy websites. This provides a great service to experienced genealogists and everyday people who are curious about their roots and need a place to start.

According to Young, it is important for all of us to know of our heritage. For her personally, history became so much more interesting when she was able to view the experiences through the eyes of her own ancestors. “Through research, I learned that my great-great-grandfather was the coroner for the city of Vicksburg during the siege,” she says.

Although it only takes one Rev­olutionary patriot to join the DAR, many members eagerly expand their research and identify other patriots who are ancestors. “I was fortunate that my great-aunt had identified five patriots for our family, but it has been a thrill to prove nine more patriots,” says Young.

The society has several members with more than 40 patriots and the current record holder is a member in Texas, Lee Covely Lloyd, who has 52.

EXCEEDING GOALS

As one of the central goals of her Administration, Young has challenged members to track their hours of service annually in promoting the objectives of the DAR. The initial goal of 1 million volunteer hours was met and exceeded as an astounding 3,400,000 hours were recorded the first year. The society anticipates the final number to be even higher. “Therefore, we have set a new goal of 10 million hours of community service for the three years of our administration,” says Young.

In another “first,” the DAR began accepting Y-DNA 37 Marker test results as supporting evidence of lineage along with more traditional genealogical sources during the verification of member-related applications.

In 2013 the society exceeded the all-time record since its founding in 1890 for most new members approved — a total of 13,906 new members in 2013. They will be celebrating a 125th anniversary in 2015, and preparations are under way for efforts to reflect on the strong heritage of DAR while also focusing on its future.

LYNN FORNEY YOUNG’S SERVICE LEGACY

Young first learned about philanthropy as a member of Zeta Psi Chapter of Delta Zeta while attending  Stephen F. Austin State University. She was admitted in 1977 as a Junior member of the Tejas Chapter of the DAR in Houston, and after 36 years of distinguished service became President General of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution.

As Chief Executive Officer of the nonprofit organization, she leads 140 professional staff members at the National Headquarters in the heart of Wash­ington, D.C. who are responsible for the day-to-day operations of the organization. They also maintain and promote the Society’s National Historic Landmark buildings, which are open to the public.

Since becoming President General in June 2013, Young has had the opportunity to meet DAR members in more than a dozen states. Recently, she was welcomed at the 116th Georgia State Con­ference in Stone Mountain, Georgia.

During her three-year term she looks forward to traveling to all DAR State Societies as well as DAR chapters in 14 foreign countries. “It’s amazing to see how different all of these women are, but also how we all share a passion for historic preservation, education and patriotism and for honoring our family heritage,” she notes.

Young and her family have lived in Houston going back five generations. She is the fourth of six generations of DAR/SAR/C.A.R members. She and her husband Steve own a family cattle ranch outside of Austin where they were recently recognized for the restoration and preservation of a historic cemetery located on the property. She is the mother of two, Lindsey Witte and Walker Young, and has two grandsons and one granddaughter.

“Being an active member of the Daughters of the American Revolution is meaningful to me, not only because of my pride in being an American, but also because of the blessings for which I am grateful, such as freedom and liberty,” says Young. “Although I did not serve in a military uniform, I feel as if I am giving back to my country to make it even stronger for my grandchildren and the generations which follow.”

Stay connected with Lynn Forney Young at blog.dar.org. Learn more about (DAR) the Daughters of the American Revolution (and their powerful research tools) at dar.org.

top image: During the Installation Service, the outgoing President General placed the sash ribbon on Lynn Forney Young, symbolizing continuity of office. The emblem of her administration is the majestic eagle, which represents “the strength of our commitment to guard that which is committed to our trust and to keep us ever mindful of the freedom we cherish as Americans.”

TOP IMAGE: During the Installation Service, the outgoing President General placed the sash ribbon on Lynn Forney Young, symbolizing continuity of office. The emblem of her administration is the majestic eagle, which represents “the strength of our commitment to guard that which is committed to our trust and to keep us ever mindful of the freedom we cherish as Americans.”

NSDAR President General Lynn Forney Young

Sworn in at the NSDAR’s Continental Congress in Washington, D.C., Young became the 43rd President General and stated, “May we serve together to strengthen our society for tomorrow’s DAR.”

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Surrounded by her children, Walker and Lindsey, and husband Steve, President General Lynn Young celebrates her induction into office. Her term of service is from 2013-2016.

Lynn Young and her family pose for a portrait during Thanksgiving 2012 (taken prior to the arrival of her granddaughter.)

Lynn Young and her family pose for a portrait during Thanksgiving 2012 (taken prior to the arrival of her granddaughter.)


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