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Discover Your Family Tree

The first step in discovering your family roots is to start with what you already know and what you can document. Records such as birth certificates, death certificates, and marriage licenses are the building blocks of a family tree.

Traces of your family's history might be found written inside the cover of an old family bible, listed in a newspaper obituary, carved on a tombstone, portrayed in a photograph, spoken as a story from a relative's memory, or recorded on an official state document. Locating documentation can require an investment of time, but it is manageable if you know where to look. 

Do you have an American Patriot in your family tree? If you need some help in navigating the branches of your family tree, contact the chapter registrar by email.

The DAR Genealogical Research System

Your family may be listed in the DAR's database of Patriots from the American Revolutionary War. This database is a composite of Patriots whose descendants have joined the DAR and is updated daily as new applications are verified.  Search for Patriot ancestors in the DAR database.

The DAR Library

Your family's history might be found in the DAR Library, which has more than 25,000 family histories available for research. This collection includes birth, marriage, and death records, military rosters, census documents, and other historical materials. 


Located in Washington, D.C., the library focuses on the period of the American Revolution but also includes historical records of the colonial era and the nineteenth century. Library resources are free and available to the public. 

South Carolina Department of Archives and History

If your family has roots in South Carolina, try visiting the state archives located in Columbia. The SCDAH is a repository of government records and includes resources for genealogy research. The SCDAH is free and open to the public. 

South Carolina Historical Society

Another place to explore your family tree is the State Historical Society, located in Charleston. The historical society's collection includes manuscripts, letters, journals, maps, drawings, and photographs that span the history of the state.

South Caroliniana Library

Located at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, the South Caroliniana Library is a premier repository for research, archives, and special collections. The library provides free, online access to historical newspapers that originated in South Carolina over the last 200 years.

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