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DAR: Finding your patriot

Genealogy class seeking revolutionary ancestors

October 30, 2013 - Atlas Twp.- Patriots William Rich and his father, Jonathan, fought in the 1775 Battle of Lexington before fighting in skirmishes in New York and Massachusetts.

They are buried near a small settlement in New York bearing their namesake— Rich's Corner.

"The Riches are family," said Dawn Bastian, township resident and Genesee Chapter of the American Revolution regent. "On my mother's side William was my grandfather six generations ago. They're my patriots."

Bastian is just one of thousands who have trace their genealogy back to the revolution through the DAR.

"The DAR has a massive database to search," she said. "Keep in mind, too, that patriots may not be soldiers. Many people of the era were supporters, such as judges, jurists or sheriffs that were involved in the revolution. Many women were also associated with the revolution, too. Of course, it was a deadly battle and very risky."

On Nov. 16, Alice Peterie, a volunteer genealogist and DAR member, will host a genealogy workshop to help trace family lineage to the revolution at the Flint Public Library,1026 E. Kearsley St., Flint. Reservations must be made by Nov. 13.

"If people are interested, they need to know the names and residences of as many ancestors as possible," she said. "Specifically, get back to 1775-1783 and you look for people that were alive at that time."

"Surprisingly, Colonial America did a good job at records," she said. "However, many courthouses on the East Coast were burned in the Civil War in the 1860s. Still, records from state libraries are invaluable."

Peterie said many patriots and their families moved from the East Coast states to Michigan years later.

"After the Civil War, many patriots came to Michigan with family," she said. "There are more than 1,200 buried in the state that we know of—there could be many more. It's important that names of great-grandparents, Bible records, or any type of family history is gathered to start the research."

For reservations, contact Alice Peterie at 810-687-1317.

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