Genealogy has been a hobby of mine on and off for over 20 years. I spent the better part of a year during the COVID lockdown researching one of my ancestors to prove he was an American Revolutionary War patriot. I was successful with help from a genealogist in the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). She was very nice and asked if I would be interested in joining the DAR.
It was the height of COVID social distancing and the thought of getting out and making new friends was appealing, so I joined. I should have investigated a little more before doing so.
The first thing that put my nose out of joint was the prayers at the beginning. They’re Christian prayers. In this day and age, I feel they’re inappropriate outside of the house of worship or church sponsored activities. I’m Catholic and so it’s not the ideology behind them that I don’t like. It’s that this is a public historical group and by praying these prayers, it has the possibility of making anyone that’s not a Christian feel uncomfortable. It’s exclusionary. I stay silent and let them do their thing and am not disrespectful, but it irritates me.
When you think back to the reasons our ancestors settled America, religious freedom had a lot to do with it. So for the DAR to assume that every member is ok with Christian opening prayers is more than a little out of sync with what our founding fathers may have had in mind. This is not disclosed anywhere in the membership information until after you have joined.
The second thing that irritated me, was the constant harping on service hours, donations and fundraising. The DAR feels a lot like a sorority. The service projects are worthwhile and they are dedicated to helping and honoring our veterans. It’s just that there are so, so many!!!!
Every email contains a plea for donations of goods or money, a plea to sign up to do something, or a plea to join a committee or project. This is a fairly new chapter in that it is less than a decade old and it is competing with other more established, old-blood chapters that have a greater number of members.
The DAR also wants you to add as many supplemental patriots to your lineage as possible. I applaud the documentation of these patriots and appreciate the sacrifices that were made; however, it costs $75 for each and every new supplemental patriot that’s added. I have identified 7 other patriots. It adds up!!!
Another irritation is the push to recruit new members. Did I join a pyramid scheme? I did not join the DAR to be a salesperson. There is absolutely no one in my family interested in genealogy or patriotic history. Plus, it costs money to join on top off everything else they want you to do.
How about buying the licensed products? Subscribe to the magazine, buy the tacky medals, bid on the garage sale-quality auction items. Seriously, the shit they auctioned off is stuff I would have just taken straight to the goodwill. Who on earth is going to bid on a decades old egg platter or a crocheted afghan?? A quilt maybe, but crochet??
I will do a couple of service projects with them, like cleaning up the cemeteries and restoring headstones, but I am not going to renew my membership. I don’t have the time to dedicate to it that they’re asking for and I certainly can’t afford all the projects.
Note to self: Investigate thoroughly in the future before joining any new organizations.
Peace profound and blessed be, friends.