The Sons of the American Revolution is a non-profit corporation organized under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. We are not affiliated with any political party or institution. We seek to maintain and expand the meaning of patriotism, respect for our national symbols, the value of American citizenship, and the unifying force of “e pluribus unum” that was created from the people of many nations — one nation and one people.
In 1876 there were many celebrations to commemorate the centennial of the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. As part of this patriotic fervor, a group of men in the San Francisco, California, area who were descendants of patriots involved in the American Revolution, formed an organization called the Sons of Revolutionary Sires. Their objective was to have a fraternal and civic society to salute those men and women who pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor to the battle for independence from Great Britain. They desired to keep alive their ancestors’ story of patriotism and courage in the belief that it is a universal one of man’s struggle against tyranny — a story which would inspire and sustain succeeding generations when they would have to defend and extend our freedoms.
Out of the Sires grew the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, which was organized on April 30, 1889 — the 100th anniversary of the inauguration of George Washington as our nation’s first President. We have used the acronym SAR to identify ourselves for over 100 years. The SAR was conceived as a fraternal and civic society composed of lineal descendants of the men who wintered at Valley Forge, signed the Declaration of Independence, fought in the battles of the American Revolution, served in the Continental Congress, or otherwise supported the cause of American Independence. The National Society was chartered by an Act of the United States Congress on June 9, 1906. The charter was signed by President Theodore Roosevelt, who was a member of the SAR. The charter authorizes the granting of charters to societies of the various states and territories and authorizes the state societies to charter chapters within their borders. Federal Legislation that established a federal charter for the National Society SAR.
Today the SAR consists of 28,000 members in over 500 chapters in the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
Almost 165,000 descendants of the men and women Patriots of the American Revolution have been admitted since our founding. SAR members include:
- 16 presidents of the United States
- Brigadier, Lieutenant and five star generals
- Presidents of several colleges and universities
- Members of the Supreme Court, the U.S. Senate, and the U.S. Congress
- Members include small businessmen, doctors, lawyers, school teachers, CPAs, elected local, state, and federal officials, and government employees, all of whom have a deep affection for America its heritage and institutions.
SAR members answered their country’s call in every major American conflict beginning with the battle of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775 up to the present, including Operation Desert Storm, Bosnia and the current actions in Afghanistan and Iraq. SAR members have received the highest awards America can bestow, including the Medal of Honor.
WHO CAN JOIN
The SAR is a “lineage” society. This means that each member has traced their family tree back to a point of having an ancestor who supported the cause of American Independence during the years 1774-1783.
As in any organization, you get out as much as or more than you put into it. We are an organization of people who make good things happen.
- What can compare to the thrill of a young child, or the tears of a veteran when the SAR Color Guard marches by with flags flying?
- How do you measure the value of reading essays in the Knight Historical Essay Contest and then hearing the winner read the essay at a meeting?
- What about participating in an Eagle Scout award ceremony and giving him an award representing the best wishes for continued success from several hundred members of your state society? Or making parents and cadets proud by presenting a JROTC or ROTC award?
- Wouldn’t you be proud to help build a fine national library dedicated to providing comprehensive documentation and analysis of the thoughts and deeds that played critical roles in the founding of our nation?
- Would you like to praise some people in your community for civic contributions for which they have never received public acknowledgement?
The SAR application requires listing your lineage to a Patriot Ancestor and must be accompanied by copies of the documents that support this lineage; this means finding documents linking parents to children through seven to nine generations or more. It may seem rather overwhelming at the start, however, the task can be simple if someone in your family has already done some of the research. We would encourage anyone interested in membership to contact a local chapter where there are resources available to help you through the application process.