Bureaucracy: Application Forms. Texas Society of the Sons of the American Revolution

Application Forms. Texas Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. TXSSAR Archives. University of North Texas Libraries. Denton, Tx.


The Texas Society of the Sons of the American Revolution is a chapter of the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, a fraternal and civic organization first founded in 1889 in connection with centennial commemorations of George Washington’s inauguration as America’s first president. According to the Texas Society’s constitution, the main goals of the organization are to advance the historical, educative, and nationalistic values of America’s Revolutionary War patriots (Marrs). These goals are accomplished through an expansive network of educational programs, philanthropic donations, commemorative service, scholarship programs, and more. According to the National Society’s website, the organization’s membership has included sixteen U.S. Presidents, among other notable figures including Supreme Court Justices, decorated military officers, and business professionals (“Our Membership”). The Sons of the American Revolution received Federal sanctioned as a Patriotic Society in 1906.

In order to be admitted as a member to the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR), applicants are required to establish their direct lineage to someone who fought in the Revolutionary War, signed the Declaration of Independence, or otherwise contributed to the cause of the American Revolution. This book compiles 115 completed application forms for the Texas Society of the National Society Sons of the American Revolution, dated between March 1951 and April 1953. The applications collected here were issued by the National Board of Trustees for applicants to the Texas chapter of SAR, which was founded in 1896. Applicants provided genealogical details about their ancestors, including their birth and death dates and their documented service to the “establishment of American Independence during the War of the Revolution” (Membership). Applications were then notarized and embossed before being submitted to the National Society for verification and approval. Interleaved throughout the book are requests for additional documentation, along with corroborating materials submitted by applicants.

In addition to documenting and organizing the applicants’ claims to membership in the Sons of the American Revolution, these applications also demonstrate a key aspect of bureaucratic credentialing inasmuch as they represent applicants’ attempts to have the ancestral connections to the American Revolution officially certified.  Moreover, the forms themselves evince several layers of bureaucratic procedure, including the distribution of a common form to various state chapters, the requirement of notarization, and the collection of verifying materials, all of which are processed and adjudicated at many levels of the credentialing organization.