Daughters Promote Patriotism Year-Round

Article excerpt

Byline: Shelley Carlson Daily Herald Correspondent

While tracing her roots, Patricia Stude discovered she is one of many women across the country with a ancestral link to the American Revolution.

The Barrington resident has a family member who fought in the American Revolution or supported soldiers with supplies and assistance.

After her mother died in 1989, Cathy Boykin of Arlington Heights made a similar discovery about her family's past.

Boykin came across genealogical materials that seemed to indicate an ancestry dating back to the revolution. A history major, Boykin was intrigued and wanted to dig deeper.

Both women now belong to a group called the Daughters of the American Revolution - Boykin to the Eli Skinner chapter in Cook County and Stude to the Signal Hill chapter.

The Signal Hill chapter is made up of members from the Barrington and Dundee Township area.

In McHenry County, the Kishwaukee Trail Chapter is another DAR group.

These local chapters are three of a handful scattered throughout the Northwest suburbs and 130 in Illinois that aim to tell the public about the American history and reward people who show an interest in the country's ideals.

The suburban chapters share the same goals as the national society: historic preservation, promotion of education and patriotic endeavor.

"It's so important to the foundation of our country if we keep the ideals of our founding fathers," Stude said.

Linda Wichman, regent of the DAR Signal Hill chapter and a Barrington resident, said women are eligible for membership if they are at least 18 years old and they can prove lineal descent from someone who aided the cause of American independence - for example, by serving in the Revolutionary Army.

Anyone not sure whether she has the required ancestry can take advantage of the genealogy resources available through DAR.

Impressed by the interesting people who belonged to the 53-year-old Eli Skinner chapter when she was looking for help tracking her past, Boykin became an active member in 1991.

"The members are very special, very exceptional, people," Boykin said. She serves as the public relations person for the Eli Skinner chapter.

Helping people trace their family history through genealogy is one way the groups preserve history. Both chapters hold open workshops at local public libraries.

Members also donate books on genealogy to local libraries and to the state and national DAR libraries. They purchase grave markings and historical monuments and raise money to restore and maintain historical sites. For example, the Eli Skinner chapter recently raised money to go to the renovation of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

To honor the link between education and patriotism, DAR recognizes children's writing, as well as those who serve as leaders in their communities. …