Thursday, November 19, 2009

DAR Record Copy: John Shepherd lineage

Last month, I wrote about my confusion over how John Shepherd's descendants were able to get into the DAR when his pension had been denied. I still think there is something fishy going on with what this man said and what actually happened.

Sheri, from The Educated Genealogist blog, was kind enough to look up John Shepherd in the DAR database and told me that one woman had traced her lineage from John through his son James, my ancestor. She recommended that I order a Record Copy from the DAR to learn more about this file and the proof used.

I sent in my order form along with check for $10 to the DAR on November 9th. I received the file in the mail today (the 19th). Not a bad turnover (especially when I think everything takes forever).

This descendant used the book "History and Genealogy of the John Shepherd Family" complied by R.N. Hodgman for proof of the last 4 generations. This is an unsourced family history apparently created through the knowledge of John Shepherd's grandchildren and other descendants. The 1850 US census was also used for John's son James and James' daughter Ann.

If that is all that I need to source my lineage, then it might be a lot easier that I first thought. (Or maybe how I think it should.)

The most interesting thing about this file is what is not said. The lineage is traced through Anna Shepherd, James M Shepherd's daughter, who married James W Gibbons. James W. Gibbens shot and killed his father-in-law James due to divorce proceedings (according to Dearborn county, Indiana newspapers) or drunkenness (according to Switzerland county, Indiana newspapers). I haven't searched the Ohio county, Indiana (where James lived and died) newspapers and court records yet, but I can't wait to find the truth and the story.

Comments are always welcomed below or through email at


  1. Based on some of the DAR family sheets I looked at when I had a free subscription to World Vital Records and on an early form I obtained in a set of an ancestor's materials that were passed to me, the early procedures depended pretty much on the honesty and good memory of the applicants. Even now the status of some Patriots is in dispute. A distant cousin had to write up what proved to be an overwhelmingly convincing argument in favor of our ancestor against poaching by descendants of a militia colonel with the same name. Can't wait to hear what you find out about the story behind the shooting!

  2. I should have put this in the entry. The application was dated 2003 and verified 2006. Not that long ago. Anyone know when the "rules" changed for documentation?