Dr. Silas Hamilton's burial site. The Jersey County chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution is named for Hamilton.

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JERSEYVILLE - The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) love history, but their work is firmly rooted in the present.

The DAR is a group of women who can trace their lineage back to the American Revolution. Members must research and prove that they are related to someone who fought in the war or supported the troops. With over 3,000 chapters nationwide today, the DAR provides resources to active military members, veterans and students in communities across the Riverbend.

“The Daughters of the American Revolution are more than old ladies in white gloves,” laughed Ann Badasch, vice regent with the Jersey County chapter. “We support our troops and we also do things that support the family. We do a lot with veterans…We do a lot with genealogy, and we have a wonderful genealogy library and a museum in Washington D.C. that we support. We also have schools throughout the United States that are DAR-supported schools.”

Badasch joined Jersey County’s Dr. Silas Hamilton DAR chapter because she wanted to be involved in the community and commemorate U.S. history. She is currently preparing a presentation to honor the 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party in December, with plans to focus on another tea party protest that was organized entirely by women.

In order to join the DAR, prospective members usually spend about a year tracing their lineage back to the 1700s as they search for a family member who was involved in the Revolutionary War. Local DAR chapters have historians and librarians who are happy to help with this process.

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“You have at least four generations, six generations, eight generations and sometimes ten generations of research that you do,” Badasch explained. “The grand part about it is that the DAR is very prepared to help you. You have to do a lot of legwork yourself, but they help you bring it all together into your story.”

In addition to local chapters, there are statewide DAR groups and a national group. Illinois is one of the most active states, Badasch said.

While history is important to the DAR, they focus on ways they can help in the present. The Dr. Silas Hamilton chapter supports local VA hospitals and connects with the families of active duty service members. Every year, they sponsor scholarship programs for high school and elementary school students.

The Jersey County chapter is currently organizing a trivia night fundraiser that will boost their scholarship program. The trivia night is set for Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023, at the Elsah Township Building with the theme “Red, White and Blue.” There will be up to 12 teams with eight to ten members at $100 a team, and the DAR will also be selling 50/50 tickets.

Badasch teased several trivia categories, from local history to military-themed questions. This trivia night will combine the main focuses of the Dr. Silas Hamilton chapter: supporting community members while honoring history.

“The DAR really revolves around God, home and country,” Badasch said. “We’re supporters of the Constitution. We’re supportive of civil rights. We try not to be political. We are historical and we try to be ever mindful…It’s not just about doing family history research. We talk about things that need to help our community, help our state, help our world.”

For more information about the Dr. Silas Hamilton chapter and the upcoming trivia night, visit their official website or call Badasch at 618-365-4249. Check out the national Daughters of the American Revolution website at DAR.org to find your local branch.

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