Welcome to the Empire State Society of the Sons of the American Revolution Graves Index.
Who are our Patriots?
As an organization we hope that you find this online repository valuable in the research of our patriot ancestors. The data herein is a compilation of the work of volunteers throughout New York State. It is possible (expected) that there are omissions in information, and records in need of more data or corrections. If you have such information, please contact the ESS SAR Graves Committee, and we will work with you to get the index updated with improved information.
While the obvious answer to this question are the people who were in uniform or bore arms to fight for our freedom. These are commonly noted as the First Veterans of the United States. However, there were many other people, while perhaps not in a position to serve in the Armed Forces, provided support to the cause of Independence and Freedom. These patriots may have done things such as held public office, taken oaths of allegiance, or provided services in support of the effort for Independence (perhaps money, food, or services in support of the army).
The SAR recognizes all of these patriots, as if not for all of their efforts and sacrifices, we would not have the country we do today.
Why have an Index of Patriot Graves ?
One of the functions of the SAR is to promote the research and preservation of our historical past. When researching our ancestors from the American Revolution, there are very few records in existence that the average person can see in original form. Most documents used for research are either on microfilm or digitized, however, the grave stones of our Patriots are a living tribute to them from time's past. In many cases, the grave stones are well over 200 years of age, surviving weather, community expansion, follow on wars, etc. In some cases, these cemeteries are very well maintained, and in others, they may be in a distant field or behind in bush on the side of the road. While many of these stones have existed 200+ years, others have not been so fortunate and are already lost forever. It is important to remember that these stones are under constant attack from their environment, and as such, we will lose more of them over time .... losing in many cases, the last remaining physical records of where our ancestors lie.
We hope that this index aides people in their search for the ancestors. Whether that be in research assistance for their genealogy or in understanding where their ancestors lived and remain.
What you can do to help
Probably the most important thing anyone can do is photograph the head stones. While it is easy to believe the headstones will always be here, we are learning quickly that they are not. Many stones from this time period are sandstone, and they deteriorate from internal stresses. Stones that are 200 years old can appear perfect one day and the next day the entire face of the stone can "let go" and the face of the stone falls away. If we do not get photographs of them now, they will be lost to eternity, and future generations will never have the opportunity to see them.
In addition to photos, document where these cemeteries are located, not only city/county/state, but also with the advent of smart phones and online maps, provide the GPS coordinates of a site if possible. It is very helpful for someone who might want to visit an ancestor to be able to pull up a map and see exactly where in the woods or a field that the cemetery is located.
There are many local historical societies and organizations that work to preserve the history found in their cemeteries. Those organizations will do everything from cleaning up a cemetery to cleaning/repairing/replacing stones.
Honoring our Patriots
Many people wish to honor their Patriot ancestors. These events are something that the SAR is always honored to partake. The effort is typically coordinated with the local SAR chapter, and consists of placing a SAR Patriot Grave Marker on the grave site of the patriot being acknowledged. The exact details of how the ceremony proceeds can vary, and can be discussed with the local SAR Chapter providing the service. The SAR will invite our members to participate. Additionally, we invite our other local community organizations (e.g. the local DAR chapters, the local historical society, etc). If the SAR Color Guard is available, they will be present as well. Research may be done into the service that the patriot provided, such that it can be shared during the dedication of the SAR Patriot Grave Marker. Please approach the SAR Chapters well in advance in order to obtain the best possible experience for such an event.