One thing that most people doing genealogy research like to find is Revolutionary War service. That way they can join the DAR - Daughters of the American revolution or the men's group, Son's of the American Revolution. My daughters can join the DAR on about 7-8 different family lines if they ever decide they want it.
One ancestor that I had never been able to document military service for was John Whitehurst of Carteret County, North Carolina. He was my 5th great grandfather and since he was born about 1740 would be the prime age to have participated in the war.
He lived in the Straits area of Carteret County and many of the Whitehurts in the area as well as those who moved to Cortez, Florida early last century are descended from him.
He married Susannah Fulford, daughter of Joseph Fulford and he died in 1795. His only son was Col. Richard Whitehurst, who married Margaret Burgess. I found Richard's grave marker the last time we were in the area and wrote an interesting story about it.
I've never found John Whitehurst on any Revolutionary War veteran list and over the last 200 years no one has tried to claim DAR membership via him. The DAR has really good records and an online index of all membership applications even those that were denied.
Recently Ancestry.com put SAR applications online and I found one that listed him. One of his descendants, John Norman Whitehurst filed an application in 1950. The application was approved but was somewhat vague on what service John Whitehurst had given during the war. I wrote to the national SAR office in Louisville, KY and they confirmed it was approved but they had no information, other than the application.
The application listed as sources; North Carolina Revolutionary Army Accounts, Vol IX, page 31 and the series US and NC War of the Rebellion, Book Z page 56. There is a handwritten note on the bottom of the first page stating they could not find these references. That made it even more of a question, as why did they approve the membership without checking it out?
I started looking for these books and after many tries at different libraries was able to locate both of them in the North Carolina Archives. I wrote to them and asked for copies. As I have found in the past, the NC Archives gives excellent service and I received photocopies of both the pages within a couple weeks.
Looking at the originals I see John Whitehurst received payments from the State of North Carolina in 1785 and 1789 but they don't make mention of why he was receiving the payment. I guess it was good enough for the SAR since they approved the application but what about the DAR?
The DAR web page has a list of who would qualify for membership. It's a long list and includes some you may be surprised at. I am thinking that since the 2nd document shows John was owed money that he may have been one who furnished goods, food or supplies to the Army. Not exactly something you would think would be on the same level as a Signer of the Declaration of Independence, but that is the way it is.
DAR - Acceptable Service:
Signers of the Declaration of Independence
Military Service, such as participation in:
Army and Navy of the Continental Establishment
State and Local Militia
Military or Naval Service performed by French nationals in the American theater of war
Civil Service, under authority of Provisional or new State Governments:
County and Town Officials (Town Clerk, Selectman, Juror, Town Treasurer, Judge, Sheriff, Constable, Jailer, Surveyor of Highways, Justice of the Peace, etc.)
Patriotic Service, which includes:
Members of the Continental Congress, State Conventions, and Assemblies
Membership in committees made necessary by the War, including service on committees which furthered the cause of the Colonies from April 1774, such as Committees of Correspondence, Inspection, and Safety, committees to care for soldier's families, etc.
Signer of Oath of Fidelity and Support, Oath of Allegiance, etc.
Members of the Boston Tea Party
Defenders of Forts and Frontiers, and Signers of petitions addressed to and recognizing the authority of the Provisional and new State Governments
Doctors, nurses, and others rendering aid to the wounded (other than their immediate families)
Ministers who gave patriotic sermons and encouraged patriotic activity
Furnishing a substitute for military service
Prisoners of war or refugees from occupying forces
Prisoners on the British ship Old Jersey or other prison ships
Service in the Spanish Troops under Galvez or the Louisiana Militia after 24 December 1776
Service performed by French nationals within the colonies or in Europe in support of the American cause
Those who rendered material aid, in Spanish America, by supplying cattle for Galvez's forces after 24 December 1776
Those who applied in Virginia for Certificates of Rights to land for settlement and those who were entitled to and were granted preemption rights
Those who took the Oath of Fidelity to the Commonwealth of Virginia from October 1779 to 26 November 1783
Those who rendered material aid such as furnishing supplies with or without remuneration, lending money to the Colonies, munitions makers, gunsmiths, etc.