Patriotic Service entails that a man or woman, by act or by a series of actions, "demonstrated unfailing loyalty to the cause of American Independence from England." This is how most women begin to prove themselves as Patriots. This is also how most elderly men, fathers and grandfathers of men who served in the militias, proved themselves as Patriots. Even a few children have proven themselves as Patriots through the Patriotic Service category.
It is also important to note the timeframe when service may be credited. Patriotic Service may be credited as soon as April 1774 and may continue up until about 1783. The following list attempts to describe a few of the types of acts or actions that can be credited as "Patriotic Service."
- Members of the Continental Congress, State Conventions, and Assemblies (see Henry Abbott)
- State Governors and Legislators (but not including Royal Governors) (see Jonathan Bacon)
- 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. (see Asa Abbott)
- Signer of the Oath of Fidelity and Support (see Reinholt Abendschon)
- Signer of the Oath of Allegiance (see Jacob Abel)
- Signer of other such Oath (see Benjamin Abbott)
- Member of the Boston Tea Party (see Nathaniel Bradley)
- Defender of Forts, Stations, and Frontiers (see Joshua Baker)
- Signers of petitions addressed to and recognizing the authority of the Provisional and new State Governments (not including religious petitions) (see John Abbott)
- Doctors, nurses and others rendering aid to the wounded (other than their immediate families) (see Nathaniel Abney)
- Ministers who gave patriotic sermons and encouraged patriotic activity (see James Campbell)
- Furnishing a substitute for military service (see Stephen Ackley)
- Prisoners of war or refugees from occupying forces (see Samuel Babson)
- Prisoner on the British ship, Old Jersey, or other prison ships (see Daniel Abrahams)
- Service in the Spanish Troops under Galvez or the Louisiana Militia after 24 December 1776 (see Jean Baptiste Etienne Adle)
- Service performed by French nationals within the colonies or in Europe in support of the American cause (see Jean Audubon)
- Those who rendered material aid, in Spanish America, by supplying cattle for Galvez's forces after 24 December 1776 (see Antonio Armenta)
- Those who applied in Virginia for Certificates of Rights to land for settlement and those who were entitled to and were granted preemption rights (see James Allen)
- Those who took the Oath of Fidelity to the Commonwealth of Virginia from October 1779 to 26 November 1783 (I could not find a reference to this service in the records that I checked)
- Those who rendered material aid such as furnishing supplies with or without remuneration, lending money to the Colonies, munitions makers, gunsmiths, etc. (see James Abbott)
- Claiming damages by the British during the War (see Johannes Ackerman)
Some town, county, state, and federal records can provide evidence of service. Some genealogical magazine articles or publications can include lists of people who provided aid or signed Oaths where the original documents have since been lost. Some books, whether published privately or by an institution or society, can also reproduce minutes of meetings and/or lists of men and women eligible for service. Also, letters, diaries, and other family papers can be used if they were produced at the time of the event or the writer lived at a time that he or she would have known the subject personally. That last one can prove to be tricky, so be careful there.