Membership Levels


The Department of the Geographer welcomes interested recruits of legal age (see below) in good physical condition, as recreating the life of a surveyor or support soldier in Washington’s army requires marching/walking/hiking, and carrying several pounds of equipment in variable weather.

Annual Dues are $42.00 for the first (“Primary”) member of a household, plus $10.00 for each additional “Secondary” member in the same household over the age of 16. All under 16 years of age are free. (Fees subject to change.)

If an individual wishes to be an Active Member but keep his BAR registration with another unit, Annual Dues are $16.00 for the first (“Primary”) member of a household, plus $5.00 for each additional “Secondary” member in the same household over the age of 16. All under 16 years of age are free. (Fees subject to change.)

All Active Members in the Department of the Geographer must be members of the Brigade of the American Revolution.

Each Active Member household receives:

Full Members

Access to the website and any discussion groups.

Invitation to register for the unit’s annual School of Instruction

Access to the Department of the Geographer Unit Manual

The Brigade Courier (six issues a year). The newsletter for the Brigade, containing timely information, event details, ads, news and general tidbits of interest to the membership.

The Brigade Dispatch (quarterly). The flagship periodical of the Brigade, a scholarly journal covering topics of the 18th century study from overviews and study of period topics to “how- to” articles for the practical application in living history.

Ability to participate in any Brigade function anywhere.

Coverage by the Brigade’s insurance policy at all official Brigade functions.

Coverage by the unit’s insurance policy at all official Department of the Geographer events.

Eligibility to subscribe to the Brigade e-mail discussion list, an online forum for members to share research and thought.

The advantage of the Brigade as a support organization, such as workshops, membership referrals, website hosting, music training, etc.

Privilege to take part in the Brigade’s management.

Associate Members

Associate members are those that wish to exchange knowledge on 18th century surveying practices and equipment, but do not plan to participate in living history events with the Department of the Geographer. 

Annual dues are $21.00 per household (fees subject to change).

Each Associate Member household receives:

  • Access to discussion groups..
  • Invitation to register for the unit’s annual School of Instruction
  • Access to the Unit Manual

Membership Roles

There are two forms of Active Members; Primary Members and Secondary Members.

Primary Member: An individual with “Active Membership” portraying an impression that relates directly to the mission and purpose of the unit (i.e., Surveyor, Draughtsman, Chain-Bearer, Guard, or Waiter). In the Brigade of the American Revolution, the term is used to define the member who pays the bulk of the BAR dues for the household ($25.00 in 2010). If, for any reason, a Primary Member reverts from Active to Associate Status (see sections on Applicant and Probationary membership), Secondary Members in the household would also revert to Associate status, unless one of the Secondary Members is qualified to become a Primary Member (for example, a son may become a Chain-Bearer, Guard, or Waiter when 16+ years of age, or a Surveyor or draughtsman when 18+ years of age).

Secondary Member: An individual portraying an impression that is not related to the core mission and purpose of the unit, including, but not limited to, distaff and children. Individuals whose impressions would be described under this classification may not join the unit as Primary Members (i.e., someone meeting the above definition of Primary Member must be in the household and must join the unit). Their clothing, accessories, and deportment must conform to the standards for distaff and male civilian clothing as described in this manual.


Primary Member Portrayals

Surveyor (officer or civilian) (age 18+)

  • From a plat, accurately survey and mark a one square acre parcel on flat, clear ground
  • Using an accepted period technique, “cast up” the acreage of the bounds of the tract surveyed in #3 or #4. We must do this to an accuracy of ±5%.
  • Select a plot of ground (one to two acres) and take a survey of the tract based on existing features (tree lines, fences, streams). Record the traverse survey in a correct manner in a tally book. Plat said survey using period techniques on paper.
  • OR
  • Using a plane table and alidade, take a baseline survey of an open area (no smaller than two acres). Plat said survey using period techniques on paper.

Draughtsman (officer or civilian) (age 18+)

  • Develop a reasonable representation of 18th century handwriting as used on extant maps created by the Geographer’s Department
  • Show knowledge of symbols and colors used in maps of the period and demonstrate technique in colouring maps.
  • Using data collected from #3 or #4 created by the surveyor, create a map of said area that is a different scale than that used by the surveyor using a scale or sector

Chain-Bearer (enlisted or civilian) (age 16+)

  • Show ability to clear a path through brush, correctly pull a chain, drop chaining pins, and plant flags under the direction of a surveyor.
  • Chain-bearers are encouraged to acquire an appropriate period or reproduction Gunter’s chain and a set of chaining pins so they can be prepared to do their job at any event.

Guard (enlisted) (age 16+)

  • Fire musket with live ammunition at a designated “firelock match” or other “live fire” event
  • Display competence in the Von Steuben manual of arms
  • Guards are expected to own their own musket, or have ready, consistent, and dependable access to a loaned musket

Waiter or Servant (enlisted or civilian) (age 16+)

  • Demonstrate ability to prepare and serve period-correct meals to the officers’ mess
  • Verbally share knowledge of 18th century interaction between social classes, proper foodstuffs for campaign and town settings, etc.