She said proving service for a soldier in the Continental Line is rarely easy. Given the proliferation of identical names, proof of residency is critical to properly identifying someone. But the men who served on the Continental Line were pulled from different states, making it harder to know whether an ancestor is, for example, Reuben Bates from Virginia or Reuben Bates from New England.
Wayne Bates and other proponents of using DNA in genealogy argue that is precisely what DNA could help with. Within the Bates family, DNA has helped distinguish who descends from which branch. He said DNA evidence also backs up his claim that he is descended from Reuben Bates Sr. The Y chromosome DNA is passed down from father to son. Wayne Bates’s DNA was an exact match for that of a relative who, by paper, can document his lineage to Reuben. Other lineage societies, including Sons of the American Revolution, accept DNA evidence.