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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course Canadian Local Histories and Special Collections  by Michelle LaBrosse-Purcell, B.Sc., MLIS. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).


Contents

Fraternal Associations (cont.)

Non-Masonic Fraternal Organizations

Acacia


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Acacia Fraternity was founded at the University of Michigan by 14 Master Masons on May 12, 1904. The group was an outgrowth of the University of Michigan Masonic Club. Membership was restricted to those who had already taken the Masonic vows, and the organization was to be built on the ideals and principles of the Masons. The most famous Acacian was President William Howard Taft. I have found Acacia listed in various literature as both anti-Masonic and Masonic. I assume this is because it is an outgrowth of a Masonic club.

What they say: ‘The information we would have might be limited but let us know who your ancestor is and we will research.’

Contact:

Acacia Fraternity International Headquarters
8777 Purdue Road, #225
Indianapolis, Indiana
USA 46268
Telephone: (317) 872-8210
Email:communications@acacia.org

B’nai B’rith

The mission of B’nai B’rith is to unite Jews in service to their community and the world. It was founded in October 1843, when twelve German-Jewish immigrants met on New York’s Lower East Side to help others like themselves. Pooling their ideas and their funds, they founded what would become the most enduring service organization in the United States. Its name—B’nai B’rith—means “Children of the Covenant”

What they say: ‘It would depend who the individual was and the feasibility of tracing your ancestor.’

Contact:

B’nai B’rith Canada
15 Hove Street
Toronto, Ontario M3H 4Y8
Telephone: 416-633-6224
Email:communications@bnaibrith.ca

Eagles

The Fraternal Order of Eagles was founded on February 6th, 1898 by six theater owners sitting on a pile of lumber in Moran’s shipyard in Seattle, Washington. Competitors in the theater industry, they met to discuss a musician’s strike. After deciding what to do on that issue, they decided to bury the hatchet and form an organization dubbed “The Order of Good Things”.

The first meetings were held on the stages of various local theaters and after the business was settled a keg of beer was rolled out and all enjoyed a few hours of social activities. A few weeks later as their numbers grew they chose the Bald Eagle as their official emblem and changed the name to “The Fraternal Order of Eagles.”

What they say: ‘For information relating to relatives who are or were members, they suggest you use the Eagle Talk Forum available at the website.’

Contact:

Fraternal Order of Eagles
1623 Gateway Circle South
Grove City, Ohio 43123
Telephone: (614) 883-2200
Email:help@foe.com

Elks

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The Elks of Canada was founded on September 26, 1912 and is incorporated under a special Dominion of Canada Charter. The first Lodge was established in Vancouver, British Columbia. It has become the largest, all-Canadian, fraternal organization in Canada.

What they say: ‘We can endeavor to search our files but retain the right to only release information we consider appropriate. As you can appreciate, not all our records are automated in view of our 90-year history, but we will give it a good shot. The more info you can give us as a starting point the better and, as you can appreciate, while we have some information on most members, it is somewhat limited in content.’

Contact:

Grand Lodge Office
#100-2629 29th Avenue
Regina, Saskatchewan S4S 2N9
Telephone: 1-888-843-3557
Email: grandlodge@elks-canada.org

Jaycees


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The Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees) was established in the United States in 1920 to provide opportunities for young men to develop personal and leadership skills through service to others. The Jaycees later expanded to include women. With the help of Jaycee Charles Lindbergh, airmail services in the US were established. The Jaycees raise money for community projects, as well as for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the March of Dimes.


What they say: ‘It should be possible; however, I would need to know what chapter they were involved with.’

Contact

Junior Chamber International Canada
14 Bruce Farm Drive Toronto, Ontario Canada M2H 1G3
Telephone: (416) 226-9756 Toll Free: (800) 265-0484

Kiwanis


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In 1914, Allen S. Browne, a professional organizer for fraternal groups, began recruiting business and professional men in Detroit, Michigan. Joe Prance, a merchant tailor, was the first to sign up and became “the first Kiwanian.” January 21, 1915 became the official birthday of Kiwanis when the organization was given a charter by the State of Michigan. The name comes from the Native American, Nunc Kee-wanis, which means, approximately, “We get together” or “We trade.”


What they say: ‘Generally, unless they held a very high position in Kiwanis, we do not keep records on all individuals. I would suggest going to the individual clubs for that info.’

Contact:

Kiwanis International
3636 Woodview Trace
Indianapolis, Indiana USA 46268-3196
Telephone: (317) 875-8755
Kiwanis Foundation of Canada
P.O. Box 5034
Brantford, Ontario N3T 6J7
Telephone: (519) 304-3038
Email:kfcdnoffice@rogers.com

Knights of Columbus

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The Knights of Columbus were organized by Father Michael J. McGivney in 1882 in Connecticut. Today it is the largest society of Catholic men in the world, with 1.6 million members in the United States, Canada, the Philippines, Mexico, and several Central American and Caribbean countries. Any man, 18 years of age or older who lives up to the Commandments of God and the precepts of the Church may join.


What they say: ‘If you state what relationship he was to you and provide his dates of birth and death, his full name and where he was a member, we can research him.’

Contact:

Knights of Columbus
1 Columbus Plaza
New Haven, Connecticut USA 06510
Telephone: (203) 752-4000
Contact form is on website.

Lions


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The Lions Club began when Chicago insurance man Melvin Jones wanted his local business club to focus beyond business concerns to the betterment of the community. The first organizational meeting was held in a local hotel on June 7, 1917. The association became “international” with the formation of the Windsor, Ontario, Canada Lions Club in 1920.


What they say: ‘All our records are confidential.’

Contact:

Lions Clubs International
300 West 22nd Street
Oak Brook, Illinois USA. 60523
Telephone: (630) 571-5466

Moose


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The Loyal Order of Moose was started in 1888. Currently there are over 1.6 million Moose and Women of the Moose. The Grand Lodge of the Loyal Order of Moose was incorporated in Canada in 1912. There are 2,100 Lodges and 1,600 Chapters throughout the United States, Canada, Great Britain and Bermuda.


What they say:‘You would have to contact the lodge in which he belongs as all records are kept at the Lodge level.’

Contact:

Moose International, Inc.
155 South International Drive
Mooseheart, Illinois USA 60539
Telephone: 630-859-2000


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Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online courses Canadian Local Histories and Special Collections offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about these courses or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at wiki@genealogicalstudies.com

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