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Many societies and organizations in both Slovakia and the U.S.A. have valuable information for your family history research.
When immigrant ancestors arrived in the United States they often settled among relatives, friends or neighbors from their native land. They established their own fraternal/benevolent organizations to provide mutual insurance and to foster camaradie and social interaction, and some even as a way to keep ties to traditions or ways of the old country.
At the turn of the 20th century, almost 5 million men and women belonged to fraternal organizations (about one ancestor out of seven).
Records of fraternal organization contain personal information included in the membership application and death benefit claim forms. The membership applications may include date and place of birth, names of parents and siblings, religion, profession, place of residence, and medical information. Some of the forms may however be incomplete. Death benefit claims provide the date of death, but may also contain much other information about the individual.
Start your search for fraternal records by getting as much information as you can from relatives. Look at home for the following items:
- Dues Books - members paid yearly dues
- Copies of Membership Applications, Policies, and Certificates
- Jewelry - members wore pins, rings, medals with insignias to show their affiliation
Locating Records at the Family History Library
Records of these societies are usually described in the Author/Title section of the Family History Library Catalog under the name of the society. They are also listed in the Locality section under one of the following:
SLOVAKIA - SOCIETIES