United States Societies
United States Societies
You can obtain help with your family history research from the following types of societies:
- Historical and genealogical societies
- Lineage and hereditary societies
- Family associations
- Fraternal organizations
- 1 Historical and Genealogical Societies
- 2 Lineage and Hereditary Societies
- 3 Family Associations
- 4 Fraternal Organizations
- 5 Guide to Societies and Associations
- 6 Locating Society Records in the Family History Library Catalog
- 7 Web Sites
- 8 See also
- 9 References
Historical and Genealogical Societies
More than 9,000 historical and genealogical societies may have records and services to help you with your research. Societies have been organized in all states and most counties. They generally collect historical documents of local interest, publish periodicals, and have special projects and indexes. Because of the excellent help they can provide, you should contact the societies near you and near the areas where your ancestors lived. You may find it helpful to join one of these societies and support their efforts. Your local public library may have guides to help you locate these organizations, including:
- Meyer's Directory of Genealogical Societies in the USA and Canada 
- Directory of Historical Organizations in the United States and Canada 
The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) is an umbrella organization of over 450 genealogical societies. FGS does not do genealogical research. Their business office can identify local genealogical societies and supply their addresses and telephone numbers.
You may also be interested in the activities and services of the National Genealogical Society (NGS). This society maintains a lending library and publishes a newsletter and journal. The NGS sponsors conferences and other activities to support genealogical research, including correspondence classes and a genealogical computer bulletin board service. The address is:
National Genealogical Society
4527 17th Avenue North
Arlington, VA 22207
Web Sites - Genealogical and Historical Societies
Society Hill (by D'Addezio.com)
Genealogical and Historical Societies in the United States are listed by state and then alphabetically and can be searched by name.
US Gen Net
Listings of On-line Historical and Genealogical Societies by State
A cooperative effort by many volunteers to list genealogical databases, libraries, bulletin boards, and other resources available on the Internet for each county, state, and country.
"In June 1996, the USGenWeb Digital Library (USGenWeb Archives) was developed to present actual transcriptions of public domain records on the Internet. This huge undertaking is the cooperative effort of volunteers who either have electronically formatted files on census records, marriage bonds, wills, and other public documents, or are willing to transcribe this information to contribute." -- Site authors.
A useful list of sites and resources. Includes a large, regularly-updated research coordination list.
"Rootsweb® is the oldest and largest free online community dedicated to family history. You'll find millions of members communicating on thousands of message boards in this expansive environment for learning, collaborating and sharing with others." -- Site authors. Operated by ancestry.com.
"Linkpendium is being developed by Karen Isaacson and Brian (Wolf) Leverich, founders of the extremely popular RootsWeb genealogical community site. At the time of its merger with Ancestry in June 2000, RootsWeb had about 600,000 registered users, was serving about 100,000,000 Web page views monthly, and was delivering about 160,000,000 pieces of email monthly to the subscribers of its 18,000 mailing lists. The company had more than 40 employees and operated its own 7,000 square foot data center in Bakersfield, CA." -- Site authors.
List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet
"Live Roots is a specialized search engine that assists you with locating genealogical resources, including both those that are accessible online and others which may require assistance from another researcher. The concept behind Live Roots was to build a search experience that bridges the gaps between independent genealogy web sites, large commercial ancestry repositories and many other printed family history materials yet to be digitized and published on the World Wide Web." -- Site authors
"From what started out as a simple set of 50 state pages, has blossomed into over 250,000 pages, and millions of records. This feat couldn't have been accomplished without the assistance Judy and I received over the years by countless volunteers. We are indebted to each of you for your assistance in making this project what it has become! Thank You!" ... "It's important for you to understand, though we are known for our Native American data, we actually have more data for the regular American researcher, then we do Native American." -- Site authors.
Family History 101
"While I cannot provide detailed information on all sources available to family historians, Family History 101 covers the basic tools and provides essential instructions. My intention is to suggest some of the easiest ways to find, document, and preserve your family history. " -- Site authors.
" GeneaSearch has helped search for ancestors, build family trees and find family history with free genealogy lookups, free genealogy sites, family surname newsletters, data, books from genealogy societies and individuals, surname queries, female ancestors, beginner's genealogy guide since 1999. Other genealogy resources are links, lists of societies, and a variety of tools for online research.. See our state genealogy pages for free genealogy databases and genealogy resources for each state." -- Site Authors
"The mission of D'Addezio.com has been to provide a quality site containing original material, and valuable links to other information on the Internet, in a well-organized manner. The site has grown gradually, keeping the quality of our information as the highest priority." -- Site authors.
Olive Tree Genealogy
"Olive Tree Genealogy has more than 1,900 pages of free genealogy records to help you find your brick-wall ancestors and build your family tree." -- Site Authors
A free genealogy site featuring a message board, a surname registry, lists of other genealogy sites, and region specific resources.
Links to state and county public records.
Regional Genealogy Databases, ancestry.com, National Archives, State Archives
"Histopolis is a free, collaborative source for genealogy and history information including links to other relevant sites." -- Site Authors
http://colonialancestors.com/ (All 13 colonies)
"Find information about Colonial New Jersey Genealogy to help with your genealogy research and to find your New Jersey surnames and ancestors." -- Site Authors
ancestry.com Geographic genealogical source search page. Requires US Subscription.
Family Tree Connection / Genealogy Today $
"Your annual subscription gives you unlimited access to the Family Tree Connection database, along with discounts on all purchases in the Genealogy Today Store and any scanning services you request (of images in any of the FTC source documents)." -- Site Authors
FamilySearch is a collection of computer files containing several million names. FamilySearch is a good place to begin your research. Some of the records come from compiled sources; some have been automated from original sources.
Lineage and Hereditary Societies
Soon after the American Revolution, prominent citizens began to form exclusive social organizations and join hereditary and patriotic societies. Many societies were organized in the late 1880s and 1890s when membership in these organizations became very popular.
These societies are generally involved in educational, cultural, social, and other programs to preserve the documents and memory of the past. They often maintain libraries and museums that can help you in your research. Most publish a periodical or newsletter, such as the Daughters of the American Revolution Magazine.
One of your ancestors or relatives may have submitted application papers containing his pedigree in order to join a lineage society. These records often include multi-generation pedigrees and information from family Bibles, death records, or military documents. They may also lead you to someone else interested in your family. Unfortunately, these papers have not always been carefully documented, but they can provide excellent clues for further research. Some societies allow only members to use their records.
The Family History Library has over 2,000 microfilms and numerous books of society records. These include application papers, yearbooks, ancestor rolls, membership rosters, and publications of the societies. For example, the library has microfilm copies of a card index and 100,000 applications for membership in:
- Sons of the American Revolution. Membership Information, 1776-1996 
The library also has major collections from the following societies:
- General Society of Colonial Wars
- General Society of Mayflower Descendants
- Holland Society of New York
- National Society of the Colonial Dames of the XVII Century
- National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR)
- Daughters of the Revolution of 1776 (DOR or DR) FHL has online index
- National Society of New England Women
- National Society, Sons of the American Revolution
The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) is the largest and most popular lineage society in the United States. It has had over 188,000 members and several chapters in each state. This society actively encourages members to locate and transcribe records useful to genealogists. An index to the Revolutionary ancestors of DAR applicants is:
- Daughters of the American Revolution, Millennial Administration. DAR Patriot Index 
Addresses, membership requirements, and information about most lineage and hereditary societies are in:
- Register of U.S. Lineage Societies  This register gives call numbers and describes many of the society records available at the Family History Library.
- The Hereditary Register of the United States of America
Web Sites - Lineage and Heredity Societies
Many family organizations are gathering information about their ancestors and descendants. Some organizations are gathering information about all individuals with a particular surname. Family histories, newsletters, family group records, and other information gathered by family organizations are described on the Genealogy page. The Family Registry and the Ancestral File (also on the “Genealogy” page) can help you locate active associations. Some researchers have located family organizations and other researchers by posting queries on the Internet or by searching the membership directories of online computer genealogy groups. Also helpful is:
- Directory of Family Associations 
Your ancestor or relative may have belonged to an association, lodge, or secret society whose membership is based on common interests, religion, or ethnicity. Many sources, such as local histories, biographies, obituaries, tombstones, family records, and artifacts may give you clues that an ancestor belonged to a fraternal society. Examples of these societies include:
- Ancient Free and Accepted Masons (Freemasonry)
- Ancient Order of Hibernians of America
- Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE
- International Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF)
- Knights of the Maccabees
- Lithuanian Alliance of America
- Modern Woodmen of America was organized 1883 in Iowa, a fraternal benefit society. It offers financial services and fraternal member benefits throughout the US. The headquarters are in Rock Island, Illinois. (not accessible without username and password)
- Order of Eastern Star
These societies were involved in political, social, and financial activities. Around 1900, for example, there were over 2,000,000 members involved in fraternal insurance programs.
For more information about fraternal societies, see:
- Fraternal Organizations
The records of fraternal organizations may exist in a society or business archive. Some genealogical information may be obtained through correspondence. Family History Library has histories of fraternal societies but very few records. In the Family History Library Catalog, find:
Most information about fraternal organizations in the Author/Title Search under the organization name.
Some organization histories are in the Place Search under the locality, then topics such as SOCIETIES, GENEALOGY, HISTORY, OCCUPATIONS, MINORITIES, and PUBLIC RECORDS.
Guide to Societies and Associations
Current addresses, functions, and membership requirements of fraternal, ethnic, veteran, hereditary, patriotic, and other associations can be found in the:
- Encyclopedia of Associations  Section twelve, “Veterans', Hereditary, and Patriotic Organizations” is especially useful for genealogists.
Locating Society Records in the Family History Library Catalog
Records of these societies are usually described in the Author/Title Search of the Family History Library Catalog under the name of the society. They are also listed in the Place Search under one of the following:
- UNITED STATES - SOCIETIES
- [STATE] - SOCIETIES
- [STATE], [COUNTY] - SOCIETIES
UNITED STATES - GENEALOGY
- [STATE] - GENEALOGY
[STATE], [COUNTY] - GENEALOGY
Some records gathered by societies are listed in the Locality Search under the type of record. For example, cemetery transcripts gathered by a local genealogical society are listed in the catalog under the
- [STATE], [COUNTY] - CEMETERIES.
Lists and guides that describe the collections of societies are listed in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:
- [STATE] - ARCHIVES AND LIBRARIES - INVENTORIES, REGISTERS, CATALOGS
- [STATE], [COUNTY] - ARCHIVES AND LIBRARIES - INVENTORIES, REGISTERS, CATALOGS
- [STATE], [COUNTY], [TOWN] - ARCHIVES AND LIBRARIES - INVENTORIES, REGISTERS, CATALOGS
You can also find information about some societies under the name of the organization in the Subject Search of the Family History Library Catalog.
- Meyer's Directory of Genealogical Societies in the USA and Canada. 11th edition. Mt. Airy, Maryland: M. K. Meyer, 1996. (Family History Library&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;nbsp;Ref book 970 C44m.)
- Wheeler, Mary Bray, editor. Directory of Historical Organizations in the United States and Canada. 14th edition. Nashville, Tennessee: American Association for State and Local History, 1990. (Family History Library&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;nbsp;book 970 H24d 1990.)
- Sons of the American Revolution. Membership Information, 1776-1996. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1996. (On 1,087&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;nbsp;Family History Library&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;nbsp;films starting with 541473.)
- Daughters of the American Revolution, Millennial Administration. DAR Patriot Index.&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;nbsp;Three Volumes. Washington, DC: DAR, 2003. (Family&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;nbsp;History Library&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;nbsp;book 973 C42da 2003.)
- Roberts, Jayare, and Dorothy Hebertson, compilers. Register of U.S. Lineage Societies. Salt Lake City, Utah: Family History Library, 1990. (Family History Library&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;nbsp;book 973 C43m 1990; fiche 6050647.)
- The Hereditary Register of the United States of America. Annual. Yoncalla, Oregon: Hereditary Register Publications, 1972-. (Family History Library&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;nbsp;book 973 C4u 1986.)
- Bentley, Elizabeth Petty, compiler. Directory of Family Associations. Third Edition. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1996. (Family History Library&amp;amp;amp;amp;nbsp;book 973 D24benb 1996.)
- Schmidt, Alvin J., Fraternal Organizations. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1980. (FHL book 973 C47sa.)
- Encyclopedia of Associations. Three Volumes. 32nd edition. Annual. Detroit, Michigan: Gale Research, 1987-. (Family History Library&amp;amp;amp;amp;nbsp;book 973 E4gr.)