Many genealogists choose to join a lineage organization after they feel comfortable in their new hobby. Some genealogists start researching their family tree specifically to join a lineage group. Some genealogists choose not to join any groups but prefer to spend their time on research and solving family mysteries.
Those genealogists who decide to apply for membership into a group have a large pool of organizations from which to choose. A recent survey of women in the Fort Worth area who belong to lineage groups indicated that many of them joined the Daughters of the American Revolution first.
Some said it was because the DAR was the one they knew by name recognition. Some said it was the “gold standard” in lineage groups. Some joined simply because they found the information that made them eligible for that group first.
Regardless of which group these women joined first, many of them continued to join as they learned more about their ancestry and about the other organizations available to them.
Barbara Bardeen Cobb is a member of several lineage societies, including DAR and National Society United States Daughters of 1812, which are groups that honor military service of ancestors. These types of groups are some of the first that genealogists join.
However, Cobb is also a member of some cleverly-named societies that are not so well known, even among genealogists. She is a member of Associated Daughters of Early American Witches. The society’s website states that membership is available to a woman who can “prove descent from an ancestor or ancestress who was accused or tried or executed for the practice of witchcraft prior to 31 December 1699.”
She is also a member of “The Flagon and Trencher Society: Descendants of Colonial Tavern Keepers.” This organization is open to males and females who “can prove direct descent from a person conducting a tavern, inn, ordinary, or other type of hostelry prior to 4 July 1776 (within the area which became the first 13 states).”
Cobb is a member of The Order of Descendants of Colonial Physicians & Chirurgiens 1607-1783. Membership is open to men and women “who are descended form a physician, chirurgien (surgeon), or licensed midwife practicing on the North American continent during the Colonial period, through 1783.”
Cobb’s other interesting group is the National Society of Women Descendants of the
Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts. This organization is open to “lineal descendants of the 24 Founders of 1637 and for all members of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company between 1638-1774, for lineal descendants of the General court of Massachusetts Bay when the Charter was granted in 1638, namely, the Governor, the Governor's Council and for the Deputies to the General Court of 1638.”
Amanda Cowan is a member of several organizations. Her first was DAR. Today, she belongs to nine groups, including US Daughters of 1812, Daughters of the American Colonists, Daughters of Colonial Wars, and other similar organizations.
But Cowan also belongs to the Guild of Colonial Artisans and Tradesmen. The organization’s website states its purpose is to “recognize and honor our Colonial Ancestors who, through their efforts as skilled craftsmen, tradesmen, and talented artisans, were involved in the formation of the American Colonies from the founding of Jamestown, 13 May 1607, to the Treaty of Paris, 03 September 1783.”
The lesson for genealogists is to be open to new discoveries and not to discount any piece of information about an ancestor. Even a small clue can lead to qualifying for an organization to honor an ancestor.
There are several websites that have lists of lineage societies, including The Hereditary Society Community of the United States of America and Cyndi’s List.
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