United States Societies
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United States Societies can help you with your research. Different types of societies are:
- Historical and genealogical societies
- Lineage and hereditary societies
- Family associations
- Fraternal organizations
- 1 Map of United States Societies
- 2 Historical and Genealogical Societies
- 3 Websites - Genealogical and Historical Societies
- 4 Lineage and Hereditary Societies
- 5 Websites - Lineage and Heredity Societies
- 6 Family Associations
- 7 Fraternal Organizations
- 8 Guide to Societies and Associations
- 9 Locating Society Records in the FamilySearch Catalog
- 10 Additional Information
- 11 References
Map of United States Societies[edit | edit source]
The following map links to a list of United States societies with a page in the FamilySearch Wiki. The list is organized by state. Click on the appropriate state to find local societies.
Historical and Genealogical Societies[edit | edit source]
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 They generally collect historical documents of local interest, publish periodicals, and have special projects and indexes.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. Public librarians and county clerks may be aware of local organizations or individuals you can contact for information and services. 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. Founded in 1903, NGS is a nonprofit dedicated to genealogical education, exemplary standards of research, and the preservation of genealogical records. It is the premier national society for everyone from the beginner to the most advanced family historian, seeking excellence in publications, educational offerings, and guidance in research. NGS sponsors research trips, an annual conferences and publishes the National Genealogical Society Quarterly and NGS Magazine. The address is:
National Genealogical Society
6400 Arlington Blvd., Suite 810
Falls Church, VA 22207
Websites - Genealogical and Historical Societies[edit | edit source]
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
The USGenWeb Project
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.
The USGenWeb Archives
"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 websites, 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 Tree 101
"While I cannot provide detailed information on all sources available to family historians, Family Tree 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
Ancestry.com Geographic genealogical source search page. Requires paid 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. Family Search has collections in the International Genealogical Index, there are place, title, film, subject and keyword searches in the Catalog, and family genealogy in the Tree Collection.
Chinese Historical Society of America
"The Chinese Historical Society of America Museum opened in its landmark Julia Morgan-designed Chinatown YWCA building in 2001. Founded in 1963, CHSA is the oldest and largest organization in the country dedicated to the documentation, study, and presentation of Chinese American history. Through exhibitions, publications, and educational, public programming, CHSA promotes the contributions and legacy of Chinese America."
American Association for State and Local History
1717 Church St
Nashville TN 37203
AASLH provides leadership and support for its members who preserve and interpret state and local history in order to make the past more meaningful to all Americans.
Lineage and Hereditary Societies[edit | edit source]
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
Websites - Lineage and Heredity Societies[edit | edit source]
Daughters of the American Revolution - Descendants' Database. You can search for the name of an ancestor who may have given service in the Revolutionary War, or you can search for the name of a DAR member.
Family Associations[edit | edit source]
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 
Fraternal Organizations[edit | edit source]
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
- Loyal Order of Moose was organized in 1888, it is a fraternal organization focused on the needs of families, children in need, and seniors. The headquarters is in Mooseheart, Illinois.
- 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.
- Order of The 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 Alvin J. Schmidt, Fraternal Organizations. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1980. FHL Book 973 C47sa
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 FamilySearch 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[edit | edit source]
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 FamilySearch Catalog[edit | edit source]
Records of these societies are usually described in the Author/Title Search of the FamilySearch 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.
- [STATE], [COUNTY] - CEMETERIES.
Lists and guides that describe the collections of societies are listed in the Place Search of the FamilySearch 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 FamilySearch Catalog.
Additional Information[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- Meyer's Directory of Genealogical Societies in the USA and Canada. 11th edition. Mt. Airy, Maryland: M. K. Meyer, 1996. FHL Book 970 C44m 1996.
- 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. FHL Book 970 H24d 2001.)
- Sons of the American Revolution. Membership Information, 1776-1996. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1996. (On 1,087Family History Library films starting with 541473.)
- Daughters of the American Revolution, Millennial Administration. DAR Patriot Index. Three Volumes. Washington, DC: DAR, 2003. FHL 973 C42da.
- Roberts, Jayare, and Dorothy Hebertson, compilers. Register of U.S. Lineage Societies. Salt Lake City, Utah: Family History Library, 1990. FHL fiche 6050647.
- The Hereditary Register of the United States of America. Annual. Yoncalla, Oregon: Hereditary Register Publications, 1972-. FHL Book 973 C4u 1986.
- Bentley, Elizabeth Petty, compiler. Directory of Family Associations. Third Edition. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2001. FHL Book 973 D24benb 1996
- Encyclopedia of Associations. Three Volumes. 32nd edition. Annual. Detroit, Michigan: Gale Research, 1987-. FHL Book 973 E4gr.