United States Societies

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
United States Wiki Topics
How do I research United States Societies?
Beginning Research
Record Types
United States Background
Cultural Groups
Local Research Resources

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

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. 

Alabama SocietiesAlaska SocietiesArkansas SocietiesCalifornia SocietiesArizona SocietiesColorado SocietiesConnecticut SocietiesDelaware SocietiesFlorida SocietiesGeorgia SocietiesHawaii SocietiesIdaho SocietiesIllinois SocietiesIndiana SocietiesIowa SocietiesKansas SocietiesKentucky SocietiesLouisiana SocietiesMaine SocietiesMaryland SocietiesMassachusetts SocietiesMichigan SocietiesMinnesota SocietiesMississippi SocietiesMissouri SocietiesMontana SocietiesNebraska SocietiesNevada SocietiesNew Hampshire SocietiesNew Jersey SocietiesNew Mexico SocietiesNew York SocietiesNorth Carolina SocietiesNorth Dakota SocietiesOhio SocietiesOklahoma SocietiesOregon SocietiesPennsylvania SocietiesRhode Island SocietiesSouth Carolina SocietiesSouth Dakota SocietiesTennessee SocietiesTexas SocietiesUtah SocietiesVermont SocietiesVirginia SocietiesWashington SocietiesWest Virginia SocietiesWisconsinWyoming SocietiesDistrict of Columbia SocietiesUSimagemap.jpg

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 They generally collect historical documents of local interest, publish periodicals, and have special projects and indexes.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 [1]
  • Directory of Historical Organizations in the United States and Canada [2]

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.

Federation of Genealogical Societies
P.O. Box 200940
Austin, TX 78720-0940
Telephone: 1-888-FGS-1500
Fax: 1-866-FGS-1350
Email: use FGS contact form

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
Telephone: 703-525-0050

Websites - Genealogical and Historical Societies[edit | edit source]

  • D'Addezio.com - Genealogical and Historical Societies in the United States are listed by state and then alphabetically and can be searched by name.
  • USGenNet - 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.



"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.

Cyndi's List


List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet

Access Genealogy


"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.

Genea Search


" 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

Genealogy Directory


A free genealogy site featuring a message board, a surname registry, lists of other genealogy sites, and region-specific resources.

Records Project


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://search.ancestry.com/search/default.aspx? ($)

Ancestry.com Geographic genealogical source search page. Requires paid subscription.

Family Tree Connection / Genealogy Today

http://www.familytreeconnection.com/ ($)

"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 [3]

The library also has major collections from the following societies:

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 [4]

Addresses, membership requirements, and information about most lineage and hereditary societies are in:

  • Register of U.S. Lineage Societies [5]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[6]

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.

National Huguenot Society

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 [7]

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:

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 [8]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:


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


Lists and guides that describe the collections of societies are listed in the Place Search of the FamilySearch Catalog under:


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]

List of United States Societies by state

Strengthening a Genealogical Society on FamilySearch Wiki

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Meyer's Directory of Genealogical Societies in the USA and Canada. 11th edition. Mt. Airy, Maryland: M. K. Meyer, 1996.
  2. 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.)
  3. 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.)
  4. Daughters of the American Revolution, Millennial Administration. DAR Patriot Index. Three Volumes. Washington, DC: DAR, 2003. FHL 973 C42da.
  5. Roberts, Jayare, and Dorothy Hebertson, compilers. Register of U.S. Lineage Societies. Salt Lake City, Utah: Family History Library, 1990. FHL fiche 6050647.
  6. The Hereditary Register of the United States of America. Annual. Yoncalla, Oregon: Hereditary Register Publications, 1972-. FHL Book 973 C4u 1986.
  7. Bentley, Elizabeth Petty, compiler. Directory of Family Associations. Third Edition. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2001. FHL Book 973 D24benb 1996
  8. Encyclopedia of Associations. Three Volumes. 32nd edition. Annual. Detroit, Michigan: Gale Research, 1987-. FHL Book 973 E4gr.