Genealogical and Historical Societies[edit | edit source]
There are many societies which may help family historians. Genealogical, historical, lineage, veterans, and ethnic societies are especially helpful because of the records and resources they collect, transcribe, and publish. Often their records contain birth, marriage, death, and biographical information.
Genealogical and historical societies often maintain a genealogical file for families in the area and may sponsor publications. Many counties have their own genealogical societies and they can be found on their county pages.
Information for state historical and genealogical societies are on state societies pages. Click the state below.
Genealogical Societies[edit | edit source]
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
Historical Societies[edit | edit source]
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.
Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR)
1776 D Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20006
Website: Daughters of the American Revolution
The Mayflower Society
PO Box 3297
Plymouth, Massachusetts, 02361-3297
website: The Mayflower Society
Sons of the American Revolution
809 West Main Street
Louisville, Kentucky 40202
Phone: (502) 589-1776
website: Sons of the American Revolution
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:
The Philalethes Society (Masons)
website: The Philatheles Society
The Ancient Order of Hibernians
webite: Ancient Order of Hibernians of America
Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE)
2750 North Lakeview Avenue
Chicago, IL 60614-1889
Phone: (773) 755-4700
Fax: (773) 755-4790
website: Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE)
International Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF)
422 Trade Street
Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27101 USA
website: International Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF)
Knights of the Maccabees
website: Knights of the Maccabees
Lithuanian Alliance of America
307 W 30th St.
New York NY, 10001
website: Lithuanian Alliance of America
Loyal Order of Moose
phone: (630) 906-3658
website: Loyal Order of Moose
The 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
1701 1st Avenue
Rock Island, IL 61201
Phone: 309-558-3077 or 800-447-9811
website: Modern Woodmen of America
The 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
1618 New Hampshire Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20009-2549
Phone: (202) 667-4737
website: 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.
Ethnic Societies[edit | edit source]
African American[edit | edit source]
There are several African American societies and organizations that may have information of value to your genealogical research. You may find it helpful to join one of these societies to gain information and knowledge about the area your ancestor came from, as well as access to their publications.
Chinese[edit | edit source]
Chinese Historical Society of America
965 Clay Street
San Francisco, CA 94108
phone: (415) 391-1188 x101
website: 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."
Danish[edit | edit source]
The National Danish-American Genealogical Society
c/o Danish American Center
3030 West River Parkway South
Minneapolis, MN 55406
website: The National Danish-American Genealogical Society
German[edit | edit source]
American Historical Society of Germans from Russia
631 D St
Lincoln, NE 68502
website: American Historical Society of Germans from Russia
Hispanic[edit | edit source]
Genealogical Hispanic Society of America
P.O. Box 3534
Pueblo, CO 81005-3040
website: Genealogical Hispanic Society of America
social media: Facebook group
Italian[edit | edit source]
Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America
219 E St NE
Washington, DC 20002
website: Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America
Jewish[edit | edit source]
American Jewish Historical Society
15 West 16th Street
New York, NY 10011
website: American Jewish Historical Society
Norwegian[edit | edit source]
Norwegian-American Genealogical Association
1385 Mendota Heights Road, Suite 100
Mendota Heights, MN 55120
website: Norwegian-American Genealogical Association
Polish[edit | edit source]
Polish Genealogical Society of America
984 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL 60642-4101
website: Polish Genealogical Society of America
Swedish[edit | edit source]
Swedish American Museum
5211 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60640
website: Swedish American Museum