Lineage Societies have been around for many years. There are some people that do not personally do genealogy, but apply for the different lineage societies they qualify for with the help of a professional genealogist. In “Professional Genealogy
” edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills
, Chapter 24 is on “Lineage Papers” written by Mary McCampbell Bell, CLS, CGL and Elisabeth Whitman Schmidt, CLS. They write, Realistically speaking, much of the genealogical research conducted in the past century has never been published and probably won’t be. Most people pursue genealogy out of curiosity with no interest in publication. Cases are legion in which years of research are abandoned by those who conducted it or discarded by their heirs. Yet much of that work has been preserved for posterity simply because the researcher or some relative used part of it to apply for membership in a lineage society.
Joining a lineage society is one way to preserve your family heritage. There are other reasons men and women, along with some children, decide to join. They are
- To honor their ancestor & preserve their memory
- To join a lineage society their friends/family belong to and to network with others
- Family tradition
- Interest in a particular war or group
- to teach children about their family heritage
- To receive a certificate
- To learn more about your family history – memberships can be lineal or collateral, depending on the lineage society
Some people that have never joined a lineage society may wonder what happens once they join. Here are a few things that some societies participate in:
- The local and national society business is discussed
- Projects are decided upon – my local DAR group annually clean a local cemetery, others have special essay contests
- Volunteering opportunities
- Special speakers
- Our local Civil War group has had dances dressed in time period clothing; another group in Mississippi has reenactments of a particular battle.
As I stated earlier, some lineage societies are lineal and some are collateral. Lineal is your ancestor that is a direct line descendant. The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) is one society that is lineal. Collateral is a society where a young man can join the society, but it does not have to be a direct line. It can be thru a great uncle or aunt that served. An example of a collateral society is the Sons of the Confederate Veterans. As I was documenting to my 5th great grandfather, Sterling Gardner, in order to join the DAR, I discovered my 2nd great grandfather, Frederick Paige Smith was a Civil War veteran. So, while my intent was to join the DAR, I could also have my sons use that same documentation to join the Sons of the Confederate Veterans.
There are many lineage societies to consider.
The things you will want to make special note of on these lineage websites are
- Information about the history of the society
- Qualifications to see if you qualify to join thru your ancestor
- Membership fees
- Applications and other documents you will need. Can you download them from the website?
- The contacts for your local and national chapters
- Membership lists for possible patriot connections. If you find someone joined a lineage society thru a common ancestor, you may qualify to join once you document to the place where you both link.
Lineage societies have their specific guidelines and requirements to join. They normally have a registrar to guide you thru the documentation process. There are many different types of lineage societies, so one of them could very well be the one you could join.