Across the country, and the globe, there are thousands of genealogical societies ready to welcome both new and experienced genealogists into their midst. Over the years I have had the opportunity to lecture and teach classes to many such groups and have observed the bonds of friendship and family that grow among various members. I have also seen some unique bonds develop among friends when they discover they are related; call them cousin connections. No matter how many generations separate cousins, genealogist just seem to seem to get all giddy over discovering a shared ancestry. Perhaps this is why some societies form around specific family lines or a common heritage centered on historical events.
Joining a lineage-based society is not always as simple as joining a local genealogical society. Usually, these types of organizations require a formalized application process. A recently published guide, The Portable Genealogist: Applying to Lineage Societies, focuses on helping genealogists apply for membership in just this type of organization. The introduction from this New England Historic Genealogical Society published guide explains further:
“A lineage or hereditary society is a member-based group that is organized around a common ancestor or ancestors of historical importance. For example, members of the General Society of Mayflower Descendants can trace their lineage to one of the original passengers from the Mayflower. These societies aim to preserve the memory of their common ancestry, participate in historical conversations and eduction, and may provide original scholarship or a specialized facility to aid family historians.
Although no society is the same, each provides and environment for members to share their common ancestry. This Portable Genealogist provides information on a number of lineage societies, the general application process, and tips for completing your application.”
All “Portable” guides are two-color, four-page, three-hole-punched laminated guide, folded to 8.5″ x 11″. This guide covers four topic areas:
- Popular hereditary societies
- Application process
- Locating vital records
- Dos and don’ts
The most obvious requirement in the application process is to establish your ancestral line. Some may think they are too new or inexperienced, or simply lack the necessary research, to apply for membership in a lineage-based society; however, having a better understanding of general requirements and the membership process common to many such organizations may help you better make note and prepare for the day when your research has proven a valid shared ancestral connection.
The third section of this guide specifically covers vital records research, an important source for verification of ancestral data. Just the information your application will require.
The guide ends, as most of these guides do, with a list of recommended resources to further your understanding of the topics covered. Also, don’t forget to read the NEHGS tips in this, and other Portable Genealogist guides.
Order The Portable Genealogist: Applying to Lineage Societies and many other popular laminated guides from Family Roots Publishing; Price: $6.81