Lineage Societies are member-based organizations that honor a specific heritage or event. Membership is limited to those who can prove they are a direct descendant from an ancestor who meets specific criteria. Depending on the society, that benchmark might be crossing on the 1620 voyage of the Mayflower, serving in the Revolutionary War, being an early colonist of Jamestown, or even having royal blood.
There are hundreds of lineage societies. They generally fall into these categories:
old world societies
colonization or early settlement
Perhaps you have royal blood or a witch in your family tree? Then there are lineage societies for you too - such as Descendants of the Illegitimate Sons and Daughters of the Kings of Britain and Associated Daughters of Early American Witches.
When you join a lineage society you honor your ancestors and their contribution to a specific time and place in history. By completing the application process, you will gain a fuller picture of your ancestor and your family’s story.
You aren’t just telling a “tall story” when you tell someone your ancestor signed the Declaration of Independence. If you are a member of The Society of Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, you have a proven pedigree. Membership provides recognition and status. And besides the framed certificate you might hang on your wall, you can be proud of preserving your family’s past and passing that knowledge forward for future generations to enjoy.
Most organizations participate in charitable endeavors, historic preservation, education, and community service. With a common history, you will be able to network with others who share similar backgrounds and interests. You can exchange family history information and possibly make some new discoveries.
Many societies have libraries and facilities that are only available to members. Annual conventions, tours, and special invitations to events like the Society of Mayflower Descendants annual ball are nice perks.
It takes more than filling out a form to become a member of a lineage society. The application process can often be complicated and time
In some cases, if another individual has joined the society under the same ancestor you can piggyback on their research.
While you can apply to a Lineage Society yourself, the professional skills and patience of a genealogist can often help navigate the process.
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