"Our Loose Ends" Genealogy Column
by Lynna Kay Shuffield
Houston, Texas

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Printed in the Taylor Daily Press & Thorndale Champion
- 24 April 2003

Lineage Societies

What is a lineage society? It is an organization whose membership is limited to persons who can prove lineal (or sometimes collateral) descent from a qualifying ancestor. There are numerous lineage societies (sometimes called a hereditary society) throughout the United States. Each organization honors a different group of historical individuals, such as those who fought in the American Revolutionary War, or those who arrived on the Mayflower.

All lineage societies require proof and documentation of descent from a specific individual whose presence or actions qualifies for membership in the organization. Some organizations will allow you to obtain copies of previously filed membership applications that are related to your specific qualifying ancestor.

You will need to provide the organization with the ancestor's name and your connection / descent from that individual. However, some groups do not allow membership applications to be provided unless the member has specifically approved it in advance.

One technique is to ask family members, "Does anyone in the family belong to the DAR? (or the specific group you want to join)" Then contact that individual and ask them to mail you a copy of their approved membership application. Networking with family members is an excellent technique!

I personally am a 28+ year member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and have been a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution for the last 2-years. However, I am eligible for membership in the Jamestown Society, the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Colonial Dames, Daughters of the War of 1812, just to name a few.

Genealogical research opens many doors into your family history and membership in a lineage society has been a positive experience for me. Remember, membership in a lineage society as about honoring your ancestors.

Recently, I spoke to a lady who has several Confederate ancestors and opposed membership in the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) because she thought by joining the group she thought she would be considered a racist and pro-slavery! The UDC is a lineage society whose members want to "preserve and protect the historical writings of the Confederacy, the true history of its people, and historic sites of Confederate valor, while honoring the memory of their ancestors who served in the Confederacy."

When considering joining a lineage society, be sure to understand the goals and objectives of the group. Do not confuse those goals and objects with misinformation and/or general assumptions about whether or not someone might think it was "politically correct" to join. It is always politically correct to honor your ancestors!

The following is a list of a few of the many types of these organizations:

-- General Society of Mayflower Descendants, P. O. Box 3297, Plymouth, MA 02361 http://www.mayflower.org/ - Any person can join who is able to document their descent from one of the Mayflower Pilgrims.

-- Daughters of the American Revolution, 1776 D Street NW, Washington, DC 20006 http://www.dar.org/ - Membership is open to any woman who is age 18 or older and is a lineal blood descent of an ancestor (male or female) who aided in achieving American Independence.

-- Sons of the American Revolution, 1000 S. 4th St.; Louisville KY 40203 http://www.sar.org/ - Men who have an ancestor who supported the cause of American Independence during the years 1774-1783 can join this organization.

-- United Daughters of the Confederacy, 328 North Blvd., Richmond, VA 23220 http://www.hqudc.org/ - Women who are age 16-year or older and is a blood descendant, lineal or collateral, of any man or woman who served honorably in the Army, Navy, or Civil Service of the Confederate States of America (CSA) or gave material aid to the Cause is eligible for membership.

-- Daughters of the Republic of Texas, 510 E. Anderson Ln., Austin, Texas 78752 http://drtl.org/ - Any woman age 16 or older is eligible for membership, provided she is a lineal descendant of a man or woman who rendered loyal service for Texas prior to the consummation of the Annexation Agreement of the Republic of Texas with the United States of America on February 19, 1846.

-- Sons of Confederate Veterans, P. O. Box 59, Columbia, TN 38402 http://www.scv.org/ - Membership in the Sons of Confederate Veterans is open to all male descendants of any veteran who served honorably in the Confederate armed forces. Membership can be obtained through either direct or collateral family lines and kinship to a veteran must be documented genealogically. The minimum age for membership is 12.

-- International Society of Sons and Daughters of Slave Ancestry, P.O. Box 436937, Chicago, IL 60643 http://www.rootsweb.com/~ilissdsa/ - Membership is open to individuals who can document they are a descendant of a former slave.

In this column, I will be glad to highlight and review any family history, genealogy, county history, or similar book, free of charge, if you donate a copy of the book or item. After it has been highlighted and reviewed, on a space available basis, it will be donated to the genealogy section of a library. You will receive an acknowledgment of the donation from the library. Mail item or book to me at the below address.

Lynna Kay Shuffield has written several books related to Texas genealogy and military history. She has spoken before numerous genealogy and veterans groups. Also, is a County Coordinator for the Texas GenWeb Project. Regretfully, she cannot help with individual genealogical research. Please visit the website for this column at: http://www.geocities.com/lks_friday/COLUMN-001.htm or if you have any questions, comments, suggestions for column topics, genealogy or historical society announcements, please contact her at: P. O. Box 16604, Houston, Texas 77222-6604 or e-mail: lksfriday@sbcglobal.net

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This webpage was last created on 10 June 2003 and was last revised on __________

Copyright 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003 Lynna Kay Shuffield - All rights reserved.
P. O. Box 16604
Houston, Texas 77222-6604