Subscribe FAQ Terms of Use
Certificates Courses Course Calendar Packages Registration Consultation Appointments
My Briefcase Help! How Do I? Talk to Someone
Virtual Learning Room Links Forms Comments by Students Scholarships
Faculty & Consultants Graduates Contact Us Our Background Galleries We Need Your Help
 

            Courses            
Research: U.S. Fraternal Organizations
Description
Register (Fees/Dates)
Packages
Supplies
Other Info
 
Researching your ancestor’s involvement in fraternal organizations can be a very rewarding aspect of genealogy. You may learn a great deal about the individual, or you may learn a great deal about the community they resided in, or both. The research can lead you through a variety of different elements of their life, and add color to the basic timeline of an individual’s life span. During this course, we will discuss a variety of topics including the basics of this type of research, the social impacts of these organizations, and the hazards you may encounter along the way.

Their impact on the history of the United States, and truly across the globe, cannot be overlooked. The impact fraternal organizations have had on their individual members—our ancestors—must also not be overlooked in a thorough investigation of a family history.


Course Content

Module 1
Fraternal Organizations  
 
Introduction
• Aren’t they all just Masons?
• How many organizations are there?
• How many people were really involved?
 
A Part of Your Genealogy Research
• How can this benefit your genealogy?
• Was my ancestor a member?
• Ethnic & Cultural Diversity
• What makes each group unique?
• Possible Records
 
Important Terminology 
 
Basic Historic Timelines 
• The Core of the Organization
 
Basic History of Fraternal Societies 
Politics & Fraternal Societies 
Dispelling Common Myths 
Recommended Reading & Resources 
 

Module 2
Types Of Organizations  
 
Society Style Differences
Fraternal 
 
General Organization & Structure
• How do these organizations work?
 
Benevolent Organizations 
Secret Organizations 
Ethnic Organizations 
Women’s Organizations 
Exercise 
Recommended Reading & Resources 
 

Module 3
Types Of Organizations…Continued 
 
Religious
 
Guilds
• Anti-Catholic
 
Political 
Military 
 
Work & Industry 
• Guilds
• Craft Guilds
• Occupation Specific Fraternal/Benevolent Societies
• Pre-Cursor to Life Insurance
• Others
 
Symbols 
• Symbols in Fraternal Societies
 

Module 4
Lineage Societies  
 
What Makes Lineage Societies Different?
 
Specific Resources 
• Resources about lineage societies
• Resources made available by lineage societies
• Daughters of the American Revolution
• Pre-Cursor to Life Insurance
 
Civil War Organizations
Surname Societies 
 

Module 5
Research Planning 
 
Clues to Fraternal Affiliation
Preparing for a Long Process
Putting the Clues Together 
Identifying Resources 
Ongoing Education 
 

Module 6
Research Resources  
 
Graveyards
Headstone Symbols
Newspapers 
Museums 
Local Archives 
Manuscript Collections 
Court Records 
Current Members 
 
Historic Research Field 
• Online Resources
• Online Directories
• Historical References
• Fraternal Websites & Materials
 
Family Heirlooms 
 
Regalia, Medallions, Aprons & Other Adornments 
• Aprons
 
Recommended Reading & Resources 
 

Module 7
Research Execution  
 
The Fraternal Society Today
Knowing When to Pull Back 
 
Controversial Organizations
• Ku Klux Klan
• The Mafia
 
Open & Receptive – The Attitude of the Genealogist 
Recommended Reading & Resources 
 
 
 
 

   Copyright © 1999-2022, National Institute for Genealogical Studies. All Rights Reserved.   
1-800-580-0165