Monday, March 30, 2009

Societies & Fraternal Organizations -- what can we learn about the women?

Fraternal organizations and societies, we know, can reveal something about our ancestors, their beliefs, interests, and activities. And in her article, "Conducting Research Through Societies and Fraternal Organizations," Judy Rosella Edwards provides background and explores the value of those organizations. One point the article makes, which I think is worth mentioning here at the end of Women's History Month, is how a typically patriarchal institution might help you learn more about a female ancestor. As the article observes, "Many member-based organizations are gender-based, but include an auxiliary for the opposite sex. Most of the older organizations are patriarchal and the auxiliary was for the ladies. Because of the auxiliary, this may be the only place where you'll learn much about a woman's life aside from being listed as spouse on a census." The article suggests ways to look for female ancestors within that context.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Finding Clues through Fraternal Links

In her article, "Finding Clues through Fraternal Links," Melissa Slate reminds us of the many fraternal societies that existed and the opportunities for learning more about our ancestors through their fraternal society associations.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Secretly Honoring Seven Wise Men

What I love most about my job is going on adventures. These aren't trips to exotic places like Egypt, but rather ancestral "digs" into boxes of once-cherished, but presently discarded materials. On a recent adventure, I discovered the Heptasophs.

Among several boxes of unwanted junk, I came across two attendance books for a New Jersey based Conclave of the Improved Order of Heptasophs. Five dollars later (i.e. cost of the box) and this secret society was going to be my next challenge.

To read what I learned about this interesting secret order (including the identity of the seven wise men) and search the names in those two books, visit the Improved Order of Heptasophs page at Genealogy Today.

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