Are You Thinking About Joining a Lineage Society?

Being accepted into a lineage society is a goal of many genealogy researchers. There are myriad reasons for belonging: it’s an honor; it’s a means by which to test the quality and veracity of your work; it puts you in touch with potential family and other like minded people; and, it preserves your research for those who come after you.

There are many different types of lineage societies. Some are associated with ethnicity, a specific war, or residency in an area of the country during a particular time period. To qualify for one, you need to prove you are directly descended from an ancestor who meets that society’s criteria for eligibility. Three which are popular with people whose ancestors were in Northwest Pennsylvania in the early 1800s are: Daughters [and Sons] of the American Revolution (DAR/SAR); The Society of the War of 1812; and, First Families of Pennsylvania.

The application process can seem daunting. You will need to document the birth, marriage, and death facts for many generations, and your trace your lineage back to your eligible ancestor. In my experience, the best way to begin is to use a worksheet that mimics the society’s application. This will help you stay focused and will reveal holes in your research.

Here is a PDF of a worksheet you can download and print to keep track of your research:
Lineage Society Worksheet

The most critical part of the application is the proof between generations. The earlier you go back, the less likely you will find vital records with direct evidence of parentage, so you will likely need to locate a variety of records which, when take together, will connect the generations. Many lineage societies have local chapters with registrars or membership helpers who can help guide you through the process.

Here are some links to societies that you might be interested in:

National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution
National Society, Sons of the American Revolution
General Society War of 1812
First Families of Pennsylvania
First Families of New York

You will also find links to many more societies at Cyndi’s List.