This month, the Society’s program was on Fraternal Organizations. Since I had volunteered to do the program, I decided to approach the subject as a researcher. How would I know if my ancestor was a member of a fraternal organization?
One way would be by their obituary. Many times, people will list what organizations the deceased was a member of. Another way would be by finding a newspaper article that might list your ancestor in connection with the organization. However, what if the organization was a secret organization, then how would I know?
Many times you will find symbols on their gravestones that you might not know what they represent. So I decided to do a google search on “Fraternal Organizations symbols on tombstones” and it leads me to the following link http://www.graveaddiction.com/symbol.html. This website was great place for me to start my search. It showed many organizations, not just fraternal orders, but other civic groups.
Because the website did not go into great detail on the history of each organization, I had to do more google searches on each organization that I decided to include in my PowerPoint presentation. I found many were listed in Wikipedia but I made sure I explained where I found my information since Wikipedia is only as accurate as the person submitting the information.
All-in-all the Presentation was very informative. However, many members expected me to have all the answer about Fraternal Organizations and I had to remind them that I was learning as I was doing this presentation. I did find another website that listed when many organizations were first form and that website was http://www.phoenixmasonry.org/masonicmuseum/fraternalism/chronology_fraternal_organizations_america.htm.
Since a few members wanted to know what website(s) I used to do my presentation, I decided to create this blog as a way to get the word out.