Monday, March 19, 2018

Women's History Month 2018: Membership Records

OES Chapter from Brooklin, Maine. From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega
Our ancestors joined organizations, church groups, and volunteered. But knowing what they were a member of can be difficult at best. I think about my own paternal grandmother, who I knew, and I can't think of anything she was a member of. But as I think of other family members I can remember the church they attended, what they believed in, resulting in some ideas for possible membership groups surface.

Of course, a female ancestor may have also have been a member of an auxiliary to a male membership organization that her husband or father was a member of. Think in terms of the Grand Army of the Republic and women who were part of the Women's Relief Corps.

Looking at groups in the community might provide ideas for possible membership organizations. Searching city directories or local histories might also be of assistance. Those membership groups you identify kept records that now may be part of an archive.

Membership records can provide information like name, date, place as well as familial relationships, death information, and more.

Consider this entry from a ledger of meeting notes from the Order of the Eastern Star of Brooklin, Maine.* It includes information about a meeting held in honor of a member. It doesn't provide a death date but it appears that the date given may have been when she was buried.

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega
Consider what memberships your female ancestor held and seek out those records. They can provide you a much more complete picture of her life including providing you with a glimpse at her FAN Club.


*This ledger is one a I purchased. If  an archive from Maine or the OES would like it, I'd be happy to donate it.

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