Fraternal Orders and Service Clubs

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Were any of your ancestors members of fraternal orders or service clubs? Many such organizations are out there, and chances are, you have at least one ancestor who was a member of an order or club. Although most of the more commonly known organizations are for men, affiliated organizations for women exist, too. Here are a few general information sites on fraternal orders and service clubs:

1 American Legion: www.legion.org

1 Ancient and Mystical Order Rosae Crucis: www.amorc.org

1 Ancient Order of Hibernians in America: www.aoh.com

1 Catholic Knights: www.catholicknights.org/home/default.aspx

1 DeMolay International: www.demolay.org/home/index.shtml

1 Eagles (Fraternal Order of Eagles): www.foe.com

1 Elks (Benevolent Protective Order of the Elks): www.elks.org

1 Freemasonry: Freemasonry.org (www.freemasonry.org) and A Page About Freemasonry (web.mit.edu/dryfoo/www/Masons/ index.html)

1 Improved Order of Red Men: www.redmen.org

1 Job's Daughters (International Order of Job's Daughters): www. iojd.org

1 Kiwanis International: www.kiwanis.org 1 Knights of Columbus: www.kofc.org/un/index.cfm 1 Lions Clubs: LionNet (www.lionnet.com)

1 Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States:

www.suvcw.org/mollus/mollus.htm

1 Modern Woodmen of America: www.modern-woodmen.org/Public 1 Moose International: www.mooseintl.org/public/default.asp 1 Odd Fellows (Independent Order of Odd Fellows): www.ioof.org 1 Optimist International: www.optimist.org

1 Order of the Eastern Star (Grand Chapter Order of the Eastern Star):

www.easternstar.org

1 Orioles (Fraternal Order of Orioles): www.fraternalorderorioles. homestead.com

1 Police (Fraternal Order of Police): www.grandlodgefop.org

il Rainbow for Girls (International Order of the Rainbow for Girls):

i Rebekahs: www.ioof.org/rebekahs.htm i Rotary International: www.rotary.org

i Shriners (The Shrine of North America): www.shriners.com i Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States: www.vfw.org

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Most of the online sites related to fraternal orders provide historical information about the clubs and current membership rules. Although the sites may not provide you with actual records (membership lists and meeting minutes), they do give you an overview of what the club is about and an idea of what your ancestor did as a member. The sites also provide you with the names and addresses of local chapters — you can contact them to see if they have original resources available for public use or if they can send you copies of anything pertaining to your ancestor.

An important thing to note is that having information about a fraternal order doesn't necessarily make a particular site the organization's official site. This is particularly true for international organizations. You may find Web pages for different chapters of a particular club in several different countries, and although each site may have some general club information in common, they are likely to have varying types of information specific to that chapter of the organization.

If you're looking for sites containing information on fraternal organizations, you may want to try some of the comprehensive genealogy sites. If you can't find sufficient information there, try one of the general Internet search engines. To find information on fraternal orders through a general Internet search engine, try this:

1. Open your Web browser and go to the AltaVista search engine page (www.altavista.com) or substitute the address of your favorite search engine.

2. Type the name of a fraternal organization in the Search box and click Find.

We're interested in finding information about the Knights of Columbus, so we type that phrase in the Search box.

3. Click a link that interests you from the search results page.

After you click Search, you see a page with the results of your search. Each result has the site's title and a brief abstract taken directly from the page. You can use these to determine whether the site contains information that you're interested in before visiting it.

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