Other Genealogical Organizations and Programs

Other Genealogical
Organizations and Programs

The primary objective of the Hereditary Society Community is to promote and unify hereditary societies.  At the same time, is important to note that lineage societies are not the only groups in the vast panorama of the genealogical world.  In fact, many organizations, although committed to similar research and genealogical studies, are quite different from hereditary societies. It can sometimes be a bit confusing when certain aspects of the various genealogical groups cross lines.  Listed here are some of those organizations.











Genealogical Societies

There are a great variety and number of genealogical societies in existence.  Founded generally for the purpose of furthering and regulating policies for genealogical research, these organizations are prevalent at the local and national levels.  Examples of significant genealogical organizations are linked below.

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Family Associations

Family associations are formed by individuals who share a common ancestor or surname. Unlike hereditary societies, family associations generally do not require proof of lineage for membership, and are organized for the exchange of genealogical research, for fellowship amongst cousins, and for sharing current family news. 

In certain cases, family associations may base membership allowances upon proven descent from specific individuals.  Under certain conditions, HSC may deem such groups to be official 'hereditary societies' and will include them on the HSC site.  Examples of this would be The Monticello Association (lineal descent from Thomas Jefferson), and The National Society of the Washington Family Descendants (lineal descent from one of seven of George Washington's ancestors).  Determination is based on lineage requirements and the historical significance of the common ancestor.

Due to the vast number of family associations in existence today, it would be a significant endeavor to develop a supplemental section to this site. Instead, links to sites which specialize in family associations are included below.

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Certificate Programs

Similar in some ways to hereditary societies, certificate programs are designed to recognize descendants of specific ancestors by the awarding of certificates. Furthermore, certificate programs are generally not organized for regular meetings and are often peripheral programs structured by local or regional genealogical societies.  In general, the respective genealogical societies are thorough and concise when evaluating lineages and awarding certificates.

Several certificate programs honor the descendants of early State pioneers.  In some cases, a distinction must be made between an actual 'first families' hereditary society, and a 'first families' certificate program.  Determinations are based on the structure of the organizations, as well as the respective research and documentation requirements.   Listed here are a number of online certificate programs presently in existence.  The webmaster welcomes notification regarding any online certificate programs which are not listed.  Please note that other programs exist offline, but, for the sake of time and space, are not included here.


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Some organizations are created for the express purpose of providing support to the hereditary community in a variety of ways.  The National Gavel Society, emphasized elsewhere on this site, is a fraternal organization designed to provide fellowship for the present and past highest governing officers of recognized hereditary societies or orders in the United States of America.  The HSC site itself, categorically, is a support organization.  Other such entities are included below.


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The Hereditary Society Community