Organizations and Programs
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.
There are a great variety
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
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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
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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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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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