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.