Saturday, 17 May 2014

Societies, Orders and Lodges

Have you seen these symbols on the gravestones of your ancestors? Or among their papers, or on a badge?  If so, that person once belonged to a lodge of the Orangemen, the OddFellows or the Freemasons. These are fraternal organizations which have their roots in the medieval trade guilds, and that count as its members like-minded men of all ages. The Orange Order came about after the Battle of the Boyne in Ireland, in which one of my ancestors fought in 1690. You might want to read a bit of the history of these lodges to understand more about your ancestor, and what they stood for.

There were other groups in the 1800’s that attracted members, to name a few:

  •  Independent Order of Rechabites, which was a temperance group.  
  •  The Salvation Army began its work in Canada in 1882
  •  The Knights of Columbus is a catholic fraternity founded in 1882.
  •  B'nai B'rith is the oldest Jewish service organization and it was founded in 1843.   
  • Ancient Order of Hibernians is an Irish Catholic fraternal organization founded in New York in 1836.
  • Ancient Order of Druids is an English organization founded in 1781.         

 Montreal Salvation Army Citadel Band 1901
(My great-grandfather Alexander Mavor far right front row)
Do a search on any of the Lodge names with your city, then you can do a search with what you find at for possible books of by-laws, services, and members. In the 1800’s you may also find your female ancestors belonging to a Ladies Aid Society, a Temperance group, or the National Society for Women's Suffrage.

Relevant Links:
The Orange Order (Irish) History
Lodge of Social and Military Virtues, no. 227, I.C., instituted March 4, 1752, in the 46th British Regiment, now the 2nd Battalion, Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry
Rechabites Honour Roll 1919 - Queensland, AU 

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