Masonic Records in the Archives
One of the most interesting records collections and one that I get more requests in the Houston County, Tennessee Archives are Masonic Records. The Masonic Lodge has been a staple of a lot of local communities and a lot of genealogists seek out these types of records when they find out their ancestor was a member.
|New Providence Lodge, No. 128 F.& A.M. Request for Widow's Aid, located at the Houston County, Tennessee Archives|
These types of records are normally donated by individuals and the collections can contain just about anything from documents, letters, photographs, meeting minutes, newspaper clippings and lodge publications. They are a great resource for the genealogist trying to find information about their ancestors that were part of these groups. They can shed light on activities that your ancestor was involved with in their community.
|Powder Spring Lodge, No. 579 F. & A.M. Building Fund Help Letter, located at the Houston County, Tennessee Archives|
These records could be held locally at a county archives, historical/genealogical society and libraries. Most of the time they are archived by the name of the lodge, for example New Port Lodge #208 Records Collection. They can also be held at the state level at a state archives or a state historical/genealogical societies. The Masonic organization themselves have websites and archives of their very own that could hold records for your ancestor.
|Mineral Springs Lodge, No. 533, F. & A.M., Mortgage Aid Help Letter, located at the Houston County, Tennessee Archives|
Most of these records will be located in the Manuscript Collections of an archive. When you find a specific collection of interest to you, be sure and ask to see the Finding Aid. The Finding Aid will give you great information about what is in the collection at the folder level. Not every piece of paper will be cataloged but you should be able to get an idea of what is in the collection and then you can request to see the folders that are of interest to you.
|New Portland Lodge No. 208, 100th Anniversary Pamphlet ca. 1951, located at the Houston County, Tennessee Archives|
If you have never searched for your ancestors Masonic Records, now might be a good time to seek them out!
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