It doesn’t matter whether you’re joining the Dames or the Mayflower Society, lineage society application mistakes happen. But when they do, they can derail the process and leave you frustrated and struggling to finish your paperwork. Know the common errors going and learn how to avoid them.
- Know from the beginning this is NOT a free process. At the bare minimum – which almost never happens – you will be paying the application fee, which can run from $20 to several hundred. More often, you will be spending several hundred on certificates and possibly more on research help. There are ways to save money and to be cost effective. (We’ll discuss more in a future post.) Go in expecting to spend some money. It will reduce the frustration of all involved.
- Know that you will need to provide documents. Sorry, but the family tree you found on Ancestry isn’t good enough, no matter how many ways it says you’re related to a Revolutionary War patriot. Those trees are hints. They are not what the lineage societies call “proof,” or documentation that supports the assertions you’re making about your lineage with evidence.
- Don’t assume just because someone else in the family was a member, you automatically are. Societies have tightened their standards for required documentation over the last few decades, and many older applications do not meet those standards. You may get lucky, but far more often, you’ll need to provide documentation to fill in the gaps. Plan to do the application over. Finding out you don’t need to will be a nice surprise. (We’ll talk about how to use what’s already on file in a future post.)
- Make a plan. The process can feel overwhelming, and it’s easy to get confused about what you need to order, locate, or send to the society. Make a plan. And know when and where to ask for help. (We’ll discuss more in a future post.)