The Ohio Genealogical Society, one of the largest state societies in the country, recently began accepting applicants for its new lineage society, Society of Families of the Old Northwest Territory. Here’s a quick Q & A with OGS president Margaret Cheney:
Q: Why did you create a Northwest Territory lineage society?
A:“The Northwest Territory was an important part of the history of the mid-western states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and the part of Minnesota east of the Mississippi River. [This lineage society allows] more people to honor those ancestors of British, French and Native American heritage who were in the Northwest Territory before states were formed. Many of those individuals created lasting legacies that should be recognized….This will be a unique society honoring the very earliest of residents in the Northwest Territory.
Q: Why should Ohio host it?
A: Ohio was the first state formed from the Northwest Territory in 1803. It seemed fitting that the Ohio Genealogical Society form this lineage society.
Q: Is this society open to those who aren’t members of the Ohio Genealogical Society?
Q: Some people may think of lineage societies as elitist and perhaps outdated. What would you say to that?
A: All of our ancestors made a contribution to the growth of their communities whether it was at a local, state, or national level. We do our genealogical research to remember our ancestors and learn their stories in addition to knowing who our ancestors were. The lineage societies of the Ohio Genealogical Society encourage these stories to be told and preserved. To respond to the idea that lineage societies are outdated: the society roster will contain a crowd-sourced, richly-documented database of Northwest Territory residents and their descendants. That actually sounds pretty cutting-edge to me.
Q: What are the benefits of applying for a lineage society membership?
A: You are telling the story of your ancestors. You are preserving their history and contributions to the society and culture of their times. This is your lasting legacy to future generations. By having your application approved, it is saying you have done your research, you have documented your research, and you have sourced your research. There can be no question that your ancestors are yours. It is knowing that you did your research the right way. In addition, you are presented with a certificate for the lineage society you are joining along with a medal or pin. And, it is knowing that the past is secure for the future.