Where can I find Masonic records?
Many people are interested in finding their ancestors' Masonic records. The types of information contained in Masonic records may be useful, especially for time periods where records are scarce, although the amount of information may vary, depending on the Lodge and its record-keeping practices. Unfortunately, there is no central repository for Masonic membership information, and no "one" place to check online. Local Lodges functioned independently; thus, writing to the local Lodge (or the Grand Lodge of that jurisdiction) may be the best way to find personal information on a particular individual. The website Masonic Lodge Locations provides addresses of Lodges worldwide. Keep in mind that genealogy is not the primary focus of Lodge secretaries, so be kind . . . and most of all, be patient. Records may be difficult to access, and certain records may not have survived the ages, so it may take some time to receive a response.
It may also be possible to find your ancestor's name and other useful information online. The Genealogy Today Subscription Database (formerly, Family Tree Connection) includes a variety of Masonic rosters, lists, and other miscellaneous information -- such records may include individual or group photos, complete documents, and scanned pages. Also, the Live Roots search engine is a great place to do a broad, online search -- just enter the search term "masonic," as opposed to "masons," to avoid results with the surname Mason. Results include not only the resources of the Genealogy Today website, but those of major genealogy websites and more obscure websites such as Masonic cemeteries.
Researching Your Ancestor in Masonic Records ($)
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