Can you count a pilgrim, war hero or monarch among your kin? You might qualify to join a lineage society.
If you caught the genealogy bug because you thought you descended from a Revolutionary War patriot or a Mayflower passenger, you're not alone. Thousands of Americans attempt to trace their lineage back to war veterans and founding fathers. But if you can prove direct descent from the right ancestor, a lineage society might want you as a member.
For many researchers, belonging to a lineage society is an honor in itself. Membership has plenty more privileges, though: For example, it connects you with family historians who have similar research interests, and lets you access the organization's library and other resources. To qualify for most lineage societies, you'll need to trace your direct line back to an ancestor who meets a specific criterion for membership. Depending on the society, that measure might be serving in the Revolutionary War, signing the Declaration of Independence, fighting for the Confederacy, serving with Washington at Valley Forge or running a hostelry before July 4,1776.