Youth Lineage Organizations

children-american-revolution-ceremonyChildren of the American Revolution ceremony, Copiah County, Mississippi. Dated before 1945.

You’re probably familiar with several popular lineage and heritage organizations. These organizations encourage connection with family history, foster community, and provide invaluable networking opportunities for their members. But did you know that many of these groups also have branches dedicated to children and young adults?

Take for example the Sons of the American Revolution, founded in 1889, and the Daughters of the American Revolution, founded in 1890. Regular members of these two organizations must be at least eighteen years old to join and vote.1 The National Society of the Children of the American Revolution, however, allows membership for boys and girls under the age of twenty-two.2

“The National Society of the Children of the American Revolution, founded in 1895, is the oldest patriotic youth organization in our country. Membership is open to descendants of patriots of the American Revolution. Members gain valuable leadership experience in conducting meetings, following parliamentary procedures and standard protocol, serving as delegates and speaking before groups at local, state and national conferences. The responsibility and privilege of selecting officers helps members gain an understanding of the democratic process.”3

For organizations like these, prospective members must use genealogical methods to prove their lineage to an ancestor who participated in a specific set of events around which these groups are associated. Children who apply to these groups can use the application process as an opportunity to learn about the basics of genealogical research.


A newspaper article about a local C.A.R. meeting in McAllen, Texas on 3 October 1939 4

Not all organizations require proof of lineal descent—some focus on passing down cultural heritage and pride in a community’s country of origin. Consider, for instance, the Maids of Athena. Founded in 1930 and primarily based in the United States and Canada, the Maids of Athena (originally called the “Maids of Athens”) is the junior auxiliary group to the Daughters of Penelope, and a member organization of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA). Membership is open to young women of Greek descent as well as philhellenes—that is, lovers of Greek culture—of any background, though there is an application process. Among other requirements, members must be between the ages of fourteen and twenty-eight. Key objectives of the Maids of Athena include patriotism to one’s country of citizenship, appreciation of Hellenic culture, the building of character, respect of parents and elders, and cooperation with the Daughters of Penelope.5


A newspaper article from 26 March 1947 announcing the new officers and members of the Maids of Athens chapter in Nashua, New Hampshire6

Membership in youth organizations can expose children to many unique opportunities, including local, regional, and national events and initiatives. Groups like these very often include access to scholarships and educational programs as core benefits of membership.

You may find it useful to turn to youth organization records in your family history research. Searching for newspaper articles about youth organizations like those included in this article could lead to the discovery of unique genealogical gems and stories about your ancestors or local chapter members. Archives of publications from these organizations can also be great sources of historical information.

If you already belong to a lineage or heritage organization, encouraging membership in the younger generations of your family can create opportunities to spend time together. Tell your family your favorite stories of your experiences with the organization: perhaps the formal dance where you met your spouse, the skills you learned in your role as an officer in the organization, or the ways membership has provided you with a network for career opportunities. Consider inviting your child or grandchild to a meeting or event hosted by your organization. Sharing the memories you have made with the group may inspire your family to learn more about it, join themselves, or start their own chapter. Encouraging membership in organizations that call to mind our ancestors and cultural inheritance can be a key method of passing down family history from one generation to the next.

Were you ever a member of a youth organization? Have you encouraged your children and grandchildren to join a youth organization affiliated with one you participate in yourself? What successes or struggles have you faced in encouraging membership within your family? Please let us know in the comments!


Further Learning

Blog Post: Choosing a Lineage Society
“So you’ve decided to join a lineage society. Maybe you’ve found an ancestor who meets the qualification for a society you’ve known about for years. Or possibly you’ve just found out about a society that sounds really interesting and you want to join. Either way, deciding to join a lineage society is just the first in a series of decisions about your membership.”

Free Video | Family History Roundtable: Getting Family Involved in Your Research
Getting our relatives interested in family history research can be almost as much of a challenge as the research itself! In this engaging panel discussion, our genealogists discuss their tips for getting family involved in your research—including strategies for sharing research findings, interviewing family members, asking relatives to take DNA tests, and more.

Portable Genealogist: Applying to Lineage Societies
This Portable Genealogist guide provides information on a number of lineage societies, information on the typical application process, and tips for finding missing links in your family history.



1 “Frequently Asked Questions,” Sons of the American Revolution Foundation, accessed October 27, 2023,; “How to Join,” Daughters of the American Revolution, accessed October 27, 2023,

2 “Membership,” National Society of Children of the American Revolution, accessed November 3, 2023,

3 “Home,” National Society of Children of the American Revolution, accessed October 27, 2023,

4 “C.A.R.’s Hold Meet In McAllen Home,” Valley Morning Star (Harlingen, Texas), 7 October 1939, p. 7, at

5 Maids of Athena, “Constitution,” July 2023,

6 “New Officers of Maids of Athens Are Installed,” Nashua Telegraph (Nashua, New Hampshire), 26 March 1947, p. 11, at