List of North American ethnic and religious fraternal orders

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Below is an annotated list of American ethnic and religious fraternal orders;


African American[edit]

American Indian[edit]


  • Order, Sons of St. George - Organized after the Civil War by Englishmen in the anthracite coal-mining region of Pennsylvania to counter the Molly Maguires. The organization "took permanent shape" at Scranton in 1871. Membership was open to "Englishmen, their sons and grandsons, wherever born". Beneficiary membership was limited to those between 18 and 50; those over 50 were allowed honorary membership. The Order required belief in a Supreme Being, reverence for the Holy Bible, and loyalty to one's adopted country. By 1896 the order had about 35,000 members in the United States, Canada and Hawaii. Ritual based on the legend of St. George included a "language of words, signs and grips" that the member learned upon initiation which could identify him to other members of the order. The Orders emblem was St. George conquering the dragon. The system of sick benefits varied by lodge and the inclination of members. There was also a funeral benefit for members and their wives and a benevolent fund for brethren and "any worthy Englishman in distress". Some lodges also provided physicians and medicine for sick members. There was also a female auxiliary, the Daughters of St. George, but it was not officially recognized by the Supreme Lodge.[26] In 1923 the Order was accused of promoting pro-British propaganda in textbooks used in New York by a representative of Mayor John Francis Hylan.[27]
  • Sons of England Benevolent Society - Fraternal order for Canadians of English descent.


  • Union Saint-Jean-Baptiste - Founded March 27, 1900 in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, as the Union Saint-Jean-Baptiste d'Amerique for Roman Catholic Franco-Americans. Activities include hospital volunteer work, comforting the bereaved, visiting shut-ins and work in Catholic Action. The Saint-Jean-Baptiste Educational Foundation provides scholarships; the group also helps fund the Catholic Communications Foundation whose mission was to spread understanding of the Catholic faith and doctrine in the mass media. Headquarters was Woonsocket. The motto is "In Union there is strength". Lodges called local councils, and the national convention is "National Congress". There was a ritual for initiation and the installation of officers. 62,000 members in 1968, 47,000 in January 1979.[28] Merged with Catholic Family Life in 1991.[29]
  • Association Canado-Americaine - Founded in 1896 in Manchester, New Hampshire, which remained the organization's headquarters. Lodges called Courts, regions District Courts, highest body "Supreme Court" which met quadrennially. A "High Court" administered the group in between sessions of the Supreme Court and determined district boundaries. Motto: "Religion, Patriotism, and Fraternity". The Association had rituals for initiation, installation and other rites; the rituals reflected the Catholic values of the society whose patron was St. John the Baptist. The organization offered beneficiary and social membership; the former consisted of adult and infant divisions, the infants becoming adult members when they turn 18. There was also honorary membership bestowed on those who had made unusual services to the Catholic faith, social or economic science, the arts, education, to French culture generally, or to any other ideal of the association. 1967 membership 30,424; 1979 membership 26,000. Absorbed Foresters Franco Americains in 1939.[30] The ACA went into rehabilitation in 2008 and later was liquidated. Most of its insurance policies were assumed by the Royal Arcanum.[31]


  • Alliance of Transylvania Saxons - Founded as the Siebenburger Bund on July 5, 1902. On August 31 of the same year became the Central Verband der Siebenburger Sachsen. Adopted current name in 1965. Headquarters in Cleveland, lodges called branches; there were 43 in 1978. The national convention meets annually. Membership open to those "of Transylvanian Saxon birth or descent thereof, or married to a Saxon of descendent thereof, or of German birth or descendent thereof" ages 16–60 who were also healthy enough to pass the insurance requirements and of sound mind and habits and of high moral caliber. The Transylvanian Saxon Juniors Association was founded in 1931 to provide insurance for youth. The TSJA also conducts track and field, swim meets, golf, softball, and bowling. Saturday German-study classes for youth began in 1925. No rituals, but local Branches have their own brief initiation ceremonies. Sponsored the Saxon Basketball League in 1927. Charitable activities included helping repatriate Saxon POWs in Siberia to Saxony in 1918; in 1920 it sent $33,000 to Saxon National School in Hermannstadt, a school for orphans, now has its own orphan fund. Sent $22,000 in 1970-1 to Romania for flood relief. 9,871 members in 1967, 8,629 members in 1976[32] 8,892 members in 1989. Membership had stabilized around 10,000 for decades.[33]
  • Ancient Order of Freesmiths - Claimed to be descended from the Vehmgericht of medieval Germany. First known lodge in the United States founded in Baltimore in 1865. Subsequent lodges were formed in Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia in 1866 and 1867 respectively. By the late 1890s the Order was said to have members in almost every state of the Union. State divisions were called Grad Lodges, and the national organization was controlled by a Supreme Lodge of the United States that met "one the first hour of every leap year." Lodge rooms were called Smithies, the presiding officer was titled Sun, his second in command the moon and other official had names based on the planets and other bodies in the firmament. The order worked nine degrees, six lower, called the Free Smiths, and three higher degrees - Grand Marshal, Grand Master and Cavalier - which were open to members who had been in the Order longer and were entitled to wear colored sashes and swords. The motto of the order was Truth, Fidelity and Security. The order also paid sick and death benefits.[34] Correspondence sent to Baltimore in May 1923 by Arthur Preuss went unanswered.[35]
  • Bavarian National Association of North America - Founded 1884, incorporated in New York. In 1923 the Association had c.3,500 members in 56 lodges; membership "not strictly limited to", natives of Bavaria and their descendants. "Supreme Office" at 749 Broadway, Buffalo, New York.[36] Merged with Unity Life and Accident Insurance Association in 1934.[37]
  • GUG Germania - Gegenseite Unterstutzungsgeselshaft Germania, founded in 1888 and incorporated the same year in Wisconsin, in which state they confined their operations. Their mission, in their words "for the purpose of mutual aid in cases of sickness, accident and death of its members or their families". In 1923 it had 8,000 members in 60 subordinate societies; that year it had a capital of over $500,000, with a further $100,000 in sick benefit funds held by local societies. All policy decisions determined by a "Central Society" made up of the officers, founders and representatives of the subordinate lodges. A central society meets as stated intervals to elect officers to administer the group and make needed changes. Membership open to men 18-50, of good moral character who have passed medical exams, regardless of religious or political creeds. Germania stated that it "is not a secret society. No pass-words or grips feature its work. In fact, any man is welcome to join its meetings.";[38]
  • German Order of Harugari
  • Greater Beneficial Union of Pittsburgh - Incorporated April 14, 1892 in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, as the Deutscher Unter-stuetzungs-Bund, within a month had 243 members in 6 districts. Began periodical, Union Reporter, the next year, now known as GBU Reporter. Rituals includes candidate signing an application and the president of the local lodge giving an address about the privileges of membership and how one should enter the lodge.[39] Union claimed to be non-sectarian and had no secrets; open to all "well-meaning persons"; non-members accompanied by members allowed at meeting.[40] Locals are "Districts"; national convention meets quadrennially; headquarters in Pittsburgh; in 1979 had $120,000,000 in insurance; also sponsored outings, baseball games etc.[39] While originally for German men and women, by 1979 the Union was open to men and women of all ethnic backgrounds. In 1923 the Union had 54,000 members, in 1965 50,000, in 1979 37,000.[39][41]
  • Improved Order, Knights of Pythias
  • Independent Order of Red Men
  • North American Swiss Alliance - Founded July 14, 1865, as the Grütli Bund der Vereinigten Staaten von Nord Amerika in Cincinnati. Became Nordamerikanishcher Schweizerbund in July 1911. National convention meets quadrennially, locals are called branches or lodges. Open to Swiss, Swiss descendants or spouses of Swiss.[42] Membership 2,000 in 1965, 4,000 in 1978 and 3,350 in 1994, about 10 to 15% are social, uninsured members.[43] Periodical originally called Gruetlianer changed to Der Schweizer in 1911. Headquarters in Cleveland in 1979, but it was an "organization on wheels" moving to a number of places every few years in the late 19th century[44]
  • Schwarzer Ritter, Deutscher Orden - Claimed great antiquity, though in 1899 it was said to have been present in the United States for about 30 years. Active in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia.[45]
  • Sons of Hermann
  • United League of America
  • Workmen's Benefit Fund - Founded as the Workmen's Sick and Death Benefit Fund in 1884, this organization was licensed to provide insurance in February 1899. The current name was adopted in 1939.[46] Membership opened to non-Germans in 1976. Locals called "Branches", regional groups called "Districts", national convention meets quadrennially.[47] "Supreme Office" reported to be at 9 Seventh Street, New York in 1923.[48] Reported to be in Brooklyn in the 1970s.[49] Now at 399 Conklin Street - Suite 310 Farmingdale.[50] Two Chicago-based German groups have merged into the WBF - the Mutual Benefit Aid Society and American Fraternal Insurance Society founded by Volga Germans.[49] Two Jewish groups have merged into the WBF, the Free Sons of Israel in 2001 and the Workmen’s Circle in 2004.[46] Among its activities were providing scholarships, donating to charities, operating a convalescent home, summer camp, and home for the aged. It also offers "usual line of fraternal insurance and benevolencies for its members"[49] Had 384 lodges and 53,139 benefit members in 1923,[51] 53,000 in 1965,[52] 35,000 on December 31, 1978[49] and 15,000 in 1995.[52]



  • Alianza Hispano-Americana - Founded January 14, 1894, in Tucson, Arizona. The Supreme Lodge was incorporated under the laws of Arizona in October 1902. The first Supreme President was M. G. Samaniego, whose term lasted a year. He was succeeded by Samuel Brown, who continued in office until at least August 1918. The original death benefit was a levy assessment on all members in the event of the death of a single member. In 1907 the benefit scheme was changed to a reserve fund system. A table of rates was adopted in 1910 and women were allowed in 1913. Headquarters were at the AHA Building in Tucson, under the care of a Supreme Secretary. The Alienza was run by Supreme Executive Council which included the Supreme Secretary, as well as a Medical Director, Counselor and Treasurer. The "field men" were under the control of a General Organizer based in El Paso. In 1918 it was reportedly the largest Spanish American organization in the country.[53] In 1923 it had 109 branches, 5,189 members and operated in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, California, Colorado and Nevada.[54]



  • Ancient Order of Hibernians
  • Knights of Equity
  • St. Patrick's Alliance of America - Founded in 1868 by members of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick and other groups, mostly Irish Catholic. However, the Alliance's ritual emphasized freedom of religion and denounced bigotry from any source. Other elements were borrowed from the Foresters and other like groups. The Alliance's emblem was a disc showing the tree of life and the letters S. P. A. of A. The Alliance provided sick and death benefits and benefits for the loss of a wife. Membership open to all regardless of political or religious belief as long as one was of Irish descent. There were a reported 50,000 members concentrated in "New England, Middle, Pacific Coast and some other States". The National Secretary was based in Newark, New Jersey[59]



  • Ahavas Israel - Founded in New York in 1890. Paid sick and death benefits for members and their wives. Emblem was a pair of clasped hands. Founders included Masons, Oddfellows, members of the Sons of Benjamin and the Independent Order of B'rith Abraham.[61]
  • American Star Order - Founded in New York in 1884, this was an order for Romanian American Jews and their wives. In 1899 had 5,500 members, half of which were female. Paid sickness and death benefits. Motto: "Charity, Harmony, and Brotherly Love". Emblem was a five pointed star containing three Hebrew letters with the Roman numeral XIII below and the letter G above.[61]
  • B'nai Zion - also known as the Order of the Sons of Zion, B'nai Zion was founded in 1908 as the first explicitly Zionist fraternal order. Membership open to non-Jews since at least 1979.[62] Had a benefit membership of 3,619 in 57 lodges in 1923.[63] Had 24,000 members in the late 1960s, 40,000 in 115 chapters in 1979.[64] 34,000 members in 1989.[65] Headquarters in 1923 at 44 E. 23rd Street, New York City.[66] Current headquarters at 136 East 39th Street.[67] Licensed to sell insurance in 11 states, benefits include hospitalization and medical policies and retirement plans. Zionist work through B'nai Zion Foundation: sells Israel Bonds, sponsored Kfar B'nau Zion agricultural settlement with 500 members, an artist colony near Haifa, school of applied arts and hostel for art students, also built home for mentally challenged children in Israel. Annual award dinner for someone who promoted the ideals of Zionism and Americanism - honorees have included Gerald Ford, Robert F. Kennedy, Hugh Scott, and Frank Church. Through its American Israel Friendship League it distributed books and periodicals to over 2,000 university libraries, sponsored seminars and discussion groups.[64] Absorbed B'rith Abraham in 1981.[65]
  • Free Sons of Israel - Originally Independent Order of Free Sons of Israel. The first lodge was established on January 10, 1849, in New York at the corner of Ridge and Houston Street. It was named Noah #1 after Mordecai Noah. A Constitutional Grand Lodge was convened on March 10 and 22 outlining the rules for order, regalia, and the process for creating subordinate lodges. Abraham Lodge #2 was instituted May 7, 1849, and later that year Reuben Lodge #3, which was joined by 30 former member of Struve Lodge #17 of the German Order of the Harugari. On April 15, 1865, the Order took part in the New York funeral ceremonies for Abraham Lincoln. Throughout the nineteenth century membership was restricted to Jewish men, but unofficial female auxiliaries did spring up.[68] By the late 1970s women were accepted as regular members.[69] The order had 453 members in 7 lodges in 1856, and 928 in 10 lodges in 1863, all within the state of New York. The first lodge outside of New York was Benjamin #15 in Philadelphia, July 30, 1865. In 1899 the Order had 15,000 members in 104 lodges spread across 21 states.[68] In 1923 the order had 6,645 members in 78 lodges.[70] In the late 1960s and 1979 the Order's membership was reported as 10,000, though the number of lodges fell from 46 to 42 during the same time span.[71] The Free Sons had 8,000 members in 1994.[72] In 1923 its headquarters were at 21 W. 124th Street, New York City.[73] The Grand Lodge's current home is 37th Street near 6th Avenue, sharing office space with the Workmens Circle.[74] National convention meets triennially. The Order is led by a "Grand Master", and the other "grand lodge" officers have "grand" prefix. Has secret ritual, initiation ceremony, passwords. Motto "Friendship, Love Truth". Offers members "usual life insurance" benefits; also a Free Sons credit union which gives members low interest loans. The Order sponsors a scholarship program for Jewish students who show high proficiency in Hebrew, sponsors blood banks, bond drives for United Jewish Appeal, distributes toys for handicapped kids, homes for seniors, convalescent homes and "summer camps for elderly citizens and for needy children". There is also a Free Sons Athletic Association which sponsors youth baseball, softball, basketball, bowling, ping pong, golf and track and field.[71]
  • Improved Order of B'nai B'rith - Founded in 1887 in Baltimore by two lodges of the Independent Order of B'nai B'rith who were dissatisfied with the leadership. Originally had 230 members. By 1899 it had spread to some of the larger cities in the United States east of the Mississippi and had approximately 3,000 members. Membership open to Hebrew men only. It insured the lives of its members for $1,000 dollars and that of members wives for half that amount. Sick benefits were administered by the subordinate lodges and death benefits by the Supreme Lodge. Ritual was based on the covenant between God, Noah, Abraham and Moses. Emblem was the All Seeing Eye above three pillars with the tablets of the ten commandments between them.[61]
  • Independent Order of B'rith Abraham - Founded in 1887 as a split from Order of Brith Abraham, whose leadership they felt was incompetent.[75] Some sources give the name as the Improved Order of B'rith Abraham. Admitted women and was smoothly run. Added social membership option to what was already essentially an insurance society in 1924.[76] Had a peak membership of 206,000 in 1917.[77] In 1923 it had 585 lodges and a benefit membership of 142,812.[63] Had 58,000 immediately before World War II. Changed name to simply B'rith Abraham in 1968. Merged with B'nai Zion in 1981.[76] Headquarters in 1923 at 37 Seventh Street New York City.[66] New York was still the headquarters in 1979.[77] The Order's stated objectives in 1969 were to "foster fraternity in the context of Jewish ideals, tradition and welfare", provide fraternal benefits to its members, and support programs for underprivileged children and seniors. It also promoted Zionism.[77]
  • Independent Order of American Israelites - Founded 1894 in New York City by a group of men, some or all of whom had been members of the Independent Order, Free Sons of Israel, and the Sons of Benjamin. Order paid $1,000 death benefit for male members and $500 for female members. Sick benefits were administered by the subordinate lodges. In 1899 it was limited to the United States and had 3,000 men and 2,500 women members. The orders seal was a spread eagle with shield holding an American flag and the words "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" emblazoned on it.[61]
  • Independent Order of B'nai B'rith
  • Independent Order of B'rith Sholom - Founded in 1905 to assist Jewish immigrants to the US. As Jewish immigration increased, it became more of a human rights organization.[78] Membership open to Jews and gentiles over 16. Female auxiliary named B'rith Sholom Women.[79] Had 52,596 members in 1917.[80] Had 20,000 members in 1979.[81] 6,000 members in 1988.[78] Headquarters in 1917 was at 510-512 5th Street, Philadelphia.[82] Headquarters still at Philadelphia in 1979, when the order had 130 lodges and three statewide organizations. They had a secret ritual, but it was only used by a few lodges. Offers scholarships. Did not have an insurance fund, per se, but offered death and burial benefits and financial aid when members are in need; also taught English language and Americanization. The group saved 50 children aged 5 to 14 during the Holocaust; these were housed at a Camp Sholom. Operates a retirement home in Philadelphia that housed 500.[81] Sponsors Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University and a recuperation center for Israeli soldiers in Haifa.[78] Contributed a 65-acre (26 ha) tract of land for Eagleville Sanatorium.[81]
  • Independent Order of Sons of Abraham - Founded in 1892 by a group of Jewish men who were already members of the Masons, Sons of Benjamin and the Order of B'rith Abraham. Membership in 1899 almost exclusively in New York and Brooklyn, numbered about 2,400 divided equally between men and women.[83]
  • Independent Order of Sons of Benjamin - Founded in 1877 in New York by a group of men who were already members of the Brith Abraham. By 1899 it had spread to the "principal cities of the United States and the Dominion of Canada." It authorized the creation of female lodges, of which there were about 20 in 1899. In 1899 there were about 18,000 male members and 2,500 women.[83] In 1918 it had 800 members in 25 lodges, of which 450 were located in New York City with 18 lodges. Its headquarters in 1918 were at 953 Third Avenue.[84] Offered the "usual secret society forms, and privileges". Emblem was a triangle between the letters F and P with an L under it.[83] Offered insurance against death under the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company .[85]
  • Independent Western Star Order - Founded in 1894. "Eastern Division" headquartered at 40 Rivington Street. Had 21,000 members in 1918, with 2000 members in 24 lodges in New York City. Offered accident, death and burial insurance[85] May or may not be related to an order of the same name operating out of Chicago.[86]
  • Independent Workmens Circle - Founded in 1906 in Boston. Open to workingmen and women and "those in sympathy with the cause of labor". In 1923 had 77 lodges with 5,726 benefit members. Headquarters 86 Leverett Street, Boston. "Took up the co-operative movement" at its annual convention in 1919. Moved into its new 4-story building in the West End at the corner of Leverett and Ashland Street and moved in on November 13, 1920. The building contained the group's offices, co-operative grocery, creamery, shoe and dry goods store and printing plant. The "Co-operative Wholesale Society" consisting of the "Finnish, Lithuanian, and Italian Co-operative of New England" had its offices and warehouse in this building as well.[87]
  • Jewish Progressive Order - Headquartered in Philadelphia. Supported the Palestine Restoration Fund by a "shekel tax" of 25 cents per member.[88]
  • Jewish National Workers Alliance
  • Order of Brith Abraham - Founded in New York in 1859. Originally restricted to Reform Jews. Female lodges, consisting of the female relatives of members of the order, could be formed with the sanction of the Grand Lodge and could elect one of the Past Presidents of the male lodges as their officers. In 1899 there were 11,000 regular members and 1,000 members of the female lodges. 8,000 regular members and three fifths of the 160 lodges were located in New York City.[89] In 1923 it had 198 lodges, 15,152 benefit members and 195 social members.[70] It had 8,000 members when it became defunct in 1927.[76] Headquarters in 1923 located at 266-268 Grand Street New York City.[73] The ceremony of the order was calculated to inculcate the values of harmony, wisdom and justice. The orders emblem was an "interlaced triangle" with a representation of Abraham about to sacrifice Jacob. the order offered sickness and death insurance, assuring its members would be buried in accordance with Jewish law and become good American citizens.[89]
  • Order of United Hebrew Brothers - Founded in 1915. in 1917 was reported to have 1,800 members and 12 lodges in New York City. Orders stated objectives included promoting social intercourse, discussions of subjects relating to their community and acting upon them. Provided free burials, helped members in distress and encouraging enrollment in the Postal Life Insurance Company.[90]
  • United Order True Sisters - Founded by Henrietta Bruckman, wife of a prominent New York doctor, with 12 other ladies to provide assistance to Hebrew housewives. Had 5,991 members in 21 lodges in 1918.[90] Had 12,000 members in 1995. Headquarters in New York. National structure called "Grand Lodge". Has degrees, secret ritual regalia, etc. Originally German speaking, first English lodge organized in 1892, by 1918 German language "essentially discontinued in all lodges". Although originally a benevolent society for sick and widows, by the late 1970s had become primarily a philanthropic group, particularly with cancer related causes. The United Order True Sister Inc, Cancer Service created in 1947, contributes $300,000 a year to hospitals and research centers sponsors two post doctoral fellowships at Frederick Research Cancer Center in Frederick, Maryland. In 1966 opened an outpatient clinic in NYC. The cancer service has no salaried employees; also contributes to specialized care hospitals in 13 and Israel.[91]
  • Workmen's Circle


  • Association of Lithuanian Workers - Founded in 1930.[92] In 1972 the Association had 100 locals. By 1979 this had dropped to 80. In 1965 the ALW had 4,555; this dropped to 1,000 in 8 states in 1979.[93] In 1994 it had 1,800 members.[92] Headquarters in Ozone Park, Queens. National convention meets biennially. Women's groups called "sororities", which carried out the group's charity work. Conducts "fraternal social and cultural activities" including three scholarships per year for its members.[94]
  • Lithuanian Alliance of America - The idea for forming this society first came up in the Lietuwiszka Gazieta of New York on August 16, 1879. The constituting convention was held in Plymouth, Pennsylvania, on November 22, 1886, from Polish and Lithuanian parish societies. Originally meant to be a joint Polish-Lithuanian society, but after "heated discussion" the convention decided that American Lithuanians were "badly in need of de-Polonized churches". In the early 1900s there was tension between the lay and the clergy leading to the split of the Lithuanian Socialist Federation. Communist sympathizers within the group apparently revolted in 1920, and there was a warning against Communist infiltration in 1925; "progressives" also apparent disrupted many lodges and brought litigation in the 1930s. Headquartered in New York. National convention meets biennially.[95] Had 12,492 members in 303 lodges and 425 in the Juvenile Department in 1923.[96] 22,332 members in 332 lodges throughout 24 states.[97] Had 270 lodges in 1972 and 209 lodges in 1979 with 6,563 members.[95] Had 5,000 in 1994.[92] Open to people of Lithuanian descent; sponsors Lithuanian cultural programs, gives aid to widows, and orphans, relief for victims of natural disasters, and awards scholarships.[95] On July 1, 2012, the insurance aspects of the organization passed to the Croatian Fraternal Union. A Special Convention convened on September 22, 2012, authorized the leadership to reconstitute the LAA as a not-for-profit cultural group.[97]
  • Lithuanian Catholic Alliance - Founded 1886 as the Lithuanian Roman Catholic Alliance of America, adopted current name in 1975.[92][98] Headquarters in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. National convention meets triennially. There were 163 lodges in 1972 and 147 in 1977. 1965 membership was 7,000, which declined to 4,000 in 1979. In 1994 there were 3,069 members, despite membership being opened to non-Catholics. Sponsors Lithuanian cultural activities, cookbooks, films and radio programs; also sponsors scholarships for members, supports Community Chest, blood donor clinics, Catholic youth programs, youth camps, and Catholic Social Services.[98]


  • Luso-American Life Insurance Society - Founded in 1868 as the Portuguese Protective and Benevolent Association of the City and County of San Francisco. Grand Council, most likely a state organization, founded in 1872, Supreme Council in 1921. Changed name to Benevolent Society of California in 1948. Women admitted in 1945. Merged with the Uniao Portuguesa Continental do Estado da California (f.1917) in 1957 to become United National Life Insurance Society, later adopted current name. Reincorporated in 1975. Luso-American Fraternal Federation founded in 1957 to administer fraternal aspect. Administers Luso-American Educational Foundation which grants scholarships to students interested in Portuguese history and culture.[99] Headquarters in Oakland, lodges called "Subordinate lodges" which were present in California, Nevada, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.[100] In 1978 it had 14,000 members.[101] In 1994 it was reported to have 15,000. Membership is open to Americans of Portuguese descent or birth.[99]
  • Portuguese Continental Union of the United States of America - Founded in Boston in 1925, which is still the group's headquarters. First annual convention took place in Plymouth, Massachusetts. in 1930. Lodges called "Subordinate Lodges", regional groupings are "Districts" and national authority "Supreme Lodge". The convention is called the "Congress of Delegates". Originally only open to men born in continental Portugal and their male descendents, the 1930 convention expanded the scope to include "men and women of Portuguese birth or descent, white race regardless of their origin." However, women were denied insurance benefits. In 1938 a juvenile insurance dept was created. In 1958 the membership requirements were stated as "all persons of Portuguese ancestry, whose ages are not under 16 and not over 60 years, of good moral character, mentally and physically able to earn their livelihood, born in any part of the world and residents of the United States of America or any other country where this Society maintains subordinate lodges, and any other persons who, by reasons of language, marriage, education or culture may be integrated in the Portuguese Community." Had secret ritual. Studies issues of interest to the Portuguese American community, sponsors outing, movies, dances, parties, parades, picnics. Also gives out Peter Francisco Award for service to the Portuguese community. In 1979 had c.9,000 members.[102] Had 8,688 members in 1994.[103]
  • Portuguese Society of Queen St. IsabelSociedade Portuguesa Rainha Santa Isabel — Founded in 1898 in Oakland, California, as an "altar society" at the Church of St. Joseph.[104] Became a fraternal society in May 1900, and the Supreme Council was founded on January 20, 1901. Headquarters in Oakland, lodges known as "Subordinate Councils", national body is the "Grand Council" which meets in convention annually.[105] Open to women 15 years and 5 months to 55 years and 5 months[104] that were of good health, a good Catholic or a good Christian, and of good moral character. In 1979 there were 13,386 members in 116 subordinate units, seven junior units and two intermediate groups.[106] There were 12,000 members in 1995.[104] Its motto was "Sociability and Protection" and its colors were white and blue. It sponsored scholarships for its members since the 1950s. "Various community and civic affairs." As an altar society it also rendered material assistance to those in material need.[106]
  • Society of the Holy Spirit of the State of California - Founded in Santa Clara, California, in 1895. Headquartered in Santa Clara. Lodges are called Subordinate Councils; highest is known as the "Supreme Council" which holds a convention annually. Membership open to all. 1979 membership 11,500, a slight increase since 1972. There is a ritual with provisions for questions and answers, hymns pledges and passwords. Besides insurance, it sponsors scholarships, Masses for its members and assist members who are sick or affected by natural disasters.[107][108]



  • Danish Brotherhood in America
  • Danish Sisterhood - Founded December 15, 1883, in Negaunee, Michigan, by Mrs. Christine Hemmingsen. A supreme lodge was formed in 1887, and all the officers were women by 1910. Membership was open to women of Danish descent or married to a man of Danish descent. Admission is by black ball, with one blackball enough to disqualify; there is always a second ballot; if there is another blackball a selected secret committee is appointed to determine cause. Had a secret ritual, and no uninitiated person may attend secret meetings of the lodge. Locals called "lodges"; regional groups called "Districts". National convention meets quadrennially. Supreme Lodge headquarters is in Chicago. Provides funeral benefits of up to $1,000, no more than two beneficiaries can be designated, in special circumstances other benefits can be applied for. Membership in 1922, 8,000, 1934, 7,000, and 1979, 4,500.[113][114]




  • Daughters of Scotland - Incorporated in Ohio on October 3, 1899. Membership open only to those of Scottish blood. Ritual had signs, oaths and prayers.[119] Grand Lodge dissolved in the early 1970s, though some local groups continued to meet afterwards.[120]
  • Order of Scottish Clans
  • Sons of Scotland Benevolent Association - Founded 1876 in Toronto.[121] Incorporated in Ontario in 1880, and on the federal level in 1937. Headquartered in Toronto, the association's lodges are called "Subordinate Camps", and the national structure "Grand Camp", which meets in convention triennially. Slogan "Lealty, Loyalty, Liberality". In the late 1970s it still had an initiation ceremony and "affinity for fraternal ritualism", annual passwords and regalia. In addition to insurance, it sponsors Scottish dancing and piping competitions, parades in Scottish kilts. Membership open to men and women of Scottish descent or their spouses. Five classes of membership - insured, central camp, juvenile, associate and at large. Members chosen by blackball. 1973 membership 12,887; 1979 membership 12,640 in 80 camps.[122] 9,000 members in 1995. Charitable activities include Kidney Foundation of Canada and Alzheimer's disease organizations. Lost a third of its membership over the 1980s.[121]

Western Slavs[edit]




  • First Catholic Slovak Ladies Association - Founded January 1, 1892, at St. Ladislaus Church in Cleveland as the First Catholic Slovak Ladies Union. Adopted the current name in the late 1960s. Absorbed a number of smaller fraternals over the years, including the Cleveland Slovak Union in 1945, the Slovak Catholic Cadets Union, the Catholic Slovak Benefit Organization of Cleveland, and the Catholic Slovak Brotherhood from Braddock, Pennsylvania.[154] In 1969 it absorbed the Catholic Slovak Union, which had 1,500 members.[155] Had 102,000 members in 1965, 95,000 in 1979 and 87,000 in 1994[156] Headquarters in Beachwood, Ohio. Locals called "Branches", present in 12 states and two Canadian provinces. National convention meets quadrennially. Gives aids to convents, monasteries, a theological seminary in Rome, a "priest scholarship" underwritten by the Cleveland diocese. Awards $10,000 in nursing and college scholarships annually; maintains home for the aged in Beachwood. Organizes biannual youth conferences for people 16-20 which emphasizes the fraternal benefit system. Those who have been with the group 25 years receive a pin, 50 years a cash reward.[157]
  • First Catholic Slovak Union of the United States of America and Canada - Slovak name Prva Katolicka Slovenska Jednota[156] Originally organized as the St. Joseph Society for Slovak Catholics in Cleveland, May 5, 1889. On April 9, 1890, they voted to form a union of all Slovak Catholic societies in the US. A union convention took place in Cleveland on September 4, 1890, united seven Slovak Catholic societies. Original membership requirements: faithful Catholic who lives his faith, sends children to Catholic school, supports the parish and parochial school, never ridicules the church's ceremonies and never writes anything against the Church or the clergy. 1979 membership requirements: male or female of Slovak birth or descent, or married to same; sound in body and mind, of exemplary habits, good moral character, practical Catholic of the Latin or Byzantine Rite, resident in the US or Canada, approved by a recognized Catholic priest and obeys the law of the church and his country. Those in "unlawful wedlock" were ineligible. Had 105,000 members in 1969.[158] 105,000 members in the early 1980s, 80,000 in 1993.[156] Lodges called "Branches", each attached to a "Slovak Catholic" parish. There were 600 branches in the US and Canada in 1979. Regional structures called districts. National assembly is called "Supreme Convention" which meets triennially. Board of directors administers the Union between conventions. Headquarters in Cleveland. Sponsors scholarships, summer camps, bowling, golfing, etc. Also sends relief for natural disaster relief.[159]
  • Ladies Pennsylvania Slovak Catholic Union - Founded in 1898, chartered in 1900 in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Originally known as the Women's Pennsylvania Slovak Roman and Greek Catholic Union.[160] Headquartered in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Had 16,000 members in 1965 and in 1978.[161] 14,600 in 1994[162] Licensed to sell insurance in eight states outside of Pennsylvania; supports Slovak Seminary in Rome, and the Slovak Catholic Federation.[161]
  • National Slovak Society of the United States of America - Rovnianek was expelled from theological school in Budapest for promoting Pan-Slavism. He came to the United States in the 1880s and enrolled in an American seminary, but left after a year to become a newspaper editor. His group was opposed by pro-Hungarian Slovaks, particularly clergy who had been trained in Hungarian seminaries. Some priests even refused absolution for members of the group. It encountered opposition from clergy from other denominations as well. Headquarters in Pittsburgh. Locals are called "subordinate assemblies", regional groups are district assemblies, and the national structure is the "Supreme Assembly", which meets every four years. Late 1960s membership 35,000, 1979 membership 21,000,[163] 18,000 in 1994.[164] Has a ritual. Slogan: "One for all and all for one". Membership open to Christians of Slovak or Slavic birth or ancestors and their non-Slav friends of sound health and good moral character. Sponsors scholarships, spelling bees, Christmas parties, softball, baseball and dart ball games, dinners, dances, bazaars.[165] Maintains Slovak Hall of Fame, advocated a free Slovakia during the Cold War.[164]
  • Presbyterian Beneficial Union - Founded 1901 in Pennsylvania by Slovak Calvinist Presbyterians. Affiliated with the church. Published a number of pamphlets and a hymnal in Slovak. Membership open to Protestants of good health and good moral character 16-60; juvenile department for those under 16. 1,350 members in 1979. Locals called "Subordinate Assemblies"; national "Supreme Assembly" meets quadrennially, board of directors runs things in between those. Headquarters in Philadelphia.[166]
  • Slovak Catholic Sokol - Founded in 1905 as the Roman and Greek Catholic Union; a gymnastic society much like Sokol USA, but with a stronger religious, Catholic emphasis, including financial assistance to missionaries and people preparing for the priesthood. Sponsors annual track and field event.[167] In 1921 had 19,025 members, more than 42,000 in 1936, 44,243 in 1946, 50,000 in 1979.[168] 50,000 members in 1995.[167] Headquarters in Passaic, New Jersey. Slogan: "Sound mind in a sound body in a sound society". Motto: Za boha a narod, "For God and Nation". Patron saint Martin of Tours. Had 25% million in assets in 1921; attended 26th International Eucharistic Congress; gives out 20 scholarships of $500 per year.[169]
  • Sokol U.S.A. - "Sokol" movement apparently popular among people of Czech and Slovak descent in the mid-19th century. The earliest antecedent of this particular organization was apparently a lodge founded in 1896, full name Slovak Gymnastic Union Sokol of the United States of America. Sponsors gymnastic events called Slets, insurance benefits, dances and calisthenics, scholarships and "camps and halls" in several states. 23,000 members in 1979, 12,000 in 1995. Absorbed the Slovak Evangelical Society and the Tatran Slovak Union in 1944.[104]
  • United Lutheran Society - Traces its origins to the Slovak Evangelical Union founded in 1893 in Freeland, Pennsylvania. In 1906 the Evangelical Slovak Women's Union was founded. These merged in 1962 creating the ULS. In 1979 the society had 11,000 members in 11 states and Canada. Headquarters in Ligonier, Pennsylvania.[170]
  • Zivena Beneficial Society - Founded in 1891. Headquartered in Ligonier, Pennsylvania, since at least the late 1970s, but in the early 1920s headquartered in Braddock, Pennsylvania.[171][172] Had 5,611 at the end of 1918.[173] 7,277 members in 1927, 4,357 in 1965, 2,500 in 1977. National convention met quadrennially. Licensed to sell insurance in Illinois, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Sponsored scholarships, gave aid to aged and handicapped members, donated to civic and charitable groups.[174] Merged into Croatian Fraternal Union in 1995.[175]


Southern Slavic[edit]

  • Sloga Fraternal Life Insurance Society - Founded in 1897 as the South Slavic Benevolent Union. Adopted the name Sloga Fraternal Life Insurance Society in 1968.[178] Headquarters in Milwaukee. In 1978 it was noted that "in recent years non-Slovanians also are eligible for membership" as well as non-Catholics. 1978 membership was 1,400 in 14 lodges.[178] 1995 membership 2,247.[167] In the late 1970s it was reported to sell insurance only in Wisconsin. By the late 1990s they were reported to sell insurance "principally" in Wisconsin. Awards scholarships to members, conducts blood drives, athletics include bowling and softball. Members are encouraged to contribute to community charities such as United Fund and Easter Seals.[178] Merged with Croatian Fraternal Union in 1994.[175]
  • Western Slavonic Association



  • Croatian Catholic Union of the United States of America and Canada - Founded in 1921.[179] Headquarters in Hobart, Indiana. Convention meets quadrennially. In 1978 membership was described as being open to Croats and their spouses who are Latin or Greek rite Catholics.[180] In 1997 it was described as open to all Latin or Greek rite Catholics in the United States and Canada.[179] In 1965 the union had 13,772.[179] In 1978 the Union had 119 local units in 16 states and Canada with about 13,500 in 1978. In 1988 it was reported to have 13,000.[179] The union provides assistance to Catholic church, theology students, scholarships and disaster relief.[179] In addition, the union performs "works of mercy" extended to members who are ill or hospitalized, and arranges sporting events.[181] Merged with the Croatian Fraternal Union in 2006.[175]
  • Croatian Fraternal Union


  • First Serbian Benevolent Society - The First Serbian Benevolent Society of San Francisco is the oldest Serbian organization in America. Founded in 1880, the FSBS was originally called the Serbian-Montenegrin Literary and Benevolent Society.[182][183] It was organized to promote social and intellectual interchange, and establish a system of general philanthropy and benevolence for Serbian immigrant laborers toiling far from their homeland. The eight founding members were Antonije Vukasovich, Jovan Jovovich, Jovan Pavkovich, Krsto Gopcevich, Rade Begovich and Vladimir Jovovich, all from Boka Kotorska, George S. Martinovich from Montenegro, and Mikhail Rashkovich from Vojvodina.[182] The Society, which has recently celebrated its 135th anniversary, is headquartered in Colma, CA where it maintains a Serbian Cultural Center and Museum along with a Serbian Cemetery and the Chapel of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.[184]
  • Serb National Federation - Created after the merger of several Serbian American organizations in 1929.[185] Headquarters in Pittsburgh. Membership open to people of Serb or Slav descent 16-60.[186] Those under 16 can join "Junior Order". In 1979 it had 20,000 members, and "membership groups" existed in 10 states and Canada.[187] In 1995 it had 15,200 members.[186] Sponsors social gatherings, cultural events, sports programs, finances church buildings and meeting halls.[188]

Eastern Slavs[edit]



  • Providence Association of Ukrainian Catholics in America - Founded in 1912.[197] Headquartered in Philadelphia where the annual convention always meets. Membership open to "any Ukrainian, either Ukrainian Catholic or of another Christian denomination, who is not hostile to the Ukrainian Catholic Church, is morally stable, mentally and physically sound, honest, practicing his/her Christian faith, of good character, and fully abiding by these Bylaws...[an] Ukrainian, or a person of Ukrainian descent, or of another ethnic affiliation related to a person of Ukrainian origin, in good health, not exceeding 70 years of age, is also eligible for membership."[198] In 1979 had 210 lodges in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.[199] Had the same number of lodges in 2015.[200] Had 11,000 members at the beginning of the 1930s, 8,000 in 1942, 16,994 in 1965, 18,000 in 1979,[199] 17,927 in 1994.[197] Members are admonished to send their children to parochial schools in accordance with the law of the church. One of the group's original objectives was to create low-interest loans for religious institutions, particularly parochial schools.[201]
  • Ukrainian Fraternal Association - Founded in 1910 as the Ruthenian National Union, became Ukrainian Workingmen's Association in 1918, and adopted the present name in 1978.[202] It was open to Ukrainians, Russians and others Slavs without regard to religious or political affiliations; clergy and those who insisted on debating religious questions were encouraged to join another group. In 1966 membership was open to any person of Ukrainian descent 16-65 except those who are pregnant, alcoholics or drug addicts. Had 24,134 members in 1965,[203] 20,000 members in 1995.[202] Headquarters in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where the UFA was founded. National convention held quadrennially. Locals either called lodges or "local assemblies", Schmidt uses the terms inter-changeably.[204] Later apparently called branches.[205] There was a ritualistic initiation; besides its insurance benefits, it has helped out in natural disaster and war relief; supported the Ivan Franko Scholarship Foundation.[204] Merged with Providence Association of Ukrainian Catholics in America in 2009.[205]
  • Ukrainian National Aid Association - Founded in 1914, more political than the UNA.[202] Headquartered in Pittsburgh. National convention held quadrennially. Locals called lodges, of which there were 170 in 1979. Primarily active in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois and Canada. 6,928 members in 1965, 8,000 in 1978,[206] 8,710 members in 1995.[202] Merged into the Providence Association of Ukrainian Catholics in America in 2001.[207]
  • Ukrainian National Association


  • Baptist Life Association - Founded in 1884 as the German Baptist Life Association. Adopted current name in 1934.[208] Had 1,158 members in 1911; at the time it readjusted its inadequate rate system. By 1921 this had grown to 2,639.[209] In 1965 it had 12,335 members, in 1979 about 13,000 in 49 branches in 26 states.[210] Had 12,705 members in 1994.[208] Headquarters in Buffalo, New York. National convention meets quadrennially. Motto "Honoring God while serving Mankind". Offers scholarships ranging from $800 – $2,000. A "Branch match" program where the branch is given $100 for a parish project and the parish matches it. Home Bible studies prepared by Moody Bible Institute, summer family camping and Bible conferences, art and photo contests, etc.[211]
  • Mennonite Mutual Aid Association - Founded in July 1945 as Mennonite Mutual Aid. In its first ten years it expended loans to Civilian Public Service workers following their service in World War II. In the following 15 years different insurance programs were established, including automobile insurance, hospital and burial benefits, etc. Became a fraternal benefit society in January 1966 as the Mennonite Mutual Aid Association.[212] Merged with other Mennonite financial union groups to become Everence in 2010.[213] Originally open to Mennonites 16 and up, the association's denominational scope was enlarged to include other Anabaptist denominations in 1984.[213] Today Everence, while remaining the stewardship agency of the Mennonite Church USA, offers its "products and services ... to everyone who is interested in practicing stewardship that aligns with our founding values."[214] In 1979 locals were called "Branches" and were usually affiliated with congregations of the Mennonite General Conference. Each branch must meet at least 12 times a year. The highest authority was the "Biennial Conference". There were also district conferences. February 1979 membership 4,984 in 12 states. Sponsored seminars on church leadership, family life training, estate planning, financial counseling, youth leadership, and family communications. Programs include helping local families with emergency needs, aiding local church projects;[212]


  • American Order of United Catholics - Founded in January 1896 in New York City by Catholics who wished to counter the influence of the American Protective Association. It was "expected of the founders" that they would demand candidates for office who disapproved of the APA or other organizations which sought to discriminate against Catholics. A Supreme Council was organized on March 7, 1896, and the Order was organized "upon the usual secret society lines". They issued a circular that proclaimed that the Church did not oppose secret societies, except those which were oathbound.[215]
  • Catholic Aid Association - Founded in 1878 by German Catholics in Minnesota. The order began with 464 members from 10 parishes and was called the Deutshe Roemisch Katholish Unterstuetzunds Seselschaf van Minnesota; adopted present name in 1923. Had 58,722 members in 1965, approximately 78,000 in 1979. Headquarters in St. Paul, Minnesota. Local groups are called "subordinate Councils", of which there were 240 in 1979. Annual convention called the "Grand Council". Has ritual for initiation, installation of officers and other purposes. Open to Roman Catholics 16-65 who are not a member of a secret society condemned by the Church. Sponsors matching grants program for Catholic elementary schools and religious education programs. Also a College Tuition Scholarship Program which has helped 800 CAA members receive degrees. Also sponsors banquets, family outings, dances and youth activities; now Catholic United Financial.[216]
  • Catholic Benevolent Legion
  • Catholic Daughters of the Americas
  • Catholic Family Life Insurance - Founded August 1868 by John Martin Henni, the first Archbishop of Milwaukee, as the Family Protective Association. Incorporated in March 1869. Claims to be the oldest Catholic fraternal order, the first to adopt the legal reserve system, first to insure women and children, and first to provide Masses for living and deceased members. Changed name to Catholic Family Life Insurance in 1949.[29] Had 37,000 members in 1967, 47,000 in 54 branches in 1979,[217] 45,000 in 78 branches in 2010.[29] Open to all members of the Catholic faith who were over 18. Headquarters in Milwaukee. Locals called Branches, of which there were 54 in 1979. National convention is the "Supreme Governing Body", which meets every four years. Sponsors home and foreign missions, invests and makes loans to the building of churches and Catholic schools, hospitals (apparently not loans), a "respect for life" campaign against abortion, and also includes concern for aged and handicapped. Supports a number of charities such as "Catholic Rural Life" movement for family farms, Cancer Fund, Heart Fund, Red Cross, Community Chest. Also sponsors summer camps, social dances, athletic events, family campouts, picnic and teen parties.[218] Merged with Union Saint-Jean-Baptiste in 1991. Merged with Northern Fraternal Life in 1993. Merged with Catholic Knights on April 1, 2010, into Catholic Financial Life.[29]
  • Catholic Fraternal League - Originally incorporated in Massachusetts on June 19, 1889, as the International Fraternal Alliance. Reorganized in 1893-5 when the Massachusetts legislature was considering closing fraternal benefit orders. A trustee was appointed to wind up the affairs of the order, and the endowment rank was permanently closed. However, a new benefit scheme was created and the order reformed as the Union Fraternal League, another "International Fraternal Alliance" having been found in another state.[219] Became the Catholic Fraternal League in 1916. Arthur Preuss noted that this was the only time he had found that a secular order had become a religious one.[220] In 1899 it had about 2,000 members in "Ontario and Quebec, in most of New England and Middle, Northwestern and Pacific states." Local groups called "subordinate assemblies"[18]
  • Catholic Knights of America
  • Catholic Knights and Ladies of America
  • Catholic Knights and Ladies of Illinois - Founded in 1884 in Carlyle, Illinois, as the Catholic Knights of Illinois. Always admitted men and women, ages 18–50. Had 2,000 members in 1899.[221] Had 8,500 members in 1965, 13,000 in 1978. Headquarters in Belleville, Illinois. 45 units in Illinois, the only state in which it is licensed to sell insurance. "Supreme legislative body" meets quadrennially.[222] Original purpose to "offer cheap life insurance without the danger of going into associations or orders forbidden by our Holy Mother Church."[221] Active in promoting Fraternal Week; a Mass is offered every month for the local members; contributes to Catholic Communication Foundation; "Teens Encounter Christ" retreat for high school youth.[223]
  • Catholic Knights of Ohio - Founded September 20, 1891, in Hamilton, Ohio, by 27 men who paid a $1 initiation fee. On March 20, 1892, the group had 1,018 members who had paid the $1 during a special six-month offer. Adapted the reserve fund early; in 1894 put the reserve fund into the hands of a 5-member commission. It had previously been run by local branches. Began offering juvenile insurance for those under 18. Admitted women to full membership in 1920, first female branch set up at St. Vitus's Church, Cleveland. 18,000 members in 1979. Headquarters in Lakewood, Ohio. In 1979 had 50 local branches in Ohio and Kentucky, each attached to a Catholic parish. Supreme convention is a "State Council".[224] Open only to Catholics over 16.[225] Works two degrees, one the initiatory degree, the other a ritualistic secondary degree, designed to motivate further commitment. Motto "Morality, Manliness, and Manners". Supports Catholic schools system, education of Catholic priests, fifty-year golden rosaries and Catholic Communication Foundation; scholarships for Catholic schools, etc. Local branches, aid and visit the disabled, sick and bereaved; also sponsors bowling and baseball.[224]
  • Catholic Knights of St. George - Founded by German refugees from the Kulturkampf in Pittsburgh in 1881. They had received permission to form a fraternal society from the Bishop of Pittsburgh in 1880. Original name was German Roman Catholic Knights of St. George. Ladies auxiliary founded in 1939. In 1967 had a membership of 16,000 in eight states. In 1979 had 70,000 in 13 states, Illinois being the farthest west. Headquarters in Pittsburgh. Locals called branches and are affiliated with a Catholic parish. 300 branches in 13 states in 1979. Regional groups called districts, highest authority called "Supreme Assembly", which meets biennially. Opened Knights of St. George Home for the aged and infirm in 1923. Opened Camp Rolling Hills for boys and girls in 1969. The camp was open to non-Catholics. Both establishments located in Wellsburg, West Virginia. Had an altar boy recognition program that was extended to altar girls in 1978. Scholarships for high school students who have been members of the group for two years are offered; collects medical supplies from local physicians to ship to missionaries. Has also supported American Federation of Catholic Societies, National Catholic Welfare Council and Catholic Central Verein of America. Adopted graded assessment plan in 1904, adopted an actuarially sound method in 1915.[226]
  • Catholic Workman - Founded in 1891 in St. Paul, Minnesota, by Fr. John Rynda for Czech Catholics.[225] In 1965 there were 19,000 members, 18,000 in 1979.[227] Had 15,000 members.[225] Headquarters in St. Paul, Minnesota. National convention meets quadrennially. In 1978 there were 124 locals and 12 state groups.[227] Absorbed the Western Bohemian Catholic Union in 1930 and the Daughters of Columbus in 1937. Sponsors Boy and Girl Scout troops, Red Cross, various parish functions, church retreats, visits the sick and assists the needy, sponsors masses; supports students studying theology and Catholic educational activities.[227] Merged into the First Catholic Slovak Ladies Association in 2004.[228]
  • Knights of Columbus
  • Knights of St. John - Founded in 1879. Membership open to "practical Catholic gentlemen" ages 16–55. Social membership available was also available, even to those over 55. In 1978 there were 7,144 members. The international structure is called the "Supreme Commandery", regional structures "Grand Commanderies", and local units called "Commanderies". There were 172 Commanderies in 1978 including 27 in "West Africa", 5 in Togo and 8 in Trinidad and Tobago. The order has a secret ritual but dropped password in April 1977 because it was time-consuming and had "no appreciable organizational value". The group appears in uniforms for Catholic ceremonies such as first communions and Masses, confirmations. The order has sports program that sponsors golf and bowling. There is also a death benefit.[229]
  • Knights of Saint John, Supreme Ladies Auxiliary - Female auxiliary of above; open to "practical Catholic ladies" ages 16–55. Social membership available was also available, even to those over 55. Those under 8-16 can join junior auxiliary. In April 1978 there were 14,251 members. The highest authority is the "Supreme Convention" which meets biennially. State structures are "Grand Auxiliaries", which meet annually, and locals "Subordinate Auxiliaries". There were 161 of these in the US in 1978, as well as 28 in foreign countries. Headquarters were in Rochester, New York. The group has secret ritual, uniformed drill team and death benefits. Supports mission work, Red Cross, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, Muscular Dystrophy Association, National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis.[230]
  • Loyal Christian Benefit Association - Founded on April 6, 1890, as Ladies' Catholic Benevolent Association, originally for Catholic women. In 1927 any offspring from birth to 16 were eligible for fraternal insurance. In 1960 admitted Catholic husbands, brothers and nephews. By 1979 open to Christians of good moral character and in good health. In 1967 had 85,000 members, had 51,369 in December 1978,[231] 46,000 members in 1994.[232] Headquarters in Titusville, Pennsylvania. Locals are Branches, national structure is called the "National Council". Some ritual involved in the initiation, and "Marshalls also are utilized on the national and local organizational levels." Has given millions to Catholic churches, hospitals, orphan asylums, schools, colleges, foreign missions, religious orders, and the aged. Began national project of providing for the deaf in 1945. In 1978 "studied legislation affecting the family's well being". Gave funds to the Catholic Communications Foundation, and monitored TV for family programming. Had an orphans program for children of deceased members. On the local level it visits the sick, comforts the bereaved, aids seniors and assists the blind and exceptional children.[233]
  • Western Catholic Union - Founded October 16, 1877. Juveniles admitted in 1881 and women in 1912. Enrolled 1,000 in 1978, its best recruiting year ever.[234] Had 27,730 members in 1995.[235] Headquarters in Quincy, Illinois. Headquarters building constructed in 1925, the largest in Quincy through the 1970s. Locals called branches, there are also divisions, and the national level is called the Supreme Council. In 1976 purchased a Catholic high school and a Presbyterian church, other buildings were built contiguous to these properties. The entire city block was supposedly taken up with the structure. Originally just provided aid to widows and orphans of its members on the assessment plan, now on an actuarially sound system. Distributes food to needy families at Christmas, sponsors "Keep Christ in Christmas" campaign. Gives aid to "Catholic Communications" which produces TV and radio programs explaining the Catholic faith to Catholics and non-Catholics alike; annual pilgrimages to shrines; prayer card distributions; conducts picnics, bus trips, socials etc.[236]




  1. ^ Sacred Heart Review New Series. Vol. 54 #14 p.221[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ Fortnightly Review Vol. XXII #21 November 1, 1913 p.660
  3. ^ Preuss, Arthur, A Dictionary of Secret and other Societies. St. Louis: B. Herder Book Co. 1924 p.93
  4. ^ Albert C. Stevens, The Cyclopaedia of Fraternities: A Compilation of Existing Authentic Information and the Results of Original Investigation as to the Origin, Derivation, Founders, Development, Aims, Emblems, Character, and Personnel of More Than Six Hundred Secret Societies in the United States, New York: Treat, 1899, OCLC 3796387, p. 131
  5. ^ Preuss p.93
  6. ^ Stevens p.131
  7. ^ What to See and how to See it: Hand Book and Guide, Containing Valuable Information about Portland and Vicinity: Together with an Account of the Lewis and Clark Expedition Multnomah Print. Company, under auspices of Portland Chamber of Commerce, 1905 p.115
  8. ^ Theda Skocpol et al. What a Mighty Power We Can be: African American Fraternal Groups and the Struggle for Racial Equality Princeton University Press, 2006 p.336 no.76
  9. ^ Stevens p.235
  10. ^ Preuss p.93 cites cyclopedia 2nd ed. p.235; La France antimaçonique Vol. XXVII #28 p.329 July 10, 1913
  11. ^ Alan Axelrod, International Encyclopedia of Secret Societies and Fraternal Orders. New York; Facts on File, inc 1997 p.100
  12. ^ Axelrod p.17
  13. ^ Schmidt, Alvin J. Fraternal Organizations. Westport, CT; Greenwood Press 1980 p.333
  14. ^ Stevens pp.402-3
  15. ^ Stevens p.141
  16. ^ Fraternal Monitor Vol. XXXII #8 March 1922 p.18
  17. ^ Preuss p.192
  18. ^ a b Stevens p.192
  19. ^ Stevens pp.288-9
  20. ^ Preuss p.465 does not give any sources
  21. ^ Crum, Steven. "Almost Invisible: The Brotherhood of North American Indians (1911) and the League of North American Indians (1935)". Wicazo Sa Review, Vol. 21, No. 1 (Spring, 2006), p.44
  22. ^ Crum p.48
  23. ^ Todd Leahy and Raymond Wilson, Historical Dictionary of Native American Movements. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow p.46
  24. ^ Leahy and Wilson p.100
  25. ^ Leahy and Wilson p.161
  26. ^ Stevens, Albert Clark, 1854-, The Cyclopædia of Fraternities: A Compilation of Existing Authentic Information and the Results of Original Investigation as to More than Six Hundred Secret Societies in the United States. (New York: Hamilton Printing and Publishing Company), 1899, p.279
  27. ^ Preuss pp.380-1
  28. ^ Schmidt pp.338-9 cites the group's constitution, newspaper L'Union, and a mimeographed history "A Beautiful Dream Comes True".
  29. ^ a b c d History
  30. ^ Schmidt pp.46-7 cites the group's constitution, by-laws and French language newspaper Le Canado-Americain, and a mimeographed history "A Beautiful Dream Comes True".
  31. ^ "1 Liquidation of ACA Assurance Updated Information for ACA Assurance Policyholders/Members/Creditors /Retirees October 25, 2012" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-01-10. Retrieved 2014-12-23.
  32. ^ Schmidt pp.29-31 cites Saxon Year Book 1902-1977 - published in 1977 for the 75th anniversary, as well as Saxon News Volksblatt the group's periodical.
  33. ^ a b Axelrod p.7
  34. ^ Stevens pp.6-8
  35. ^ Preuss p.43
  36. ^ Preuss p.57 cites letter from Grand Secretary Charles H. North dated May 28, 1923; Statistics, Fraternal Societies 1923 pp.19 sq.; Constitution and bye-laws, We must secure 5,000 new members (publications of the BNANA)
  37. ^ Axelrod p.30
  38. ^ Preuss pp.167-8 cites Statistics, Fraternal Societies 1923 pp.71 sq.; Why You should carry a policy with the GUG Germania
  39. ^ a b c Schmidt pp.149-50
  40. ^ Preuss p.150 cites propaganda literature distributed by the GBU, Fraternal Monitor Vol. XXXIII #10 May 1923 p. 9; Statistics, Fraternal Societies 1923 p.66.
  41. ^ Preuss p.150
  42. ^ Schmidt p.240 cites group's periodical The Swiss American and 1965 jubilee book.
  43. ^ Axelrod p.184
  44. ^ Schmidt p.240
  45. ^ Stevens p.175
  47. ^ Schmidt pp.358-9 cites group's constitution and periodical, Solidarity.
  48. ^ Preuss p.490 cites Statistics, Fraternal Societies 1923 pp.189 sq.
  49. ^ a b c d Schmidt pp.358-9
  50. ^ Workmen's Benefit Fund homepage
  51. ^ Preuss p.490
  52. ^ a b Axelrod p.265
  53. ^ Fraternal Monitor August 1918 Vol. XXIX #1
  54. ^ Preuss p.8-9 cites Statistics, Fraternal Societies 1923 p. 8; Fraternal Monitor August 1918 Vol. XXIX #1.
  55. ^ Schmidt pp.34-5
  56. ^ a b Axelrod p.263
  57. ^ Preuss p.472 cites Fraternal Monitor Vol. XXXIII #8 p.12 March 1923.
  58. ^ Schmidt p.348
  59. ^ Stevens p.217
  60. ^ Schiavo, Giovanni. The Italians in Chicago: A Study in Americanization, Chicago, Ill., Italian American Publishing Co., 1928 p.59
  61. ^ a b c d Stevens p.206
  62. ^ Schmidt pp.54-5 cites February 1977 issue of group's periodical B'nai Zion voice.
  63. ^ a b Preuss pp.169-70 cites Statistics, Fraternal Societies 1923 ed.
  64. ^ a b Schmidt pp.54-5
  65. ^ a b Axelrod p.35
  66. ^ a b Preuss pp.169-70
  67. ^ "Bnai Zion National Officers 2014". Archived from the original on 2014-12-16. Retrieved 2015-01-07.
  68. ^ a b Stevens pp.208-9
  69. ^ Schmidt pp.140-1 cites group's periodical The Reporter.
  70. ^ a b Preuss p.169 cites Statistics, Fraternal Societies 1923 ed.
  71. ^ a b Schmidt pp.140-1
  72. ^ Axelrod p.98
  73. ^ a b Preuss p.169
  74. ^ Free Son of Israel Reporter On Line WINTER EDITION 2014 Vol. 13, No. 1 Grand Master's Message
  75. ^ Schmidt pp.55-6 cites Beacon, group's periodical.
  76. ^ a b c Axelrod p.36
  77. ^ a b c Schmidt pp.55-6
  78. ^ a b c Axelrod pp.36-7
  79. ^ Schmidt pp.56-7 cites periodical Brith Sholom News and an irregularly published Community Relations Digest.
  80. ^ Preuss p.170 cites Jewish Communal Register of New York City 1917-1918 ed.
  81. ^ a b c Schmidt pp.56-7
  82. ^ Preuss p.170
  83. ^ a b c Stevens p.210
  84. ^ Jewish Community of New York City; Margoshes, Samuel, 1887-1968 Jewish Communal Register of New York City 1917-1918 ed. p.956 New York: Kehillah of New York City
  85. ^ a b Jewish Communal Register of New York City 1917-1918 ed. p.956
  86. ^ Preuss p.194
  87. ^ Preuss pp.194-5 cites Statistics, Fraternal Societies 1923 ed. pp.81 sq; Fraternal Monitor Vol. XXXI #9 April 1921 pp. 26 sq.
  88. ^ Preuss p.206 cites Fraternal Monitor August 1918 Vol. XXIX #1 p. 14
  89. ^ a b Stevens pp.209-10
  90. ^ a b Jewish Communal Register of New York City 1917-1918 ed. p.984
  91. ^ Schmidt pp.333-4 Schmidt cites proceedings, order's periodical, and pamphlets.
  92. ^ a b c d Axelrod p.163
  93. ^ Schmidt p.205 cites the groups proceedings, periodical and constitution.
  94. ^ Schmidt p.205
  95. ^ a b c Schmidt pp.204-5
  96. ^ Preuss p.252
  97. ^ a b History
  98. ^ a b Schmidt pp.204-5 cites group's periodical and constitution.
  99. ^ a b Axelrod p.165
  100. ^ Schmidt pp.344-5 cites 1968 centennial pamphlet, and group's periodical The Luso-American
  101. ^ a b c Schmidt pp.344-5
  102. ^ Schmidt pp.272-23 cites golden anniversary book published in 1975.
  103. ^ Axelrod p.201
  104. ^ a b c d Axelrod p.229
  105. ^ Schmidt pp.316-7 cites 1977 constitution and laws, a mimeographed history the national office sent him, and the group's periodical.
  106. ^ a b Schmidt pp.316-7
  107. ^ Schmidt pp.318-9 cites constitution and laws as well as the ritual.
  108. ^ Axelrod pp.228-9
  109. ^ "Scandinavian American Fraternity" in Christian Cynosure Vol. LIV #1 May 1921 pp.6-8
  110. ^ Preuss p.423
  111. ^ Sandy VanDoren Register of the Records of the SCANDINAVIAN FRATERNITY OF AMERICA 1909-1992
  112. ^ Axelrod p.221
  113. ^ Schmidt pp.81-2 cites Constitution and bylaws, which contained a short history, as well as Danish sisterhood news, the group's periodical.
  114. ^ Official website
  115. ^ Schmidt p.329
  116. ^ a b About Us: Milestones in the History of the Independent Order of Svithiod (1880-2000)
  117. ^ Preuss p.193 cites Statistics, Fraternal Societies 1923 pp.79 sq; Fraternal Monitor Vol. XXX #1 p.15 Aug 1919
  118. ^ Axelrod p.233
  119. ^ Schmidt p.88
  120. ^ Daughters of Scotland, Blue Bell Lodge #1 records, 1952-1980.
  121. ^ a b Axelrod p.231
  122. ^ Schmidt p.327 cites a 45 rpm record, the group's constitution, brochures, pamphlets and quarterly The Scotian.
  123. ^ Schmidt pp.28-9 cites constitution and bylaws, periodical The Alliance.
  124. ^ a b Axelrod p.85
  125. ^ Schmidt pp.111-2 cites A brief history of the Federation Life Insurance of American 1913-1976 and group's periodical The Voice.
  126. ^ Schmidt pp.111-2
  127. ^ Schmidt pp.265-6 cites constitution, by-laws, Pal-Am Journal, the group's periodical, and the 50th and 75th jubilee histories.
  128. ^ Schmidt p.268 cites Statistics, Fraternal Societies and Polish-American Journal, the group's periodical.
  129. ^ a b Axelrod p.198
  130. ^ a b Schmidt p.268
  131. ^ a b c d e Axelrod p.199
  132. ^ Schmidt pp.270-1 cites pamphlet Sponjnia: Past and Present, periodical Straz/The guard.
  133. ^ Preuss pp.
  134. ^ a b Schmidt pp.270-1
  135. ^ Working together to touch lives
  136. ^ Schmidt p.271 cites brochures, pamphlet and the group's periodical, PUA Parade.
  137. ^ Schmidt p.271
  138. ^ Schmidt pp.337-8 cites convention manuals, pamphlets and brochures, particularly the 14th Quardrennial Convention proceedings of 1977, which had a brief history of the group.
  139. ^ Our History
  140. ^ Schmidt p.70 cites 1977 Statistics, Fraternal Benefit Societies
  141. ^ a b About K.J.Z.T.
  142. ^ Schmidt p.70
  143. ^ "Our History". Archived from the original on 2015-02-05. Retrieved 2015-01-04.
  144. ^ a b c d e f Axelrod p.59
  145. ^ Constitution and Bylaws of the CSA Fraternal Life as adopted at the XXXIX Quadrennial Convention August 10, 2010, Lisle, Illinois[permanent dead link]
  146. ^ Schmidt pp.78-9 cites A story of growth, constitution, CSA Journal.
  147. ^ "A Proud History". Archived from the original on 2015-01-05. Retrieved 2015-01-05.
  148. ^ Schmidt p.77 cites group's periodical.
  149. ^ Schmidt pp.312-3 cites constitution and by-laws, the group's paper, Vestnik and pamphlets and brochures obtained from the group.
  150. ^ "SPJST is . . . Fraternal". Archived from the original on 2008-08-19. Retrieved 2015-01-05.
  151. ^ a b c Schmidt pp.312-3
  152. ^ "Administration". Archived from the original on 2015-01-15. Retrieved 2015-01-05.
  153. ^ a b Axelrod p.227
  154. ^ History of FCSLA: 1892 to Present
  155. ^ Schmidt p.113 cites constitution and group's periodical, Fraternally Yours.
  156. ^ a b c Axelrod p.87
  157. ^ Schmidt p.113
  158. ^ Schmidt pp.113-5 cites 1977 by-laws, Jednota Annual, and group's periodical.
  159. ^ Schmidt pp.113-5
  160. ^ A Brief History of Our Society
  161. ^ a b Schmidt p.202
  162. ^ Axelrod p.161
  163. ^ Schmidt pp.232-3 cites brochures from the group as well as their periodical The National News/Narodne Noviny.
  164. ^ a b Axelrod p.180
  165. ^ Schmidt pp.232-3
  166. ^ Schmidt p.275 cites the constitution, brochures and pamphlets of the group, as well as their periodical, Calvin.
  167. ^ a b c Axelrod p.228
  168. ^ Schmidt pp.313-4 cites mimeographed history, periodicals Katolicky Sokol, Children's Friend.
  169. ^ Schmidt pp.313-4
  170. ^ Schmidt p.343
  171. ^ Schmidt p.363 cites 1977 Statistics, Fraternal Societies.
  172. ^ Preuss p.501 Fraternal Monitor February 1, 1919 Vol.XXIX #7 p.10-1
  173. ^ Preuss p.501
  174. ^ Schmidt p.363
  175. ^ a b c "About CFU History". Archived from the original on 2015-01-05. Retrieved 2015-01-03.
  176. ^ a b Axelrod p.249
  177. ^ Schmidt pp.344-5 cites constitution, by-laws, the group's periodical Prosvita Album, and The United Societies of the U.S.A.; A Historical Album.
  178. ^ a b c Schmidt p.313
  179. ^ a b c d e Axelrod p.57
  180. ^ Schmidt pp.75-6 cites group's periodical.
  181. ^ Schmidt pp.75-6
  182. ^ a b "First Serbian Benevolent Society". First Serbian Benevolent Society. First Serbian Benevolent Society. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  183. ^ Vucinich, Nicholas (1980). History of the Oldest Serbian Society in America. Santa Clara, CA: First Serbian Benevolent Society. p. 12. ASIN B000GBQI54.
  184. ^ "Map of the Cultural Center, Cemetery and Chapel".
  185. ^ History of the Serb National Federation Archived 2015-03-05 at the Wayback Machine
  186. ^ a b Axelrod p.234
  187. ^ Schmidt p.307 cites pamphlet and brochures issued by the society, as well as its periodical.
  188. ^ Schmidt p.307
  189. ^ a b c d Axelrod p.217
  190. ^ Schmidt pp.300-1 cites brochures and pamphlets as well as group's periodical The Truth.
  191. ^ Schmidt pp.300-1
  192. ^ Schmidt p.301
  193. ^ Schmidt p.301 cites groups periodical Svit, Light.
  194. ^ Schmidt pp.302 cites constitution, publicity brochures and the society's newsletter.
  195. ^ Axelrod p.218
  196. ^ Schmidt pp.302
  197. ^ a b Axelrod p.202
  198. ^ Bylaws of the Providence Association of Ukrainian Catholics in America, as approved by the General Assembly April 11 and 12, 2008 Archived 2015-06-10 at the Wayback Machine, p.2
  199. ^ a b Schmidt p.283 cites Jubilee book: 1912-1972 pp.93-110 and group's newspaper, America.
  200. ^ Official website Archived 2013-12-30 at the Wayback Machine
  201. ^ Schmidt p.283
  202. ^ a b c d Axelrod p.245
  203. ^ Schmidt pp.336-7 cites Life Insurance in the Ukrainian Workingmen's Association: its need and significance, constitution and bylaws, group's quarterly Forum and weekly Narodna Volya.
  204. ^ a b Schmidt pp.336-7
  205. ^ a b The Providence Association announces a merger with The Ukrainian Fraternal Association. Archived 2015-04-02 at the Wayback Machine
  206. ^ Schmidt pp.334-5 cites brochures and constitution, periodical Ukrainian National Word.
  207. ^ Ukrainian National Aid Association of America
  208. ^ a b Axelrod p.29
  209. ^ Preuss pp.149-50 cites Fraternal Monitor Vol. XXXI #10 p.20 May 1921; Vol. XXXIII #12 p.16 July 1923.
  210. ^ Schmidt pp.48-9 cites groups periodical Baptist Life Association News
  211. ^ Schmidt pp.48-9
  212. ^ a b Schmidt pp.216-7
  213. ^ a b Our timeline MMA and Mennonite Financial to Everence
  214. ^ Who we serve
  215. ^ Stevens pp.292-3
  216. ^ Schmidt pp.62-3 cites brochures and pamphlets, constitution, and the group's periodical, Catholic Aid News.
  217. ^ Schmidt pp.64-5 cites The Family Friend, the group's periodical.
  218. ^ Schmidt pp.64-5
  219. ^ Stevens pp.191-2
  220. ^ Preuss p.462 cites encyclopedia, Catholic Fraternal League Official Bulletin June 1, 1923, letter from Supreme President John Merril dated August 6, 1923, and propaganda leaflet.
  221. ^ a b Stevens pp.214-5
  222. ^ Schmidt p.XX cites Statistics, Fraternal Benefits.
  223. ^ Schmidt p.XX
  224. ^ a b Schmidt pp.67-8
  225. ^ a b c Axelrod p.47
  226. ^ Schmidt pp.68-70 cites brochures, group's periodical Knight of St. George.
  227. ^ a b c Schmidt p.71
  228. ^ CATHOLIC WORKMAN: An Inventory of Its Records at the Minnesota Historical Society
  229. ^ Schmidt p.187 cites groups quarterly Knight of St. John
  230. ^ Schmidt p.188 cites brochures and data from head office.
  231. ^ Schmidt pp.206-7 cites constitution, bylaws, and the group's periodical, Fraternal Leader.
  232. ^ Axelrod p.164
  233. ^ Schmidt pp.206-7
  234. ^ Schmidt pp.347-8 adds that it was founded on October 16, 1977.
  235. ^ Axelrod p.262
  236. ^ Schmidt pp.347-8
  237. ^ Schmidt p.74

See also[edit]