Grandpa’s Dabblings In Freemasonry & A Quick Tip For Cheapskate Genealogists

As much as I dislike cutting off my genealogy addiction, I cut all ties to my websites during the holidays. Sorry Ancestry, Geneanet, and Findmypast; I just don’t have time for all of your glorious info. The practice pads my wallet for the expenses of the season. It doesn’t make sense to pay for a service during a month that I know I won’t use it. (I have 36 Christmas parties and a trip to Tijuana this month! There’s no way I’m getting to research Great-Uncle Pablo.) I’ve also learned that it’s good for me to back out of researching for a while; it often results in my spotting something I hadn’t seen before. But the lack of subscriptions does create a hole in my routine, so I try to focus on chatting with relatives when I see them.

After Thanksgiving dinner this year, my mom brought out her mother’s jewelry box. Inside was a small plastic bag containing my grandfather’s Freemason pin. My brothers and I had no idea he was involved in the Freemasons. Probably like most people, I don’t know exactly what being a Freemason entails, and I haven’t the foggiest what a member in the 1920s like my grandfather would have done as a member. But the revelation made me want to find out! Unfortunately, like I said, I’ve tied myself off of that information, at least until the New Year.

My grandfather’s involvement didn’t last long; my grandmother didn’t cotton to the idea. She thought being a part of an organization that didn’t have Jesus as a central tenet was sacrilegious. So Grandpa stepped down, but kept the pin. I wish I could ask him about it. What he liked about meetings? What different people he met? Would he have even been able to talk about it with me or is it like Fight Club?

For any of you cheap skate genealogists: When you sign-up for a website, put a monthly reminder in the calendar app in your cell phone. Have it remind you about 5 days before your subscription renews each month, that way you can decide if you want to renew or not, and if you decide to cancel the charge can be processed in time not to charge you. Put your username and password in there too!

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I am a writer for an e-Learning course vendor near Chicago.

6 thoughts on “Grandpa’s Dabblings In Freemasonry & A Quick Tip For Cheapskate Genealogists”

  1. My grandfather was a Freemason too but, like you, I know very little about what they do/did. Secret society with meetings…that’s all I’ve got. But I’m sure you won’t have time to ponder it too much this month, between your 36 (!!?) parties and your trip. Why does Tijuana make me think of Fear and Loathing?

  2. I’ve always had a murky understanding of the Freemasons too. Secret rituals? My dad was in the Elks club, and that never seemed as mysterious.

  3. Think I am with your grandmother seems this organisation in the west of Ireland is only open to men , that alone sounds alarm bells for me ha ha , I actually found the page of said organisation here in the west of Ireland and this is what it states in order to join.

    “We’re always interested in hearing from prospective members. If you’re a man over the age of 21 and would like to learn more about becoming a Mason, please visit the Grand Lodge of Ireland to learn more about Freemasonry.”

  4. When we vacationed in the UP several summers ago, I remember visiting a museum dedicated to the history of one of the other fraternal orders. Can’t remember which one or where it was located. My husband, who was in DeMolay and whose father was a Mason, said there were similarities in the rites and regalia portrayed in the museum.
    I’m sure you can find a member who might share with you history of the Freemasons back in the 20s.

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