List of American ethnic and religious fraternal orders

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Below is an annotated list of American ethnic and religious fraternal orders; Template:TOC right


African American

American Indian


  • 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 to 50 and those over 50 were allowed honorary membership. The Order required belief in a Supreme Being, reverence for the Holy Bible and loyalty to ones 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 and 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 benefit 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.[22] 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.[23]


  • Union Saint-Jean-Baptiste - Founded March 27, 1900 in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, as Union Saint-Jean-Baptiste d'Amerique for Roman Catholic Franco-Americans. Activities included hospital volunteer work, comforting the bereaved, visiting shut in 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. Motto "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 Jan. 1979.[24] Merged with Catholic Family Life in 1991.[25]
  • Association Canado-Americaine - Founded in 1896 in Manchester, New Hampshire, which remained the organizations 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.[26] The ACA went into rehabilitation in 2008 and later was liquidated. Most of its insurance policies were assumed by the Royal Arcanum.[27]


  • 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 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[28] 8,892 members in 1989. Membership had stabilized around 10,000 for decades.[29]
  • 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, DC 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.[30] Correspondence sent to Baltimore in May 1923 by Arthur Preuss went unanswered.[31]
  • 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 descendents. "Supreme Office" at 749 Broadway, Buffalo, New York.[32] Merged with Unity Life and Accident Insurance Association in 1934.[33]
  • 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.";[34]
  • 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.[35] Union claimed to be non-sectarian and had no secrets; open to all "well-meaning persons"; non-members accompanied by members allowed at meeting.[36] Locals are "Districts"; national convention meets quadrennially; headquarters in Pittsburgh; in 1979 had $120,000,000 in insurance; also sponsored outings, baseball games etc.[35] 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.[35][37]
  • 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 descendents or spouses of Swiss.[38] Membership 2,000 in 1965, 4,000 in 1978 and 3,350 in 1994, about 10 to 15% are social, uninsured members.[39] 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[40]
  • 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.[41]
  • Sons of Hermann
  • 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.[42] Membership opened to non-Germans in 1976. Locals called "Branches", regional groups called "Districts", national convention meets quadrennially.[43] "Supreme Office" reported to be at 9 Seventh Street, New York in 1923.[44] Reported to be in Brooklyn in the 1970s.[45] Now at 399 Conklin Street - Suite 310 Farmingdale.[46] Two Chicago based German groups have merged into the WBF - the Mutual Benefit Aid Society andAmerican Fraternal Insurance Society founded by Volga Germans.[45] Two Jewish groups have merged into the WBF, the Free Sons of Israel in 2001 and the Workmen’s Circle in 2004.[42] 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"[45] Had 384 lodges and 53,139 benefit members in 1923,[47] 53,000 in 1965,[48] 35,000 on Dec. 31 1978[45] and 15,000 in 1995.[48]



  • Alianza Hispano-Americana - Originally 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 bye Supreme Executive Council 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.[49] In 1923 it had 109 branches, 5,189 members and operated in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, California, Colorado and Nevada.[50]





  • 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.[57]
  • 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.[57]
  • 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.[58] Had a benefit membership of 3,619 in 57 lodges in 1923.[59] Had 24,000 members in the late 1960s, 40,000 in 115 chapters in 1979.[60] 34,000 members in 1989.[61] Headquarters in 1923 at 44 E. 23rd Street, New York City.[62] Current headquarters at 136 East 39th Street.[63] 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, Frank Church through its American Israel Friendship League it distributed books and periodicals to over 2,000 university libraries, sponsored seminars and discussion groups.[60] Absorbed B'rith Abraham in 1981.[61]
  • 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.[64] by the late 1970s women were accepted as regular members.[65] 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.[64] In 1923 the order had 6,645 members in 78 lodges.[66] In the late 1960s and 1979 the Orders membership was reported as 10,000, though the number of lodges fell from 46 to 42 during the same time span.[67] The Free Sons had 8,000 members in 1994[68] In 1923 its headquarters were at 21 W. 124th St. New York city.[69] The Grand Lodges' current home is 37th Street near 6th Avenue, sharing office space with the Workmens Circle.[70] 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 gives members low interest loans. the Order sponsors a scholarship program for Jewish students who show high proficiency in Hebrew, 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.[67]
  • 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.[57]
  • Independent Order of B'rith Abraham - Founded in 1887 as a split from Order of Brith Abraham,whose leadership they felt was incompetent.[71] 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.[72] Had a peak membership of 206,000 in 1917.[73] In 1923 it had 585 lodges and a benefit membership of 142,812.[59] Had 58,000 immediately before World War II. Changed name to simply B'rith Abraham in 1968. Merged with B'nai Zion in 1981.[72] Headquarters in 1923 at 37 Seventh street New York City.[62] New York was still the headquarters in 1979.[73] The Orders state 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.[73]
  • 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.[57]
  • 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.[74] Membership open to Jews and gentiles over 16. Female axillary named Birth Sholom Women.[75] Had 52,596 members in 1917.[76] Had 20,000 members in 1979.[77] 6,000 members in 1988.[74] Headquarters in 1917 was at 510-512 5th St. Philadelphia.[78] 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 hosed at a Camp Sholom. Operates a retirement home in Philadelphia that housed 500.[77] Sponsors Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University and a recuperation center for Israeli soldiers in Haifa.[74] Contributed a 65-acre tract of land for Eagleville Sanatorium.[77]
  • 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.[79]
  • 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 "principle 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.[79] 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.[80] Offered the "usual secret society forms, and privileges", Emblem was a triangle between the letters F and P with an L under it.[79] Offered insurance against death under the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company .[81]
  • 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[81] May or may not be related to an order of the same name operating out of Chicago.[82]
  • 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 Levererett and Ashland street and moved in on Nov. 13, 1920. The building contained the groups 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.[83]
  • Jewish Progressive Order - Headquartered in Philadelphia. Supported the Palestine Restoration Fund by a "shekel tax" of 25 cents per member.[84]
  • 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.[85] In 1923 it had 198 lodges, 15,152 benefit members and 195 social members.[86] It had 8,000 members when it became defunct in 1927.[72] Headquarters in 1923 located at 266-268 Grand St. New York City.[69] 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.[85]
  • 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.[87]
  • 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.[87] 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 Fredrick 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.[88]
  • Workmen's Circle


  • Association of Lithuanian Workers - Founded in 1930.[89] 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.[90] In 1994 it 1,800 members.[89] Headquarters in Ozone Park, Queens. National convention meets biennially. Women's groups called "sororities", which carried out the groups charity work. Conducts "fraternal social and cultural activities" including three scholarships per year for its members.[91]
  • Lithuanian Alliance of America - The idea for forming this society first came up in the Lietuwiszka Gazieta of New York on Aug. 16, 1879. The constituting convention was held in Plymouth, Pennsylvania on Nov. 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.[92] Had 12,492 members in 303 lodges and 425 in the Juvenile Department in 1923.[93] 22,332 members in 332 lodges throughout 24 states.[94] Had 270 lodges in 1972 and 209 lodges in 1979 with 6,563 members.[92] Had 5,000 in 1994[89] Open to people of Lith descent; sponsors Lith cultural programs, gives aid to widows, and orphans, relief for victims of natural disasters, and awards scholarships.[92] 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.[94]
  • Lithuanian Catholic Alliance - Founded 1886 as Lithuanian Roman Catholic Alliance of America, adopted current name in 1975.[89][95] 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.[95]


  • 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.[96] Headquarters in Oakland, lodges called "Subordinate lodges" which were present in California, Nevada, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island.[97] In 1978 it had 14,000 members[98] In 1994 it was reported to have 15,000. Membership is open to Americans of Portuguese descent or birth.[96]
  • Portuguese Continental Union of the United States of America - Founded in Boston in 1925, which is still the groups 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 though, is called "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.[99] Had 8,688 members in 1994[100]
  • Portuguese Society of Queen St. Isabel Sociedade Portuguesa Rainha Santa Isabel - Founded in 1898 in Oakland, California at as an "altar society" at Church of St. Joseph (Catholic).[101] Became a fraternal society in May 1900, and the Supreme Council was founded in Jan. 20, 1901. Headquarters in Oakland, lodges known as "Subordinate Councils", national body is the "Grand Council" which meets in convention annually.[102] Open to women 15 years and 5 months to 55 years and 5 months[101] that one were of good health, a good Catholics or a good Christian and of good Moral Character". In 1979 there were 13,386 members in 116 subordinate unites, seven jr units and two intermediate groups.[103] There were 12,000 mem in 1995[101] Its motto was "Sociability and Protection" and its colors were white and blue. 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.[103]
  • 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.[104][105]



  • Danish Brotherhood in America
  • Danish Sisterhood - Founded Dec.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 2nd 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 in 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[110][111]




  • Daughters of Scotland - Incorporated in Ohio on Oct. 3, 1899. Membership open only to those of Scottish blood. Ritual had signs, oaths and prayers.[116] Grand Lodge dissolved in the early 1970s, though some local groups continued to meet afterwards.[117]
  • Order of Scottish Clans
  • Sons of Scotland Benevolent Association - Founded 1876 in Toronto.[118] Incorporated in Ontario in 1880, and on the federal level in 1937. Headquartered in Toronto, the associations' lodges are called "Subordinate Camps", 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.[119] 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.[118]

Western Slavs


  • Alliance of Poles in America - Founded on Set. 22 1895 in Ohio as Alliance of Poles. Added "of America" in 1914. Headquarters in Cleveland. Locals called "Groups", regional groups "Circles" and the national structure "Central Body", which meets quadrennially. Membership open to both sexes from the start. Now open to anyone 15-65, of good moral character, physically and mentally healthy, Polish or Lithuanian by birth or consanguinity. Has no ritual, but it does have an oath. Had 16,000 in the late 1960s, 20,000 72 locals in 1979.[120] Had 20,000 members in 1994.[29]
  • Federal Life Insurance of America - Founded in 1911 as a pressure group with the US Catholic church for Polish interests. Its original name was the Federation of Polish Catholic Laymen. The insurance aspect was added in 1913 and the name changed to the Federation of Poles in America. Became Federal Life Insurance of America in 1924.[121] Local groups are called "Lodges"; in 1979 there were 28 lodges in 7 states. The national convention meets quadrennially. Poles or people of Polish descent eligible. A women's division was added in 1940. There were 5,000 members in 1960, 5,543 in 1979.[122] There were 4,476 in 1994.[121] Sent food and clothing to Poland and Polish refugees during WW2; aiding the Ochronka Orphanage in Poland since the war; also supports International Folk Fair in Milwaukee.[123]
  • Polish Beneficial Association - Founded in 1899 in Philadelphia and headquartered there, Locals called "groups". National convention meets quadrennially. Open to people of good moral character of Polish, Lithuanian or Slavic descent and of the Roman Catholic, Byzantine Catholic or Greek Catholic Church or those married to the one of the acceptable ethnics and a member of the approved churches. Honorary membership given to those who rendered a great service to the Association, Catholicism, the US or mankind in general. Minimum age is 15, though juvenile insurance/membership available. In 1967 it had 24,500 members, in 1979 16,000 in 105 groups. No ritual, but there is an oath. Offers scholarships, organizes folk dances, polka and Halloween parties, etc. Involved with the Catholic church. patron saint is St. John Cantius, holds Masses and organized a pilgrimage to National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.[124]
  • Polish Falcons of America
  • Polish National Alliance of Brooklyn - Founded in 1903. Despite name it had members and was licensed to sell insurance in Connecticut, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey and New York.[125] Absorbed Polish American Workmens Aid Fund in 1960.[126] Had 21,413 in 1965, approximately 12,000 in 1979 and 11,135 in 1995.[126][127] Had 155 lodges in 1972, 87 in 1978. Offers Masses to its members, yearly grants to the Catholic Foundation and theological seminaries.[127]
  • Polish National Alliance-
  • Polish National Union (Sponjnia - Founded in Feb. 1908 in the parish hall of St. Stanislaus Cathedral, in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Received charter by the end of the year. Women's lodges authorized in 1909[128][129] Had difficulty retaining membership because it was actuarially unsound. Adopted the American Experience table at its sixth convention in Buffalo, New York in September 1920, but it wasn't until 1923 that it was actuarially sound.[130] Headquarters in in Scranton. Local groups called "branches", regional groups called "Districts". National convention meets quadrennially. 20,000 members in 1930, 32,142 in 247 branches in the mid-1960s, 31,649 in 210 branches in 1979.[131] 30,000 members in 1994.[128] No ritual or secrecy, but there is a pledge. Open to both sexes 16 and up. 1979 constitution didn't say anything about Polish ancestry. Purchased Sponjnia Farm in 1929 in Waymart, Pennsylvania and developed it into a home for aged and sick members. Began Warsaw Village in Thornhurst Township, Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania in 1948 as summer vacation area. Helped fund Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help near Zarki, Poland; their first constitution declared "Religious, political and social convictions may not hinder admission", but has nevertheless been tied to the Polish National Catholic Church.[131][132]
  • Polish Roman Catholic Union of America
  • Polish Union of America - Founded in 1890.[128] 10,000 members in 1979.[133] 9,000 n 1994.[128] Active in anti defamation campaigns, provides scholarships, contributes to churches, charities and educational foundations also sponsors radio broadcast.[134] Maintains library, museum, speakers bureau ethnic awareness programs and vocational placement services. Also runs White Eagle Young Adults Club.[128]
  • Polish Women's Alliance of America
  • Sons of Poland
  • Union of Polish Women of America - Founded in Oct. 17, 1920 in Philadelphia in 1920 by women who had previously been active in the Red Cross, White Cross, Emergency Aid and Polish War Mothers. Local units called "Branches", regional structures called "Districts", there are also youth "Juvenile Circles". National convention meets quadrennially, at which point a "convention Queen" is crowned to reign for four years. "Supreme Executive Body" runs org in between conventions. In 1979 membership was open to people of Polish origin or their spouses. 1979 membership. Motto ""Unity, Stability, and Prosperity". Strong connections with Catholic Church.Grants "partial scholarships" and educational loans to Americans of Polish descent.[135]



  • 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 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.[151] In 1969 it absorbed the Catholic Slovak Union, which had 1,500 members.[152] Had 102,000 members in 1965, 95,000 in 1979 and 87,000 in 1994[153] Headquarters in Beachwood, Ohio. Locals called "Branches", present in 12 states and 2 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 colleges scholarships annually; maintains home for the aged in Beachwood. Organizes biannual youth conferences for people 16-20 which emphases the fraternal benefit system. Those who have been with the group 25 years receive a pin, 50 years a cash reward.[154]
  • First Catholic Slovak Union of the United States of America and Canada - Slovak name Prva Katolicka Slovenska[153] 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 Sept. 4, 1890, united 7 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 churches ceremonies and never writes anything against the Church or the Clergy. 1979 membership requirements - male of 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.[155] 105,000 members in the early 1980s, 80,000 in 1993.[153] 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 in between conventions. Headquarters in Cleveland. Sponsors scholarships, summer camps, bowling, golfing etc. Also send relief for natural disaster relief.[156]
  • 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.[157] Headquartered in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Had 16,000 in 1965 as well as 1978.[158] 14,600 in 1994[159] Licensed to sell insurance in 8 states outside of Penn; supports Slovak Seminary in Rome, and to the Slovak Catholic Federation;[158]
  • 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 4 years.Late 1960s membership 35,000, 1979 membership 21,000;[160] 18,000 in 1994.[161] 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.[162] Maintains Slovak Hall of Fame, advocated a free Slovakia during Cold War.[161]
  • 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 dept for those under 16. 1,350 members in 1979. Locals called "Subordinate Assembly", national "Supreme Assembly" meets quadrennially, board of directors runs things in between those. Headquarters in Philadelphia.[163]
  • 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.[164] In 1921 had 19,025 members, more than 42,000 in 1936, 44,243 in 1946, 50,000 in 1979.[165] 50,000 mem in 1995.[164] Headwuarters 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 St. Martin of Tours; ha 25% million in assests in 1921; attended 26th International Eucharistic Congress; gives out 20 scholarships of $500 per year.[166]
  • 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[101]
  • 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 the society 1979 members 11,000 in 11 states and Canada. Headquarters in Ligonier, Pennsylvania;[167]
  • 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.[168][169] Had 5,611 at the end of 1918.[170] 7,277 members in 1927, 4,357 in 1965, 2,500 in 1977. National convention meets quadrennially. Licensed to sell insurance in IL, NY, OH and PA. Sponsors scholarships, gives aid to aged and handicapped members, donates to civic and charitable groups.[171] Merged into Croatian Fraternal Union in 1995.[172]


Southern Slavic

  • Sloga Fraternal Life Insurance Society - Founded in 1897 as the South Slavic Benevolent Union. Adopted the name Sloga Fraternal Life Insurance Society in 1968.[175] 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.[175] 1995 membership 2,247.[164] 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.[175] Merged with Croatian Fraternal Union in 1994.[172]
  • Western Slavonic Association



  • Croatian Catholic Union of the United States of America and Canada - Founded in 1921[176] 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 rites Catholics.[177] In 1997 it was described as open to all Latin or Greek rite Catholics in the USA. and Canada.[176] In 1965 the Union had 13,772.[176] In 1978 the Union had 119 local unites in 16 states and Canada with about 13,500 in 1978. In 1988 it was reported to have 13,000.[176] The Union provides assistance to Catholic church, theology students, scholarships and disaster relief.[176] In addition the union performs "works of mercy" extended to members who are ill or hospitalized and arranges sporting events.[178] Merged with the Croatian Fraternal Union in 2006.[172]
  • Croatian Fraternal Union


  • Serb National Federation - Created after the merger of several Serbian American organizations in 1929.[179] Headquarters in Pittsburgh. Membership open to people of Serb or Slav descent 16-60.[180] Those under 16 can join "Junior Order". In 1979 it had 20,000 members and "membership groups" existed in 10 states and Canada.[181] In 1995 it had 15,200 members.[180] Sponsors social gatherings, cultural events, sports programs finance church buildings and meeting halls.[182]

Eastern Slavs



  • Providence Association of Ukrainian Catholics in America - Founded in 1912.[191] 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."[192] In 1979 had 210 lodges in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.[193] Had the same number of lodges in 2015.[194] Had 11,000 members at the beginning of the 1930s, 8,000 in 1942, 16,994 in 1965, 18,000 in 1979.[193] 17,927 in 1994.[191] Members are admonished to send their children to parochial schools in accordance with the law of the church. One of the groups original objectives was to create low interest loans for religious institutions, particularly parochial schools.[195]
  • 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.[196] 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 in 1965.[197] 20,000 members in 1995.[196] 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.[198] Later apparently called branches.[199] 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.[198] Merged with Providence Association of Ukrainian Catholics in America in 2009.[199]
  • Ukrainian National Aid Association - Founded in 1914, more political than the UNA.[196] 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.[200] 8,710 members in 1995[196] Merged into the Providence Association of Ukrainian Catholics in America in 2001.[201]
  • Ukrainian National Association


  • Baptist Life Association - Founded in 1884 as the German Baptist Life Association. Adopted current name in 1934.[202] Had 1,158members in 1911, at the time it changed its readjusted its inadequate rate system. By 1921 this had grown to 2,639.[203] In 1965 it had 12,335 members, in 1979 about 13,000 in 49 branches in 26 states.[204] Had 12,705 members in 1994.[202] 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.[205]
  • 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 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 Mennonite Mutual Aid Association.[206] Merged with other Mennonite financial union groups to become Everence in 2010.[207] Originally open to Mennonites 16 and up, the Associations denominational scope was enlarged to include other Anabaptist denominations in 1984.[207] Today Everence, while remaining the stewardship agency of the Mennonite Church USA, offers its "products and services are open to everyone who is interested in practicing stewardship that aligns with our founding values." [208] 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 familites with emergency needs, aiding local church projects;[206]


  • 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 disapprove of the APA or other organizations which sough 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 oath bound.[209]
  • 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.[210]
  • 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 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.[25] Had 37,000 in 1967, 47,000 in 54 Branches in 1979.[211] 45,000 in 78 branches in 2010.[25] Open to all members of the Catholic father 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 ever 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 camp outs, picnic and teen parties.[212] 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.[25]
  • 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.[213] Became the Catholic Fraternal League in 1916. Arthur Preuss noted that this was the only time he had found that a secular order.[214] 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" [14]
  • Catholic Knights 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[215] Had 8,500 members in 1965, 13,000 in 1978. Headquarters in Belleville, Illinois. 45 units in Illinois, the only state it is licensed to sell insurance. "Supreme legislative body" meets quadrennially.[216] Original purpose to "offer cheap life insurance without the danger of going into associations or orders forbidden by our Holy Mother Church."[215] 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.[217]
  • Catholic Knights of Ohio - Founded Sept. 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 6-month offer. Adapted the reserve fund early, in 1894 put the reserve fun into the hands of a 5-member commission, it had previously been run by local branches. Began offer juvenile insurance under-18. Admitted women to full membership in 1920, first female branch set up at St. Vitus 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".[218] Open only to Catholics over 16.[219] 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.[218]
  • 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 8 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 off 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 actuarial sound method in 1915.[220]
  • Catholic Workman - Founded in 1891 in St. Paul, Minnesota by Fr. John Rynda for Czech Catholics.[219] In 1965 there were 19,00 0members, 18,000 in 1979.[221] Had 15,000 members.[219] Headquarters in St. Paul, Minnesota. national convention meets quadrennially. In 1978 there were 124 locals and 12 state groups.[221] Absorbed the Western Bohemian Catholic Union in 1930 and the Daughters of Columbus in 1937. Sponsors Boy and Girls 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.[221] Merged into the First Catholic Slovak Ladies Association in 2004.[222]
  • Loyal Christian Benefit Association - Founded in 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 Dec. 1978.[223] 46,000 members in 1994.[224] 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.[225]
  • Western Catholic Union - Founded Oct. 16, 1877. Juveniles admitted in 1881 and women in 1912. Enrolled 1,000 in 1978, it best recruiting year ever.[226] Had 27,730 members in 1995.[227] Headquarters in Quincy, Illinois. Headquarters building build 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 continuous to this 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 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.[228]




  1. Sacred Heart Review New Series. Vol. 54 #14 p.221
  2. Fortnightly Review Vol. XXII #21 Nov. 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, Template:OCLC, p. 131
  5. Preuss p.93
  6. Stevens p.131
  7. Stevens p.235
  8. Preuss p.93 Cites cyclopedia 2nd ed. p.235; La France antimaçonique Vol. XXVII #28 p.329 July 10, 1913
  9. Alan Axelrod International Encyclopedia of Secret Societies and Fraternal Orders New York; Facts on File, inc 1997 p.100
  10. Axelrod p.17
  11. Schmidt, Alvin J. Fraternal Organizations Westport, CT; Greenwood Press 1980 p.333
  12. Stevens pp.402-3
  13. Stevens p.141
  14. 14.0 14.1 Stevens p.192
  15. Stevens pp.288-9
  16. Preuss p.465 Preuss does not give any sources
  17. 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
  18. Crum p.48
  19. Todd Leahy and Raymond Wilson Historical Dictionary of Native American Movements Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow p.46
  20. Leahy and Wilson p.100
  21. Leahy and Wilson p.161
  22. 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
  23. Preuss pp.380-1
  24. Schmidt pp.338-9 Schmidt cites the groups constitution, newspaper L'Union, and a mimeographed history "A Beautiful Dream Comes True"
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 History
  26. Schmidt pp.46-7 Schmidt cites the groups constitution, by-laws and French language newspaper Le Canado-Americain, and a mimeographed history "A Beautiful Dream Comes True"
  27. 1 Liquidation of ACA Assurance Updated Information for ACA Assurance Policyholders/Members/Creditors /Retirees October 2 5 , 2012
  28. Schmidt pp.29-31 cites Saxon Year Book 1902-1977 - published in 1977 for the 75th ann. as well as Saxon News Volksblatt the groups periodical.
  29. 29.0 29.1 Axelrod p.7
  30. Stevens pp.6-8
  31. Preuss p.43
  32. 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);
  33. Axelrod p.30
  34. Preuss pp.167-8 Cites Statistics, Fraternal Societies 1923 pp.71 sq.; Why You should carry a policy with the GUG Germania
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 Schmidt pp.149-50
  36. 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
  37. Preuss p.150
  38. Schmidt p.240 Cites groups periodical The Swiss American and 1965 jubilee book.
  39. Axelrod p.184
  40. Schmidt p.240
  41. Stevens p.175
  43. Schmidt pp.358-9 Cites groups const. and periodical, Solidarity
  44. Preuss p.490 Cites Statistics, Fraternal Societies 1923 pp.189 sq.
  45. 45.0 45.1 45.2 45.3 Schmidt pp.358-9
  46. Workmen's Benefit Fund homepage
  47. Preuss p.490
  48. 48.0 48.1 Axelrod p.265
  49. Fraternal Monitor Aug. 1918 Vol. XXIX #1
  50. Preuss p.8-9 Cites Statistics, Fraternal Societies 1923 p. 8; Fraternal Monitor Aug. 1918 Vol. XXIX #1.
  51. Schmidt pp.34-5
  52. 52.0 52.1 Axelrod p.263
  53. Preuss p.472 Cites Fraternal Monitor Vol. XXXIII #8 p.12 March 1923;
  54. Schmidt p.348
  55. Stevens p.217
  56. Schiavo, Giovanni The Italians in Chicago, a study in Americanization, Chicago, Ill., Italian American publishing co., 1928 p.59
  57. 57.0 57.1 57.2 57.3 Stevens p.206
  58. Schmidt pp.54-5 Schmidt cites Feb. 1977 issue of groups periodical B'nai Zion voice
  59. 59.0 59.1 Preuss pp.169-70 Cites Statistics, Fraternal Societies 1923 ed.
  60. 60.0 60.1 Schmidt pp.54-5
  61. 61.0 61.1 Axelrod p.35
  62. 62.0 62.1 Preuss pp.169-70
  63. Bnai Zion National Officers 2014
  64. 64.0 64.1 Stevens pp.208-9
  65. Schmidt pp.140-1 Schmidt cites groups periodical The Reporter
  66. Preuss p.169 Cites Statistics, Fraternal Societies 1923 ed
  67. 67.0 67.1 Schmidt pp.140-1
  68. Axelrod p.98
  69. 69.0 69.1 Preuss p.169
  70. Free Son Of Israel Reporter On Line WINTER EDITION 2014 Vol. 13, No. 1 Grand Master's Message
  71. Schmidt pp.55-6 Schmidt cites Beacon, groups periodical
  72. 72.0 72.1 72.2 Axelrod p.36
  73. 73.0 73.1 73.2 Schmidt pp.55-6
  74. 74.0 74.1 74.2 Axelrod pp.36-7
  75. Schmidt pp.56-7 Schmidt cites periodical Brith Sholom News and an irregularly published Community Relations Digest
  76. Preuss p.170 Cites Jewish Communal Register of New York City 1917-1918 ed.
  77. 77.0 77.1 77.2 Schmidt pp.56-7
  78. Preuss p.170
  79. 79.0 79.1 79.2 Stevens p.210
  80. Jewish Community of New York City; Margoshes, Samuel, 1887-1968Jewish Communal Register of New York City 1917-1918 ed. p.956 New York: Kehillah of New York City
  81. 81.0 81.1 Jewish Communal Register of New York City 1917-1918 ed. p.956
  82. Preuss p.194
  83. Preuss pp.194-5 Cites Statistics, Fraternal Societies 1923 ed. pp.81 sq; Fraternal Monitor Vol. XXXI #9 April 1921 pp. 26 sq.
  84. Preuss p.206 Cites Fraternal Monitor Aug. 1918 Voll. XXIX #1 p. 14
  85. 85.0 85.1 Stevens pp.209-10
  86. Preuss p.169 Cites Statistics, Fraternal Societies 1923 ed.
  87. 87.0 87.1 Jewish Communal Register of New York City 1917-1918 ed. p.984
  88. Schmidt pp.333-4 Schmidt cites proceedings, orders periodical, and pamphlets.
  89. 89.0 89.1 89.2 89.3 Axelrod p.163
  90. Schmidt p.205 Schmidt cites the groups proceedings, periodical and constitution.
  91. Schmidt p.205
  92. 92.0 92.1 92.2 Schmidt pp.204-5
  93. Preuss p.252
  94. 94.0 94.1 History
  95. 95.0 95.1 Schmidt pp.204-5 Schmidt cites groups periodical and constitution.
  96. 96.0 96.1 Axelrod p.165
  97. Schmidt pp.344-5 Schmidt cites 1968 centennial pamphlet, and groups periodical The Luso-American
  98. 98.0 98.1 98.2 Schmidt pp.344-5
  99. Schmidt pp.272-23 Schmidt cites golden anniversary book published in 1975.
  100. Axelrod p.201
  101. 101.0 101.1 101.2 101.3 Axelrod p.229
  102. Schmidt pp.316-7 Schmidt cites 1977 constitution and laws, a mimeographed history the national office sent him and the groups periodical.
  103. 103.0 103.1 Schmidt pp.316-7
  104. Schmidt pp.318-9 Schmidt cites Constitution and Laws as well as the Ritual.
  105. Axelrod pp.228-9
  106. "Scandinavian American Fraternity" in Christian Cynosure Vol. LIV #1 May 1921 pp.6-8
  107. Preuss p.423
  108. Sandy VanDoren Register of the Records of the SCANDINAVIAN FRATERNITY OF AMERICA 1909-1992
  109. Axelrod p.221
  110. Schmidt pp.81-2 Schmidt citesConstitution and bylaws, which contained a short history, as well as Danish sisterhood news, the groups periodical
  111. Official website
  112. Schmidt p.329
  113. 113.0 113.1 About Us Milestones in the History of the Independent Order of Svithiod (1880-2000)
  114. Preuss p.193 Cites Statistics, Fraternal Societies 1923 pp.79 sq; Fraternal Monitor Vol. XXX #1 p.15 Aug 1919
  115. Axelrod p.233
  116. Schmidt p.88
  117. Daughters of Scotland, Blue Bell Lodge #1 records, 1952-1980.
  118. 118.0 118.1 Axelrod p.231
  119. Schmidt p.327 Schmidt cites a 45 rpm record, the groups constitution, brochures, pamphlets and quarterly The Scotian
  120. Schmidt pp.28-9 Cites constitution and bylaws, periodical The Alliance
  121. 121.0 121.1 Axelrod p.85
  122. Schmidt pp.111-2 cites A brief history of the Federation Life Insurance of American 1913-1976 and groups periodical The voice
  123. Schmidt pp.111-2
  124. Schmidt pp.265-6 Cites constitution, by-laws, Pal-Am Journal, the groups periodical, and the 50th and 75th jubilee histories;
  125. Schmidt p.268 cites Statistics, Fraternal Societies and Polish-American Journal, the groups periodical
  126. 126.0 126.1 Axelrod p.198
  127. 127.0 127.1 Schmidt p.268
  128. 128.0 128.1 128.2 128.3 128.4 Axelrod p.199
  129. Schmidt pp.270-1 Cites pamphlet Sponjnia: Past and Present, periodical Straz/The guard
  130. Preuss pp.
  131. 131.0 131.1 Schmidt pp.270-1
  132. Working together to touch lives
  133. Schmidt p.271 cites brochures, pamphlet and the groups periodical, PUA Parade
  134. Schmidt p.271
  135. 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;
  136. Our History
  137. Schmidt p.70 Cites 1977 Statistics, Fraternal Benefit Societies
  138. 138.0 138.1 About K.J.Z.T.
  139. Schmidt p.70
  140. Our History
  141. 141.0 141.1 141.2 141.3 141.4 141.5 141.6 Axelrod p.59
  142. Constitution and Bylaws of the CSA Fraternal Life as adopted at the XXXIX Quadrennial Convention August 10, 2010 Lisle, Illinois
  143. Schmidt pp.78-9 Cites A story of growth, constitution, CSA Journal
  144. A Proud History
  145. Schmidt p.77 cites groups periodical
  146. Schmidt pp.312-3 cites constitution and by laws, the groups paper, Vestnik and pamphlets and brochures obtained from the group
  147. SPJST is . . . Fraternal
  148. 148.0 148.1 148.2 Schmidt pp.312-3
  149. Administration
  150. 150.0 150.1 Axelrod p.227
  151. History of FCSLA: 1892 to Present
  152. Schmidt p.113 Cites constitution and groups periodical, Fraternally Yours
  153. 153.0 153.1 153.2 Axelrod p.87
  154. Schmidt p.113
  155. Schmidt pp.113-5 Cites 1977 by laws, Jednota Annual, and groups periodical.
  156. Schmidt pp.113-5
  157. A Brief History of Our Society
  158. 158.0 158.1 Schmidt p.202
  159. Axelrod p.161
  160. Schmidt pp.232-3 cites brochures from the group as well as their periodical The National News/Narodne Noviny
  161. 161.0 161.1 Axelrod p.180
  162. Schmidt pp.232-3
  163. Schmidt p.275 Cites the constitution, brochures and pamphlets of the group, as well as their periodical, Calvin
  164. 164.0 164.1 164.2 Axelrod p.228
  165. Schmidt pp.313-4 cites mimeographed history, periodicals Katolicky Sokol, Children's Friend
  166. Schmidt pp.313-4
  167. Schmidt p.343
  168. Schmidt p.363 Schmidt cites 1977 Statistics, Fraternal Societies
  169. Preuss p.501 Schmidt cites 1977 Statistics, Fraternal Societies
  170. Preuss p.501
  171. Schmidt p.363
  172. 172.0 172.1 172.2 About CFU History
  173. 173.0 173.1 Axelrod p.249
  174. Schmidt pp.344-5 cites const., by laws the groups periodical Prosvita Album; and The United Societies of the U.S.A.; A Historical Album
  175. 175.0 175.1 175.2 Schmidt p.313
  176. 176.0 176.1 176.2 176.3 176.4 Axelrod p.57
  177. Schmidt pp.75-6 Schmidt cites groups periodical.
  178. Schmidt pp.75-6
  179. History of the Serb National Federation
  180. 180.0 180.1 Axelrod p.234
  181. Schmidt p.307 Schmidt cites pamphlet and brochures issued by the society, as well as its periodical.
  182. Schmidt p.307
  183. 183.0 183.1 183.2 183.3 Axelrod p.217
  184. Schmidt pp.300-1 Cites brochures and pamphlets as well as groups periodical The truth
  185. Schmidt pp.300-1
  186. Schmidt p.301
  187. Schmidt p.301 Cites groups periodical Svit, Light
  188. Schmidt pp.302 Cites constitution, publicity brochures and the societies newsletter.
  189. Axelrod p.218
  190. Schmidt pp.302
  191. 191.0 191.1 Axelrod p.202
  192. Bylaws of the Providence Association of Ukrainian Catholics in America As approved by the General Assembly April 11 and 12, 2008 p.2
  193. 193.0 193.1 Schmidt p.283 Cites Jubilee book: 1912-1972 pp.93-110 and groups newspaper, America
  194. Official website
  195. Schmidt p.283
  196. 196.0 196.1 196.2 196.3 Axelrod p.245
  197. Schmidt pp.336-7 Cites Life Insurance in the Ukrainian Workingmen's Association: its need and significance, constitution and bylaws, groups quarterly Forum and weekly Narodna Volya
  198. 198.0 198.1 Schmidt pp.336-7
  199. 199.0 199.1 The Providence Association announces a merger with The Ukrainian Fraternal Association.
  200. Schmidt pp.334-5 Cites brochures and constitution, periodical Ukrainian National Word
  201. Ukrainian National Aid Association of America
  202. 202.0 202.1 Axelrod p.29
  203. Preuss pp.149-50 Cites Fraternal Monitor Vol. XXXI #10 p.20 May 1921; Vol. XXXIII #12 p.16 July 1923;
  204. Schmidt pp.48-9 Cites groups periodical Baptist Life Association News
  205. Schmidt pp.48-9
  206. 206.0 206.1 Schmidt pp.216-7
  207. 207.0 207.1 Our timeline MMA and Mennonite Financial to Everence
  208. Who we serve
  209. Stevens pp.292-3
  210. Schmidt pp.62-3 Cites brochures and pamphlets const. and the groups periodical, Catholic Aid News
  211. Schmidt pp.64-5 Schmidt cites The Family Friend, the groups periodical
  212. Schmidt pp.64-5
  213. Stevens pp.191-2
  214. Preuss p.462 Cites cyclopedia, Catholic Fraternal League Official Bulletin June 1, 1923, letter from Supreme President John Merril dated Aug. 6, 1923 and propaganda leaflet
  215. 215.0 215.1 Stevens pp.214-5
  216. Schmidt p.XX cites Statistics, Fraternal Benefits
  217. Schmidt p.XX
  218. 218.0 218.1 Schmidt pp.67-8
  219. 219.0 219.1 219.2 Axelrod p.47
  220. Schmidt pp.68-70 Cites brochures, groups periodical Knight of St. George
  221. 221.0 221.1 221.2 Schmidt p.71
  222. CATHOLIC WORKMAN: An Inventory of Its Records at the Minnesota Historical Society
  223. Schmidt pp.206-7 Cites const. by laws and the groups periodical, Fraternal Leader
  224. Axelrod p.164
  225. Schmidt pp.206-7
  226. Schmidt pp.347-8 Schmidt adds that it was founded on Oct. 16, 1977.
  227. Axelrod p.262
  228. Schmidt pp.347-8
  229. Schmidt p.74