How to Validate Masonic lineage when records are lost?

by Lisa
(USA)

My grandfather, grandmother and father lived in the Philippine Islands prior to WWII and during the Japanese occupation. When the docks of Manila were bombed, they lost all their personal possessions, including family bible, birth certificates, etc.


As a woman looking to join the OES, I'm having difficulty finding a way to definitively trace my grandfather's Master Mason status so I may join the OES. My family history includes stories of my grandfather's Masonic brethren going to heroic efforts to help him during the Japanese occupation, but I have no real evidence. I am not even sure which lodge he might have joined under as he was born in the US, joined the US Army and traveled extensively in his duties. My grandfather later died in a prison camp and has no living relatives, other than his progeny.

I've sent a letter to the General Secretary of the Manila lodge, but have not heard back. I've reached out to an acquaintance who is currently a Mason, who has put me in touch with my state's OES but I unfortunately can't provide date or place my grandfather might have joined the order.

How can one prove or give validity to the claim of relation to a member of the Masonic Order in such a case as mine?

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

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Feb 16, 2015
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Try these
by: Lant

Just to confirm, the correct address for the Grand Lodge there is:

Grand Lodge of F. &. A. M. of the Philippines
Grand Lodge Temple
1440 San Marcelino St, 1000 Ermita, Manila
PO Box 990, Manila
The Philippines

Their email address is glp_ogs@yahoo.com

Feb 17, 2015
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Tracing Masonic family heritage...
by: Tim

Hello Lisa,

First, I'd like to thank you for your family's service to our Country.

Unfortunately, there's not an easy button to resolve your issue. There's no central depository for Masonic records. Each Lodge keeps its own records. However, membership records are also kept at the Grand Lodge level which could simplify things some.

I think I would start by working backwards in time. Contact the Grand Lodge for the Masonic jurisdiction in which your Grandfather last held residence. In the U.S. each State is a Masonic jurisdiction. Just do a Web search on the phrase 'masonic grand lodge' and include the name of the State. If your Grandfather held membership anywhere in the U.S. there will be a record of it somewhere. I imagine the same goes for any Masonic Grand Lodge anywhere in the world. Contact the Grand Lodge(s) and request assistance in researching your Masonic family heritage.

If you strike out at the U.S. Grand Lodge level it could mean that your Grandfather maintained his membership in the Philippines and never joined or transferred his membership to a Lodge in the U.S. Then, of course, you would want to contact the Grand Lodge of the Philippines as Lant suggested above. However, I think I would take it a step further.

Even though your Grandfather may not have held membership in a U.S. Lodge there may still be evidence of his having been a Mason in Lodges that he visited during his travels. Every Lodge maintains a register of meeting attendance. It's basically a sign-in book that members and visitors sign when attending a meeting. The information includes their name and Lodge of membership. Make a list of the places your Grandfather was stationed or may have traveled to. Then, using Web searches or through their respective Grand Lodges locate and contact Masonic Lodges in those areas. Request assistance in researching your Masonic heritage and tell them your situation. Give them a time frame as narrow as possible while including all possibilities of when your Grandfather may have been there. Everybody loves a mystery. The important ingredients are patience and diligence.

I wish you the very best in your search and thank you for visiting Masonsmart.

Cordially and Fraternally,

Tim

Mar 31, 2017
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Searching for ancestors
by: Anonymous

I read that may great grandfather, Telesforo A Sucgang was a Mason. Could I trace his lineage in your records

May 09, 2017
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Would that it were that easy...
by: Tim

Dear Anon,

Unfortunately, there are no centralized records of Freemasons. You would need to first determine which lodge or Grand Lodge your great-grandfather was a member of and then contact them regarding his records.

If any of his Masonic belongings still exist there may be information there as to which lodge he held membership in. Otherwise, you can contact the Grand Lodge(s) in the areas in which he was a resident and request a records search. Any information you can provide will be helpful to those conducting the search. Most Grand Lodges have a Web presence and are easy to locate and contact through their Web sites.

Hope this proves helpful. Good luck in your search.

Cordially and fraternally,

Tim

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