22 April 2007

St George's and other fraternal societies

April 23rd is St George's Day, set aside for the patron saint of England who in legend killed a dragon.

There was an active St George's Society in Ottawa from 1844 to 1956. Its objectives were uniting English people and their descendants for social and patriotic purposes and affording its members advice and pecuniary assistance in case of need. The announcement shown was placed in the Ottawa Journal in February 1895 on the funeral of William Mills, mentioned here recently. It shows the logo of St George killing the dragon.

Ottawa in 1923 boasted many similar societies: the Ancient Order of Hibernians of America; Ladies' Auxilliaries of Carleton County; Ancient Order of United Workmen; Catholic Mutual Benefit Association; Foresters - Ancient Order; Foresters - Canadian Order; Foresters - Independent Order; Free Masons; Order of the Eastern Star; Royal Arcanum; Knights of the Maccabees; Knights of the Pythias; Loyal Orange Association; Loyal True Blue Association; Oddfellowes - Canadian Order; Oddfellows - Independent Order; Rebekahs; St Andrew's Society; St George's Society; St Vincent de Paul Society; Sons of England Benefit Society; Sons of Scotland; Ladies' Auxilliary of St George's Society; Daughters and Maids of England; Women's Christian Temperance Union.

St George's societies existed in Toronto and Montreal and likely many other communities. Their records may be an unexploited resource for family history. Ottawa's St George's Society records are with Library and Archives Canada.

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