While thinking about family heirlooms, or maybe mementos might be a better description, I decided to dig around in jewelry boxes to find old family pins. The location of one is still escaping discovery, but it was a Masonic pin, said to belong to my 2x great grandfather, Charles Stuart, who died in 1894 in Meddybemps, Maine.
That set me to looking for Masonic membership records. Years ago, I mailed an inquiry to the Maine Masonic headquarters asking if they held any membership records for the St. Croix Chapter #46. I never received any kind of reply and hadn’t pursued further research.
Last night, I went online and found the Grand Lodge of Maine, A.F. & A.M.
Grand Lodge of Maine Portal Page
Notice what I highlighted in yellow near the bottom of the screen: ATTENTION GENEALOGISTS: Membership cards since 1820
I clicked and went digging. There is no membership card for Charles Stuart/Stewart, but his sons were members of #46 St. Croix. I checked for other family names and found people I never knew were Masons!
Here are the cards for my family members:
I find it interesting that William was a Mason and joined as a young man on 15 October 1866. It’s interesting because his father, Thomas, wasn’t found in the membership cards, nor were any of his three sons. I know this is my William because I have his death certificate and the date matches the 30 May 1905 death date for this William. It appears there were no breaks in his membership, which spanned 34 years.
George R. Tarbox
George, my 3x great grandfather, was also another early member. The note at the bottom says he was in Lodge #17, the Ancient Landmark, in 1866. That lodge was located in Portland, Maine, quite a bit south of Calais. I’m not sure why he first joined down there unless other family members from New Gloucester belonged to #17.
Unlike William, George’s membership was less steady. He was suspended on 16 February 1880- and reinstated on 5 June 1894. He only lived for another seven months, passing away on 27 January 1895.
Two of George’s sons also belonged to the same lodge. Oliver Scripture Tarbox joined on 7 November 1898 and maintained membership until he died on 15 January 1924, in Red Beach, which today is part of the city of Calais. I have no idea what the word is under “Remarks,” with the number 15 after it.
Oliver S. Tarbox
I hit a bonus jackpot with George’s other son’s card. Charles F. Tarbox, who died on 27 June 1941. Look what was added to his card.
Charles F. Tarbox
Someone sent in a copy of his obituary, which I didn’t have! He joined the Freemasons on 19 January 1884, but joined Lodge #138, Lewy’s Island, which was in Princeton, not far from Calais.
The last family group is the Stewart/Stuart family. I think there might be a couple of membership card groups missing in those that have been posted on line. The cards are all in alphabetical order, but I find it very strange that with a common name like Stewart, which is how Charles would have spelled it, the first names begin with the letter D. Similarly, I wanted to see if any of my Adams people were members, but the first name in Adams begins with an F. My family were Calvin, Charles and Daniel.
Anyway, here is Charles’s son, Harry:
Harry Weston Stuart
Harry was relatively young when he died. He was only a ten year member, joining on 24 June 1901 and passing away on 13 July 1911.
I also found John W., Stuart, son of Wallace Newmarch Stuart (Harry’s brother):
John Wilson Stuart
John joined on 20 October 1919 and kept his membership until he died n 20 November 1955. There is a note that he had also belonged to “Chapter” #12. That lodge was in New Gloucester, near Portland. Perhaps he lived in Portland at some point.
The last card I found was for Wallace’s and Harry’s nephew, Earl, who was the son of their brother, William C. Stuart.
Earl Sadler Stuart
Earl joine on 7 March 1938 and apparently remained a Freemason until he died in Zephyrhills, Florida on 21 August 2004.
If your family members held Masonic membership in Maine, you are in luck because the cards are readily available online for no charge. I tried searching for other collections like this one. The Massachusetts membership cards are available by subscription on Ancestry.
There is no national headquarters for this organization, but each state has a Grand Lodge. The Grand Lodge of Texas has genealogy links under the Grand Secretary’s corner.
If your family held membership in another state, search for “Grand Lodge of (state name)” to see if they make old records available. From what I’ve read online, some Grand Lodges are very helpful, while others do not make membership records available to the public.