Family Organizations

Author: Mark W. Swarthout
Published on: August 3, 2001

Often a great source of information is from other family members, and while most of our immediate family is well known to us, there are others that are spread far afield. Many of the early families in the United States have created family societies to share their heritage. I'm fortunate enough to have a surname that has been around this continent a long time, 350 years in 2002!

If you're fortunate enough to connect to one of these long lines, you can tap into a wealth of information, including volumes of family trees and histories that have been developed over the years.

Let's talk about three such organizations, two which are incorporated and one which is much less formal. Walter Palmer Association and the Descendants of Roger Williams consist of the descendents of these early migrants and founding fathers of the United States.

The Walter Palmer Association has an incredible, searchable database of the descendants of Walter Palmer. Visit and search there for your ancestors!

The Descendants of Roger Williams is a very old organization, founded in the 1880's to celebrate the history of the founder of Rhode Island.

The Swarthout Family is not incorporated, but no less active in helping people with their genealogies. In our case, it isn't a matter of proving whether your Swarthout, Swartwout or Swartout, or perhaps your Swartwood is a descendent, it is how they are related. We know that the relationship is there somewhere! In addition to lots of current information, we have The Swarthout-Ketelhuyn Chronicles to reference. This book was commissioned by William Merrill Swartwout and published in 1899. Only 100 copies were printed and it is a fairly comprehensive listing of the Swartwout descendants, though not entirely complete. I have actually seen two copies in the same room! Where? At the Swarthout Family Reunion! It is also available on line through some genealogy web sites, as well as on CD from a relative in California. For more info you can visit my Swarthout Family web site.

There are organizations associated with family names that have more than just a genealogical purpose. The Wychoff family also maintains the Wychoff homestead, one of the earliest homes in New York that is still in existance. Visit them at

Oh, I suppose I should mention, I fit in all three of these organizations! Roger Williams is my 14thG Grandfather, Walter Palmer is a 12GGrandfather, and Tomys Swartwout is either my 12th or 13thGGrandfather (My biggest genealogical mystery! There is some documentation, but nothing definitive!)

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Updated on 10/25/2005