Ohio Genealogical Society (OGS) is proud to announce the formation of its fifth lineage society, The Society of Families of the Old Northwest Territory (SFONT). This new lineage society will be open to both members and non-members. Applications will be accepted starting on January 1, 2016 with the first induction ceremony to be held during the 2017 annual conference in Sandusky, Ohio.
The Old Northwest Territory, officially called the Territory Northwest of the Ohio River, was created by the U.S. Congress through the Northwest Ordinance and it existed between 13 July 1787 and 1 March 1803. The territory encompasses today’s Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin and part of Minnesota.
It was the first organized area within the United States to outlaw slavery, establish freedom of religion, create public education, and provide inheritance laws for widows and their children. The Northwest Ordinance foreshadows the first ten amendments to the U.S. Bill of Rights.
This new lineage society will not only honor the memory of American ancestors living within the boundaries of the Old Northwest Territory but also those of Native American, French and British ancestry who were living in this area prior to this territory becoming a part of the United States.
The French established Cahokia (Illinois) in 1699 and Detroit (Michigan) in 1701. Other settlements were also founded by the French. The British received this territory after the French and Indian Wars and then the territory become a part of the United States after the Revolutionary War.
Membership in the SFONT will not replace the 1803 pin for First Families of Ohio (FFO). Having an 1803 pin will not automatically qualify a member to join SFONT. FFO members with the 1803 pin will not lose their pin.
If your ancestor lived in what is now Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin or eastern Minnesota (east of the Mississippi River) between 13 July 1787 and 7 May 1800 (Indiana Territory created) or your ancestor lived in what is now Ohio or Michigan between 13 July 1787 and 3 March 1803 (Ohio Statehood) or your ancestor lived in what is now Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin or eastern Minnesota prior to 13 Jul 1787 as a citizen of either France or Great Britain, or as a Native American you may qualify for this new Society.
For many applicants this will be a challenging undertaking in order to prove ancestry since they will not only be dealing with American records but also French and British colonial records. The application form, rules & guidelines will be available on the OGS website by the end of the year http://www.ogs.org