Sunday, 22 January 2017

Doing Masonic research

Some time ago I was commissioned to write the hundredth anniversary history of an important Masonic Lodge, and for the last week I have been doing the necessary research.

Now one thing that most Masonic Lodges have in abundance is records. Lodge Secretaries all keep a Minute Book in which they record the proceedings of each meeting as well as copies of each Summons (the Masonic name for a combination of a Warning Notice and an agenda). This means that if a researcher can get hold of a Lodge's Minute Books and the relevant Summons, it is possible to write a history of the Lodge.

So far I have managed to read through and make notes from the records for the Lodge's first twenty five years. I have also begun to produce a membership database ... and this already has over nine hundred names on it. I expect my researches to take at least another two months, especially as I want to do some wargaming as well over the next few weeks.


  1. Bob,

    Congratulations on your task and the centenary.

    I do think these lodge histories are v interesting and should be done and updated fairly regularly. My lodge is only 45 years old and we now only have 2 founders left as members. What the minutes do not tell you are all those personal stories about the characters and events. I have been my lodge secretary now for a about 8 years and regretfully the minutes are fairly bland and follow a given format. My attempts to enliven them a bit were firmly squashed! So I have asked these founders to write down their memories now so that we have something to work with when we go through this exercise in 5 years time.

    Thankfully I do not have the problem of 2 of the lodges in Berkshire who have already celebrated their bi-centenaries!


    1. Guy,

      Cheers! It's an interesting task, but much bigger than I had thought it might be before I actually started.

      Unfortunately no one wrote a history for the 50th anniversary of the Lodge's foundation, so I am having to start from the a Consecration in 1920.

      The first WM (and the first name on the petition) was Sir Frederick Halsey DGM ... and he was followed by many distinguished Brethren of a Grand Rank. Luckily my wife - who is a genealogist - is researching them for me, so the history will contain lots of personal history rather than just being a list of who did what and when.

      Getting your Lodge's remsining Founders to write down their memories is an excellent idea, and even if it is not included in the Minute Book, keeping them somewhere in the Lodge archive will help whoever has to write the Lodge's history in the future.