The associations of descendants of certain historic figures and the societies devoted to perpetuating a family name are equally worthy of mention. Such groups were started to commemorate the deeds and the spirit of the founders of families, thus maintaining the familial esprit de corps through the generations. They also act as a social unit ready to assist less fortunate members and help them to maintain their family status. More than two thousand family associations of varying types exist in the United States.(1)
A characteristic example of a remarkably aristocratic family institution is the National Society Washington Family Descendants. Founded in 1954, it aims to cherish, maintain, and fortify family ties and to perpetuate the memory of George Washington. To gain admission, a person must show that he descends directly and legitimately from George Washington’s family, on either the masculine or feminine side, and must be approved by all the society members. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II numbers among its honorary members.
(1) Cf. Family Associations, Societies and Reunions (Munroe Falls, Ohio: Summit Publications), 1991-1992 edition.
Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, Nobility and Analogous Traditional Elites in the Allocutions of Pius XII: A Theme Illuminating American Social History (York, Penn.: The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property, 1993), Appendix I, p. 324.