Friday, July 29, 2005

Genealogue Exclusive: Hereditary Society Denies Bias

A Genealogue Exclusive [What's That?]
An officer of the National Society of the Daughters of Privileged Colonists defended her organization Thursday against charges of prejudice.

"It's preposterous," said Rebecca Mildieux, secretary of the Society's New Jersey branch. "Our members trace their lineage from every English-speaking country in Europe. We even had a recent applicant who descended from an Irish colonist. If she had remembered to send her application by registered mail, I'm sure she would have been accepted."

Wendy Schisler, a descendant of Pennsylvania Dutch settlers, also claims that membership requirements are far too strict. "My ancestors weren't delegates to the Continental Congress, and they didn't own 'land equal in area to the District of Columbia as originally bounded.' They were just poor farmers."

NSDPC membership is granted, according to the Society's website, only to those who can prove descent from a colonial ancestor "whose deeds or estate contributed significantly to the foundation of our Nation." Nevertheless, Mildieux insists that the Society excludes no one without careful consideration.

"I can assure Miss Schisler that her application would be welcomed and given a fair hearing," she said, adding, "It's not like she's Polish."

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