Qualification for membership in a lineage society may be determined by a variety of credentials, including:
- military service (i.e. Daughters of the American Revolution)
- a passenger on a specific ship (i.e. Mayflower passenger)
- an early settler in a specific area (i.e. First Families of Virginia)
- period of residence in a particular area (i.e. Order of Descent of Ancient Planters)
- ethnic/religious background (National Huguenot Society)
To document your proof of lineage, you will customarily begin with yourself and create what is known as a family group sheet for your immediate family (your parents and siblings) with names, dates and places for each event (birth, marriage, death). Each of these events in a person's life will need to be documented with records such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, land records, military records, wills/probate records, etc. You then continue the process of creating family groups sheets for your ancestors back in a line to the ancestor who provides your qualification for membership. Many societies have such strict membership requirements that each sibling in each family will require a separate family group sheet. This can literally mean 100s of group sheets worth of info, plus all of the required proof by the time you are done!