Dames president hails from Columbiana

Judith Kennedy Arthur of Maylene is the new president of the George Maris Chapter of The Society of Colonial Dames XVII Century.

George Maris was the first chapter of the Colonial Dames formed in Alabama on Dec. 4, 1951. Currently the chapter has 50 members.

There are more than 400 members statewide.

“To become a member of the Dames, you must have an ancestor who was in this country prior to 1701, who performed service to his community,” Arthur said. “The research for this organization typically involves between 10 to 13 generations for which one must prove documented events such as birth, marriage and death of both husband and wife of each generation.”

Arthur has loved history since she first learned to read. After her children were grown, she began to research her family lines.

She began with her father’s line and learned she was eligible to become a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Colonial Dames. Arthur is also the current registrar of the David Lindsay Chapter of the ASDAR.

Arthur’s ancestor for Colonial Dames was William Freeborn, who is listed on the Founders Monument in Rhode Island.

He came to Boston from England in 1634, but was banished from Massachusetts for his religious beliefs.

Freeborn was a Quaker and a follower of Anne Hutchison, a Separatist. He moved to Rhode Island, along with many others for religious freedom including Roger Williams, founder of the oldest Baptist church congregation in America in 1638.

Freeborn became a miller and bought his mill from Samuel Wilbore. Wilbore is also listed on the Rhode Island monument and coincidentally is an ancestor of Arthur’s mother.

As Arthur became more familiar with research technologies, she became interested in researching the females in her family.

“I have concentrated most of my efforts on the women in my lines because I think they are often forgotten,” Arthur said. “The male lines are easier to find than the female lines. Researching the female lines, or the grandmothers as I call them, expands one’s genealogy significantly.”

The Colonial Dames will be celebrating their 100th anniversary in 2013.

“The organization has many functions including raising funds for college scholarships, maintaining the headquarters’ building in Washington D.C. and the Pocahontas Gardens in southern Virginia, promoting care for our veterans as well as patriotism,” said Arthur.

If you are interested in the Colonial Dames, e-mail Arthur at jkennedya@bellsouth.net.

Phoebe Donald Robinson can be reached by e–mail at phoeberobinson@bellsouth.net.