Become a Member of the National Society of Colonial Dames

What is the National Society of Colonial Dames?

The NSCDA is an organization of women which actively promotes our national heritage through historic preservation, patriotic service and educational projects. Founded in 1891, there are over 15,200 members in 44 state societies. We share a passion for historic preservation and through our museum properties; patriotic and educational programs provide outreach to our local communities. More than 70 historic properties throughout the country are owned, managed by or associated with our various state societies.

What do we do in the Massachusetts Society?

We maintain a current membership of approximately 400 members and operate 3 historic houses including our early 19th century headquarters, Prescott House in Boston. We offer a full schedule of educational programs, social events, and trips for members; maintain an important costume collection; and sponsor or host projects relating to patriotic services; such as a school essay contest and a reception for veterans. If our projects interest you, here is information on how you may join!

Steps to Becoming a Member

Membership is by invitation and is managed at the state level. It is based on lineage and dedication to the Society’s mission. Our members are direct descendants of an ancestor who lived in an American colony and who rendered service to the colonies before July 5, 1776.


An applicant first needs to identify an appropriate ancestor who gave official or professional service to the colony before July 4, 1776. A good place to identify a potential ancestor is to look on the NSCDA web site: Resources relating to an ancestor may be found by clicking on the name of the ancestor in the Index.


Once a colonial ancestor has been identified, an application to become a candidate must be voted on by the Board of Managers. This requires the support of a proposer, seconder and two members from the Board.


After being invited to become a candidate, a genealogist is assigned to work with the individual to help her acquire the proper documents to prove blood relationship, i.e. birth certificates, marriage license, etc.


Upon completion of her lineage papers, signed by the genealogist and the registrar, a formal invitation is mailed to the candidate.

What are the benefits of membership?

The main benefit of membership is meeting and working with compatible women who share a strong interest in history, education and genealogy. This can involve actively helping with one of our historic houses, serving on a committee, or simply supporting our activities through membership dues and attendance at events. Also, Dames may visit Dumbarton House, our 19th century historic headquarters house in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, DC ( or participate in trips to Sulgrave Manor in Oxfordshire, England, the George Washington family ancestral home endowed by the NSCDA.

Where do I get more information or help with my application?

Please contact the Society at 617-742-3190 or email If you are related to a Dame in the NSCDA, please provide her name and Society of membership.