I spent the morning at the Orange Museum and Archive as I was curious to know what was available and whether it made sense for a group visit. I had discovered (in the Revision Books) that part of my ancestor’s land was split off to the Orange Lodge in Annahilt in 1882. We stopped to take a picture on Saturday.
I have to admit that I didn't know a lot about the Orange Order. Although I would guess that many of my ancestors were involved, there was no one to my knowledge who was involved in my lifetime. I definitely had Masonic connections, however, and many of the founders of the organization also were Masons. My knowledge of the organization was probably limited to news reports of parades in Northern Ireland. You can read more about the organization on the website of the Grand Orange Lodge in Ireland. It is strictly Protestant.
If you want to research your Orange Order ancestors, you need at a minimum to know the name (and number) of their lodge in Ireland and when your ancestor was associated with it. If you have sashes from your ancestor, you should find the number embroidered on the sash. There may, or may not be records for that particular Lodge. The best way to find out is to request information through the Archive...they will contact the Lodge to see if the records exist.
Another way to obtain information is through the local lodge where they emigrated. Below is a picture of a Certificate of Transfer, which basically states that the person was a member in good standing of their previous Lodge. If transferring in Ireland, the Certificate would be sent to the new Lodge and not given to the member. However, when emigrating, the member was given the Certificate to turn in at their new Lodge.
The Orange Lodge in Annahilt was built in 1883 which was after some of my ancestor's family emigrated, so they may have been members elsewhere. Just another thing to look at!