AOH Directories

1884 and 1902 National Officers Directories
In the latter part of the 20th century, the Ancient Order of Hibernians had expanded into 30 states and reached its peak of enrolled members of nearly 100,00. At some point publication of a National Directory of Officers was initiated. Only two complete copies are in the hands of the National Archivist…1884 & 1902. In the age before computers it doubtless was thought that a national roster of membership would not be possible due to its size and cost of production. The 1884 Directory is not in the best of shape and distinguishing certain letters in a name can be difficult. The 1902 is better in terms of quality and substantially larger. Neither Directory can be considered complete for two reasons. First, in 1884 communication was difficult and AOH Divisions were often in far flung mining camps, canal sites, railroad depots or at remote ‘Falls’ sites which powered mills. Paperwork may not have been given a priority and many reports may have arrived after publication. There are no LAOH listings because it was not founded until 1894. Secondly, in 1902 the Order had just undergone an internal split over the issue of membership being open only to the native Irish or also to the American born. There also were disputes involving the appointment of the leadership from Ireland and the site of national conventions which had been limited to New York City. This internal confusion mitigated against a complete inventory of Divisions. The Directories can be useful in terms of identifying whether an individual was an officer, where he or she lived, and whether there were other family members nearby. Some of the Divisions were located in places no longer found in maps but only in local folklore. Unfortunately there is no indication of the origin of any member in Ireland. It is safe to say that in 1902 most of the officers were native to Ireland as it was for many years a condition of membership. But as to the County or place you will have to consult other public or church records, or a possible reference in obituaries that occasionally occurred in the AOH Digest.