San Mateo County Genealogical Society's Blog featuring society events, projects, meeting notes and other items of relevance to genealogists.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The Order of the Owls

by Barbara Ebel

Portion of an envelope circa 1915

As I’ve been scanning the Layng and Tinney mortuary files, I’ve run across men who belonged to an organization called “Order of the Owls” which I’d never heard of.  In googling the topic, I found it was a fraternal organization founded in 1904 in Indiana by John Talbot.  Its purpose was to assist other members in business, obtaining employment, and assisting widows and orphans of members.

Arthur Preuss: A Dictionary of Secret and Other Societies 1924
The descriptions of this society go on for over two more pages 

“Owls do good, speak kindly, shake hands (there was, of course, a secret handshake) warmly, and respect and honor their women.”  Membership was open to white males, most of them Catholic.  

The San Mateo County Historical Association has a web page about the Owls.  There are many other Owl images on the web, but most are listed as “may be subject to copywrite” so no more are included here.  You can google them, though, if you’re interested.  

Redwood City’s branch (called a Nest) disbanded in 1997.

San Mateo County Historical Association - Order of the Owls  
Order of Owls - Wikipedia


If you would like to give Barbara a hand scanning the mortuary files (either at the library or in the comfort of your own home) contact 

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