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At one point, those we worked with mentioned confusion over the difference between a person who is "related" to someone and a person who is a "direct line descendant."
A direct line relationship follows one’s pedigree through parent, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. This type of relationship is necessary for any proving of connection for lineage societies (e.g., DAR, DUV - Daughters of Union Veterans, SUVCW - Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Mayflower Society, Colonial Dames, etc.). For those interested in those organizations, there MUST BE a direct line relationship (hence the name “lineage society”). Just being related (e.g., cousin, grand-uncle, spouse’s parents, etc.) is not sufficient; neither is adoption usually acceptable, though some societies may have different rulings on this (e.g., as the wife of a direct descendant of Roger Williams, I am entitled to join the Roger Williams Society). Therefore, the connection we seek may have extreme importance to the applicant (esp. if seeking money - e.g., scholarships - or other benefits of lineage society membership). Being related to William Penn is not the same thing as being a direct descendant.