Several months ago, I stumbled upon a website for The Order of the First Families of Mississippi 1699 - 1817, an organization that will celebrate its 42nd anniversary next month. As stated on the organization's website, membership is open to "anyone who can prove lineal descent from a person who lived in what is now the State of Mississippi between 1699, when the French established the settlement of Old Biloxi, and December 10, 1817, when Mississippi was admitted to the Union." One of the Order's purposes is "To collect and preserve records, documents, and relics relating to the history and genealogy of Mississippi prior to its statehood."
Among the pages maintained on the Order's website is one entitled "Ancestor Roster." Four individuals on the list bear surnames of some of my ancestors: Fenner, Gibson, Middleton, and Stampley. And at least two more of my surnames, Baldridge and Porter, most certainly will be included on a future list. In fact, I am likely eligible for membership and plan to apply at some point in the near future.
It appears the Order works like this: Once an individual applies for membership and has been recommended by two current members, the new member works to develop the lineage of his/her ancestor (s). The website also includes some wonderful old photographs and biographies of early Mississippi settlers submitted by members who are descendants of the settlers. Of special interest to family researchers throughout the country is that genealogical records for over 1200 members can be obtained, for a fee, by contacting the OFFM Office, Post Office Box 821, Natchez, MS 39121-0821, or by contacting the Order through its website.