The Life Lessons Of Right Eminent Grand Commander Sir Ronald D. Gerac

Sir Ronald D. Gerac, M.Ed. Right Eminent Grand Commander Lone Star Grand Commandery Order of the Knights Templar

Sir Ronald D. Gerac, M.Ed.
Right Eminent Grand Commander
Lone Star Grand Commandery
Order of the Knights Templar

Sir Ronald D. Gerac, M.Ed. Right Eminent Grand Commander Lone Star Grand Commandery Order of the Knights Templar, Prince Hall Texas is a Freemason of preeminence. You perhaps have heard the saying used in advertisement, “When E. F. Hutton talks, people listen.” Well when EGC Gerac talks, Freemasons listen – intently.

Gerac is that kind of individual who can enter a room and immediately takeover. He gives you the sense that he is in command all the while being able graciously to poke fun at others and himself.

Gerac is an optimist and he never hesitates to attempt to lift all in his presence up to the next level. He is our chief cheerleader.

Gerac understands fully and completely that Freemasonry is a way of life. Therefore, you will often hear him talking about life and how the virtues of Freemasonry are applicable to our daily lives, right here, right now.

His 2014 Allocution to his Commandery illustrates this approach, always in a colorful way.

A year ago, I charged you to not live your 2013 as 2012: The Sequel. Well, did you, or did you not? Are you experiencing new levels of life that are 180 degrees away from where you were, or are you still continuing to do the same things you were doing and expecting a different result? Have you surrounded yourself with likeminded people for your spiritual growth, or are you still hanging around negative people? It’s okay if you are. Believe me, because negativity has its own share of benefits.

Negativity serves a purpose. It helps you to see the positive in the world, just as the darkness allows you to see the stars. If you didn’t have negative experiences, you would never be able to appreciate the positive ones. If you were never sad, you wouldn’t know what it felt like to be happy. If you never felt fear, you wouldn’t know what faith felt like. If you were positive ALL the time, then you wouldn’t even know you were being positive because there would be no contrast. You would feel the same all the time.

Negativity forces the BELIEVER to feel those painful emotions so that he or she can recognize and appreciate the positive emotions. Negativity builds character and strength when we persevere and overcome it. It causes the BELIEVER to build mental and emotional muscle. Here’s some advice for you who have had your fair share of negativity: increase your positive to negative ratio up to 3 to 1; that is, three positive emotions for every one negative emotion. Research shows that teams, couples, or individuals that experienced interactions at a ratio greater than 3 positives to one negative emotion were more productive and higher performing than those with a lower ratio. You have already had your first positive for the day. God woke you up. Did you thank Him for doing that? Do it before it’s too late. Here’s your second positive: Each and every one of you in this room today has had a part, albeit small or large, in helping me become who I am today. Because of your thoughts, prayers, conversation, advice, support, a smile, or maybe even something as small as a status like on Facebook, I am, and Marvin Sapp said it best, I’m stronger; I’m wiser, I feel better. So much better. The God I serve has blessed me with so many friends like you-some closer than others-but a blessing from God has no rank and only one value: priceless. Now you all are on your own for your third positive and don’t hold me responsible for your one negative.

Sir Ronald D. Gerac, M.Ed. Right Eminent Grand Commander Lone Star Grand Commandery Order of the Knights Templar with Grand Master Wilbert M. Curtis

Sir Ronald D. Gerac, M.Ed.
Right Eminent Grand Commander
Lone Star Grand Commandery
Order of the Knights Templar
with Grand Master Wilbert M. Curtis

In this last Templar year, I have come to notice an emergence of one particular type of behavior from people within our own circles that has brought itself to a level of profound disturbance within my spirit. People who we used to confide in are now, as they say, “all into their feelings” and don’t want as much to do with us as they used to. Bonds are breaking down. Friendships are being destroyed. The group dynamic in our Commanderies and Palaces is being threatened. In some cases, marriage relationships are cracking down the middle. That hand to your back for comfort has a knife in it. “We used to be cool, but now, I don’t know WHAT happened.” You have people that barely know you making opinions about you from other folks. They smile in your face. You know the rest of the lyrics. So what happened to these almost impenetrable friendships and relationships?

Allow me to talk to you about gardening for a few minutes. If you have ever done any type of gardening, you know that, for one, it does take work to yield a desired result. It also takes an investment of time and patience to do that work. You must have the right working tools to work with in order to keep your garden thriving. Other than drought, a gardener’s worst enemy is the weed. A weed masquerades itself like a plant. It needs water and sunlight to survive, just like a plant. Many times, an unsuspecting gardener is providing care for weeds and doesn’t realize this fact until it’s too late. What do we know about these weeds?

  1. Generally, weeds have absolutely no redeeming value as far as food, nutrition, or medicine are concerned. They multiply rapidly, are often poisonous if eaten, they taste bad, and they have thorns or other physical features that make them difficult to remove.
  2. Weeds compete with beautiful flowers, grasses, and other beneficial plants for water, sunlight, and nutrients, and making them starve to death. They cause a growth imbalance in beneficial plants because they quickly absorb more of one nutrient than another.
  3. Weeds compete for space. They appear as if they must be seen.
  4. Weeds are parasitic. In some cases, they can attach themselves to neighboring plants and steal their nutrients.

If you haven’t caught on yet, let me help you out just a little bit. SOME OF YOUR SO-CALLED FRIENDS ARE WEEDS.

  1. They have absolutely no redeeming value to your life. The more gullible people they talk to, the more rapidly they multiply. The more minds they poison. Their attitudes and dispositions become the thorns that make them difficult to be around.
  2. When they are around, it seems as if they starve you of the essentials of positive living that you are more used to experiencing daily. Do you ever get that feeling of being choked when these so-called friends come around? Does the tenor of your conversation change around them?
  3. When they are around, they absolutely must be seen and heard.
  4. Some of them siphon from the necessities of life that you originally allocate to close family members…money, food, transportation, advice, time, and love.

When some of us read the first part of John 10:10, we take it for the face-value literal translation that we receive when we read it.

The thief does not come except to steal, kill, and destroy.

We take that to mean the stealing of worldly goods and possessions. We think of the physical killing of people. We think of the destruction of actual edifices and physical buildings. We don’t look deeper into it to see that the writer also meant that for those that steal, they rob us and others of the truth. While they are not speaking the truth, or the whole truth, they kill synergetic and kindred spirits among friends and brothers. They purposely destroy relationships…friend to friend, husband to wife, Master or Matron to the membership. Sir Knights and Princesses, the ENEMY himself is the source, but we are too blind, or as they say, “all into our feelings” to see it clearly.

Get out of your feelings. Wake up and see the destruction that you had a hand in, but caused by that so called friend of yours who you thought was giving you good, sound advice, but actually was just spreading mess and gossip, much like a weed spreads its seeds and multiplies at a rapid rate. Kill your weeds. Yes, KILL YOUR WEEDS. Not by standard weapons of defense and harm, such as a firearm, knife, or some blunt object like a baseball bat or a frying pan. Once you recognize who the weeds are in your life, the best way to kill that weed is like this: ***pick up cell phone, slide ringer over to IGNORE*** Ignore the phone call from the weed. Block the number if you have to. Don’t nurture it by giving it the time or attention it needs to survive. We say “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine?” Don’t let YOUR light shine on the weed to help it grow. Let the weed find someone else to poison. If you must converse with the weed, combat it with truth. Don’t allow the weed to come to you and say, “I heard this from somebody…I won’t say who, but this is what I heard.” That is POISON attempting to spread POISON. Anyway, if what that “somebody” said was true, then they need to be MAN or WOMAN enough to say it to your face. Don’t lower your standards to hear it from someone else. Kill your weeds. Prune them out of your life. If they are not helping you to become a better person, why are you still listening to them? Why do you take their word over someone more credible? Why don’t you ask the direct questions yourselves? And better yet, why haven’t you told that weed of a friend that you are not having that from them anymore? You complain about what you allow when you have the power to stop it altogether.

Friends, let’s nurture each other. Let’s help each other rise to the next level. Let’s strengthen each other through prayer, advice, random acts of kindness, and love.

I conclude with this thought: Life is like a camera. FOCUS on what’s important. CAPTURE the good times. DEVELOP from the negatives. And if things don’t work out, TAKE ANOTHER SHOT.

May God bless our active and retired Armed Forces personnel, first responders, local law enforcement, and firemen. God bless America. God bless the Lone Star Family. God bless Prince Hall Masonry in Texas and abroad. And may God have mercy on us and bless us all.

Humbly submitted,


Sir Ronald D. Gerac, M.Ed.
Right Eminent Grand Commander
Lone Star Grand Commandery of Texas
Order of the Knights Templar

And in another address to his Commandery, again always in a colorful way:

Templar standard flagTo All Sir Knights and Princesses beholding to the Lone Star Grand Commandery, Order of the Knights Templar, and the Lone Star Grand Guild, Heroines of the Templars Crusade, State of Texas and its Jurisdiction, Prince Hall Affiliated:

Some time ago, you all heard me speak of this thing called a “Masonic Turd.” For those of you reading this and thinking, “What the…?!” In short, it is my own colorful way of describing a Masonic error that has gone uncorrected for a period of time. I know it is not the most prudent term that can be used to label such a situation, but one must admit that it does grab the attention of the listener.

I remember a long time ago, a famous comedian was telling a joke about a neglectful family. I am in no way channeling the joke right now, as I cannot remember the whole thing. Besides, the joke is not the focal point here. The comedian said the family had a dog who would just defecate at will and on cue anywhere in the house. When the dog “dropped one” in the living room, no one in the family bothered to clean it up. The turd just sat there. In fact, it sat there so long that the next generation treated it as a drink coaster. They just started setting their drink on it like it was just a part of the furniture. The sad part is this: to the new generation, it was furniture. This was an error that had gone uncorrected for quite some time.


I reintroduce this topic because it seems like since I first brought this term to light a little over a year ago, I have personally encountered more situations where a Masonic error has gone uncorrected. One case involved a principal officer in an organization whose duty was to give a monthly report on all the sick and shut-in members on the roll and an annual report on all members reported for the calendar year. Not only did this principal officer not perform the prescribed duty, but no other member or officer charged him to do so. Eventually, others did not regard the proper practice of this ever so significant duty. Another case involved a Lodge in one situation and a grand body in another separate situation where neither entity knew how to handle and process a demit certificate. In both cases, they just allowed their respective situations to just “sit” there. The problem is simple, either the teachers are NOT teaching, or the learners are NOT listening.

How will we ever get bigger and better if we don’t improve ourselves in Masonry? I again ask each of you, Sir Knights and Princesses all, to look deeply within your Asylums and Palaces. Examine your processes and methods. Do they fall in concert with your constitution? Are officers well versed in their primary and ancillary duties? Are officers and members asking questions? Are officers “just winging it?”

I challenge all constituent Commanderies and Guilds to identify the top three processes and methods that are in dire need of improvement. Make this new Templar Year the year where those identified areas of need will no longer be a concern for you. Let’s start now and not later with improving the way we operate internally. Let’s improve our systems and processes. Let’s ask questions when we don’t understand. If you do not, you will die on the vine and it will take Miracle Grow to rejuvenate your organization. Don’t be like the “turd” that no one ever wants to clean up. Put on your gloves, grab your cleaning supplies, and let’s get to cleaning up our Masonic errors.

Sir Ronald D. Gerac, M.Ed.
Right Eminent Grand Commander
Lone Star Grand Commandery of Texas
Order of the Knights Templar

Here endeth the Life Lessons of EGC Roanald D. Gerac. Take due notice and govern yourselves accordingly.

Walter Hunt, Freemason’s Information Age Pioneer

Interesting people do interesting things and some of the most interesting to me are Masonic artisans or craftsmen. The cream of the crop are those who are multi talented having expertise across a number of fields. When I wrote about Patrick Craddock I noted:

Successful people are multi- talented and multi-faceted people. If you take a look at Brothers David Naughton-Shires and Ryan Flynn you will notice that they have interests and expertise in a wide range of different areas. What they do in one field is buttressed by what they know in another. When you combine a working knowledge of mathematics, science, history and religion with such sub headings of scholarship perhaps such as numerology, sacred geometry, historical preservation, symbology, ancient mystery schools, Gnosticism, computer science and other such studies, you become a well rounded person able to pull from other areas for your vision.

Here are some of these multi talented Freemason artisans and craftsmen who have graced the pages of Freemason Information and Phoenixmasonry.

Shot From The Cannon – David Naughton-Shires And The Masonic Art Exchange

Patrick Craddock And The Craftsman’s Apron

The Multi Talented Masonic Graphic Artist Brother Ryan J. Flynn

Brother Jim McBeth, Masonic Knife Craftsman

Walter Hunt 1Now it is time to add another multi talented Masonic artisan to the group, Right Worshipful Brother Walter Hunt, Grand Historian for the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts AF & AM.  Hunt is a most remarkable man who has been a writer all his life and a full time professional since 2001. He is the author of four science fiction novels by Tor Books – The Dark Wing series, which has been compared to the works of, Orson Scott Card, Frank Herbert, David Weber, and J.R.R. Tolkien. The series has been published in English and German and The Dark Wing has also appeared in Russian.


Since these works he has written “A Song In Stone,” which deals with the mystery of Rosslyn Chapel and the secrets of the Templars.

Hunt writes of his inspiration for A Song In Stone:

Walter Hunt 6“In the summer of 2005, I had the opportunity to visit Rosslyn Chapel, an extraordinary site just seven miles from Edinburgh. The final scenes in the best-selling novel The DaVinci Code take place there; it’s said to be the resting place of the Ark of the Covenant and the Grail, among other things. It also has Masonic and Knight Templar connections. My tour guide that day was a fellow Mason, who was very knowledgeable about the place – both the traditional lore and the somewhat more esoteric stories. While I was standing with him in the northeast corner of the chapel – highly significant, that, as my fellow Masons will attest – he and I had a conversation similar to the one below.”

 “Look up there,” he said, pointing to the ceilings. I could see the pendant bosses hanging down from the place where four arched supports met; each arch was decorated with hundreds of boxlike projections and an assortment of carvings and decorations – animal and human figures, angels and devils, nature emblems and Green men.

“Extraordinary,” I managed.

“Unlike anything else,” he said. “There are countless numbers of places of worship, holy places, all across Europe and the world. But this is different, Ian. This is not merely a work of art: it’s a text written in stone. More than that – it’s a song.”

“I don’t quite get your meaning. A song?”

“Take a look around the arches. There are seven slightly different shapes for those boxes. There are seven notes in the scale. In fact, if you’ve a good ear, you could strike each of them and hear a slightly different sound.

“Now imagine if all of them – there are more than fourteen hundred – were arranged as music . . . It’s the healing music of Rosslyn,” Madson said softly, looking away from me as if he were trying to remember something.

“I don’t think that was in my briefing.”

“No, it wouldn’t be,” he said. “But if it could be found . . .” “What happens then?”

“It heals the world.”

. . . And, as sometimes happens in my line of work, I had a moment of inspiration. A song, I thought. A whole plot dropped into my head; what if that song was truly the key to healing the world – what if it unlocked something of great importance? People have been trying to unlock the music for centuries; someone claims he’s actually done it, though my guide suggests that this falls short of the true “healing music”. But if the music was more complex, there might be an even more complex reason for it to have been encoded in the stones of the Chapel. From such small things are great things born. By the time I headed for home a week and a half later, I’d sketched out a plot for a new novel; by Labor Day there were five chapters. Within a year, there was an entire book. It was the first book I’ve written that isn’t part of the Dark Wing universe. The quoted portion above is from that book.

He goes on to describe Rosslyn Chapel:

The Apprentice Pillar

The Apprentice Pillar, which is said to be tied to Freemasonic legend. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Even the dimensions have meaning. As I began to plan out the plot of A Song In Stone, I became more and more aware of the strange field of sacred geometry – the way in which medieval builders created remarkable structures without resorting to advanced mathematics, computer-aided design, or any other modern convenience. There is a great confluence between the Gothic architectural style and the mathematics of music. It shows at Rosslyn, at the great cathedrals such as Chartres (explored later in the book, and to be described in a later post) . . . and at Rosslyn as well. Rosslyn is rightly called a “mystery chapel” – and it deserves better than to be an anticlimactic footnote. From the Lady Chapel to the decorated ceiling, from the pillars to the sacristy, Rosslyn is full of little mysteries waiting to be discovered.

Walter Hunt 7Lately Hunt has a few more irons in the fire. He is writing a sequel to A Song In Stone titled A Word In The Air. He is also working on another novel titled King & Country. “It’s an alternate-history timeline” he says, “an America with no United States; the American Revolution never happened. In fact, there is no hint of a revolution: the Atlantic colonies never consider the possibility of separation, because their relationship with the mother country is on a fundamentally different footing.”

Now so as you get the picture that is a very serious author who does not just dash off a bunch of words and slap them into a book, here is his reading list for research for this undertaking:

The Earlier Colonial Period

  • Andrews, Charles MThe Colonial Period of American History. This work is the definitive text on the colonial period. It is in four volumes, though Volume 1 and Volume 2 are the most important, as they provide the most complete descriptions on the origins of the British colonies (including offshore and Caribbean ones).
  • Bourne, RussellGods of War, Gods of Peace. An excellent insight into the religions of native societies as they came into contact with European ones.
  • Cordingly, DavidUnder the Black Flag. A real-life history of piracy, with considerable information on the lives of the most notorious pirates.
  • Fischer, David HackettAlbion’s Seed. An excellent study of the cultural origins of English-speaking colonies in America. While not as historically in-depth as the Andrews book for facts and details, it’s an easier and more fluid read. 0195069056
  • Jones, Daniel PThe Economic and Social Transformation of Rural Rhode Island. A dry discussion of early Rhode Island economics, particularly informative for the period just after King Philip’s War. 1555531210
  • Mandell, Daniel. Behind the Frontier. A study of the role of native peoples in Massachusetts Bay Colony during the eighteenth century. This is a good companion piece to the excellent Taylor book on New York natives (see below). 0803282494
  • McCormick, Richard PNew Jersey From Colony To State. A Rutgers University study of the transformation of the Jersey shore settlements up to the creation of the United States. (New Jersey’s development is less linear and more complex than other colonies, so this is a very useful book.) 081350662X
  • Mason, LauraSugar-Plums and Sherbet. Subtitled “The Prehistory of Sweets”, this book is an insightful discussion of the development of sugar and sugar products. 1903018285
  • Peckham, Howard HThe Colonial Wars: 1689-1762. Detailed discussion of the “forgotten wars” in America (not forgotten here, needless to say!) prior to the French and Indian War. 0226653145
  • Salinger, Sharon VTaverns and Drinking in Early America. A well-researched book about the culture of taverns and the social mores of drunkenness in colonial America. 0801878993
  • Singleton, Esther. Social New York Under the Georges. A wonderful source of information on New York life – furnishings, etc. – with pictures. Great stuff. 1406770493
  • Taylor, AlanAmerican Colonies. One of the best all-around books about colonial development in America. I had a conversation with a reenactor at Jamestown in the summer of 2007 who had some issues with Taylor’s conclusions, but the book is comprehensive and detailed. 0142002100
  • Vaughn, Alden PThe New England Frontier. A detailed discussion of relations with natives in New England during the seventeenth century (before King Philip’s War). 080612718X
  • Warden, G.BBoston 1689-1776. The 19th of April was famous in New England long before the Revolution – it was the day that Bostonians took Sir Edmund Andros prisoner in Fort William. This very informative book begins with that event and takes the reader all the way through the coming of the American Revolution. B000NOYL1M
  • Zemsky, RobertMerchants, Farmers and River Gods. Zemsky’s book is a study of leading citizens in Massachusetts Bay Colony prior to the Revolution. This B000KLXLY6

Eighteenth-Century Britain

  • Buchan. Crowded With Genius.
  • McLynn. Bonnie Prince Charlie.
  • Preble. Glencoe.
  • Preble. The Highland Clearances.
  • Schama, Simon. A History of Britain (3 vols, DVD)
  • Treasure. Who’s Who In Early Hanoverian Britain.
  • Treasure. Who’s Who In Late Hanoverian Britain.

French and Indian War

  • Anderson, Paul Crucible of War
  • Harvey A Few Bloody Noses
  • Jennings. Empire of Fortune
  • Parry Trade and Dominion

American Revolution Era

  • Allgor Parlor Politics
  • Middlekauff. The Glorious Cause
  • Middlekauff. Benjamin Franklin and His Enemies
  • Schecter. The Battle for New York

Early 19th Century

  • Key, Jane Holtz. Lost Boston. A photographic essay on the city of Boston, 1558495274

Middle 19th Century

Land and Sea Warfare

  • Black, Jeremy Warfare in the Eighteenth Century
  • Herman To Rule the Waves
  • Lavery, Ship of the Line (2 vols)

Hunt says this bibliography is a bit out of date as he has added to it. My goodness, that is a lot of reading to do for one book!                     Elements

But before he completes this epic work he is going to publish a 1632 novel with the help of Eric Flint. It is set in 1636, and takes place mostly in the New World.

Hunt has still another work in progress, this one almost complete. The Book is title “Elements of Mind,”  a novel that is set around 1860, and deals with mesmerism – a sort of pseudoscience that swept England in the middle 19th century. The principal characters are almost exclusively real people, though in many cases their histories have been altered or elaborated to fit the story.

Hunt doesn’t just limit himself to writing, however. He is also the designer of a board game called Rails of New England.

Rails of New England

 Rails of New England 3If this is all Hunt did it would be quite an accomplishment. Yet this man is also an active Freemason. Grand Historian,Right Worshipful Walter Hunt is a member of Norumbega Fraternity Lodge, Grand Lodge of Massachusetts AF & AM, which was originally  a merger of  Norumbega and Brookline Lodges, 03/12/1984, where Hunt was Master in 1993-1994 and then that merger merged with Fraternity & Fuller Lodge to form Norumbega Fraternity Lodge,10/05/2001. Hunt is also Past Master of Mount Hollis Lodge of the same jurisdiction where he served as Master in 1999 and 2006.

Hunt writes for the Trowel, the magazine of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts AF & AM. He has an ongoing series right now of in depth looks at Massachusetts Past Grand Masters you have never heard of. When the editorship of the Trowel became available recently Hunt was one of two semi finalists for the position.

Here is a list of articles that he has authored for the Trowel:

  • Summer 2009: “A Grand Historian For Our Grand Lodge.”
  • Winter 2009: “Masonic Team-Building.”
  • Spring 2010: “Our Grand Master Visits Our Brothers in Panama.”
  • Fall 2010: “Grand Masters of Massachusetts: John Cutler and Samuel Dunn.”
  • Winter 2010: “Grand Masters of Massachusetts: Isaiah Thomas, Benjamin Russell – Printers, Patriots, Freemasons.”
  • Spring 2011: “Grand Masters of Massachusetts: Joseph Jenkins, John Abbot – The Builder of the Temple and the Defender of the Craft.”
  • Summer 2011: “Grand Masters of Massachusetts: Joshua B. Flint.”
  • Winter 2011: “Grand Masters of Massachusetts: Paul Dean – Careful Steward.”
  • Spring 2012: “Grand Masters of Massachusetts: George Randall – Apostle in the Wilderness.”
  • Summer 2012: “Browsing the Proceedings of Grand Lodge.”
  • Fall 2012: “Grand Masters of Massachusetts: John T. Heard.”
  • Winter 2012: “Grand Masters of Massachusetts: Augustus Peabody – A Profound Thinker and Good Man”
  • Spring 2013: “Grand Marshal to Grand Master.”
  • Summer 2013: “Grand Masters of Massachusetts: Charles C. Dame – The Fraternity Rebuilds.”
  • Fall 2013: “Grand Masters of Massachusetts: William Sewall Gardner – Holding the Scales in Equipoise.”
  • Winter 2013: “Grand Masters of Massachusetts: Sereno Dwight Nickerson – ‘Si Monumentum Requiris, Circumspice.’ “
  • Spring 2014: (pending): “Grand Masters of Massachusetts: Claude LeRoy Allen – A Different Time.”

But his crowning Masonic achievement, the pièce de résistance , is his website  Masonic Genealogy.

MasonicGenealogy is intended for use as a research tool for Masonic historians. It is the synthesis of readily-available sources presented in the form of a wiki, a searchable database consisting of pages connected by links. The content is constantly evolving and enlarging, and all material on the site is subject to change as new material becomes available.

Here is how this project came about in Hunt’s own words:

“The primary author was at the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts at one of its Quarterly Communications in the fall of 2009, and met three Brothers from Rufus Putnam Lodge in Rutland, Massachusetts. These Brothers were interested in finding out information about their Lodge’s history.”

“Their initial inquiry ran up against one of the greatest problems with our otherwise-terrific Grand Lodge Library and its extensive records, the Proceedings which chronicle the doings of our Grand Lodge from 1733 to the present: there is no comprehensive index. There are indexes in some of the more than 140 volumes of the Proceedings (though not all), and there is a card catalog (incomplete) composed around 1951 that covers some (but not all) of the topics – people, places, lodges, events – from our long history. But there is no overall, up-to-date index.”

“And so began the quixotic notion of creating an index – by, as another of Masonic Genealogy’s principals says, “turning every page.” Thus, over a series of months, every page of the Proceedings from 1792 to the present has been turned (the work is ongoing). The site now contains pages for every lodge ever chartered, and virtually every lodge for which a dispensation was ever issued, in Massachusetts. Similar data sets exist for other states. There is a page for every year of the Grand Lodge’s history (the work is ongoing), listing all of the events of that year, in some cases illustrated by pictures from the Proceedings and elsewhere. Other topic pages are being developed; see the Current events page to see what exists and what’s new.”

It is real genius placing a cataloging system into a wiki. Hunt explains some of the benefits:

  • By referencing a Year page, the user can readily see the events of that year, including the Grand Master, the dates and events of Quarterly Communications, elections and decisions, and necrology information from that year. Each year also includes a summary of all lodges in existence during that year, both chartered and under dispensation.
  • By referencing a Location page, the user can see a list of all lodges that met in that place, along with the years they met there. It is intended eventually to list the building locations and information about those buildings, but that is not yet in place.
  • By referencing a Lodge page, the user can see information about the lodge of that name, along with a list of years the lodge was active; where the date appears in bold, there is a reference for that lodge in the corresponding year. Each lodge page also includes the charter and dispensation date, the Grand Master issuing the charter, the places it met, and the current disposition of its charter, if known.

From a layman’s point of view the wiki format has obvious advantages. It is on a database not web pages.  It doesn’t exist until you click on it. There is no realistic limit to how much data you can enter. It’s easy to set up and has the ability to rapidly locate things. It is very fast!

And the links, did I mention the links? You can put links on a page which link to another page which has numerous links to other pages which when you link onto them have still more links. And this goes on forever and can bring you back to where you started. It’s like one big circle. Hunt says, “Think of a wiki as a roll top desk with pigeon holes.”

Some of the other advantages are that a wiki has an edit link for every page. It writes the html for you. Most wikis store old copies of pages and often will show you what changes you have made on those pages.

Nathan Matias at Sitepoint – has some further wiki advantages to mention.

  • Creating New Pages Is Simple With Wikis: Wikis let you link to pages that don’t yet exist. Click on a link that points to a nonexistent page, and the wiki will ask you for initial content to put in the page. If you submit some initial content, the wiki will create the page. All links to that page (not just the one you clicked) will now point to the newly-created page.
  • Wikis Simplify Site Organization: As wikis work like hypertext databases, you can organize your page however you want. Many content management systems require you to plan classifications for your content before you actually create it. This can be helpful, but only if what you want to convey fits a rigid mould. With a wiki, you can organize your page into categories if you want, but you can also try other things. Instead of designing the site structure, many wiki site creators just let the structure grow with the content and the links inside their content. But you don’t have to have it either way. I do all three on my own site. Visitors can navigate the site by following a storyline, drilling down through a hierarchy, or they can just browse with the natural flow of the internal links. Without the wiki, such complexity would be a nightmare. Now that I use a wiki, I also find my site structure easier to manage than when I used a template system and a set of categories.
  • Wikis Keep Track of All Your Stuff: Because a wiki stores everything in an internal hypertext database, it knows about all your links and all your pages. So it’s easy for the wiki to show back links, a list of all the pages that linking to the current page. Since the wiki stores your document history, it can also list recent changes. Advanced wikis like the Wikipedia can even show a list of recent changes to pages that link to the current page.

Hunt tells us again, “A wiki grows organically. Take things in any order, in any time. Look at any page and see its history.”

Some come with me now to explore Masonic Genealogy. Under regional sections on the right click on Massachusetts. Click on Lodges and we will look up one of my former Lodges. Go to the P’s and click on Paul Revere.  Now under Anniversaries or Visits by Grand Master, take your pick, click on 2006- 150th anniversary. Now we find ourselves on the Jeffrey Hodgdon Grand Master page for 2006. Scroll down the page to Special Communications and find 10/14 2006 Brockton. Click on Brockton and then Paul Revere and we are back where we started.

Now this is a very simple route that we took. But you might have noticed along the way all the options you had to go elsewhere and make a bigger circle or a longer route. The cross referencing in this wiki presents you with the best cross referencing you have ever seen and you can use it without getting lost.

Lately Hunt is working on expanding and explaining all the annotations in the pages of the Grand Constitution.

The bottom line is that this is a tremendous tool for research and getting to know your Grand Lodge. It is the new Grand Lodge Search Engine!

Walter Hunt, a historian, writer, author, science fiction buff, board game aficionado and Freemason is making his mark on society and Freemasonry. His Masonic Genealogy will be a model for every Lodge in the United States if not the world and will bring Grand Lodges fully into the 21st century Information Age with both feet.