The Other Half of Our Ancestry

Women in lineIt is very unfortunate that many of our female ancestors do not get the full recognition that the male lineage obtains by family history researchers.  Check your family pedigree chart and you will have numerous locations along a female line that just the first name is filled in and no maiden name.  Those lines are at a stopping point until more can be learned about her birth family.

Even the female ancestors where we have a full name, birth, marriage and death dates and locations, we may know very little in addition. What about any schooling or special skills such as playing a piano or singing were done by this female relative?  How much more can be learned about her to provide greater insight into her life and the influence she had on her family and community?

For true inspiration the online site titled: Notable Women Ancestors: Women’s Biographies has some fantastic mini-biographies on not only the celebrated, famous and heroines throughout history, but also many everyday, ordinary females whose own stories are remembered and shared on the site.

Some of the famous include the authors Jane Austen and Laura Ingells Wilder, along with those who were well-known in the educational, social reform; health care and religious fields are all profiled.

The lessen-known, but just as outstanding female biographies on the web site are submitted by family members about their relatives. There was Carrie Yost Hamilton who had the opportunity to meet and shake the hand of President Abraham Lincoln in early 1865. Yet, Carrie’s life story didn’t end there, it included about her travels across the United States by train, living in Stockton, California and developing a honey farm.

There is the biography of Mary Draper Ingles who in 1755 was captured by Indians in Virginia and taken miles away to their village.  By using her wits and courage, she finally managed to escape and make it back to her husband William Ingles. She had been to regions unknown by the authorities and she provided the necessary information to chart and better know the region.  She was a true heroine.

Added to these many true female biographies can be the one of my own great-great grandmother, Susan C. Smith Groff, who in October 1862, while her husband, Capt. Groff was in the Union Army, faced the prospect of approaching Confederate troops marching towards her hometown of Frederick, Maryland.  Sensing the urgency Susan gathered up some 90 rifles from her neighbors so the Rebel troops would not get them.   Those weapons were hid  in a well until the Confederate soldiers left the town.  Then she took those rifles and turned them over to the U.S. Army where they were transported to Washington, DC. I located this story in the October 21, 1862 issue of the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper.

So these simple stories certainly provide us with greater insight to our ancestors, especially the female lines. Never overlook any opportunity to research and find those hidden stories of the other side of your ancestry.

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