Weekly Planner: Learn About the Women in Your Family Tree

Did you know that March is National Women’s History Month? Why not honor the women in your family tree by learning a little more about what their lives were like? While our female ancestors didn’t always leave as many records as we would like, their contemporaries may have. Look for social histories on what life was life in the times and places in which your family lived. If you’d like to see some titles from my collection, see the titles below. Feel free to add your favorite women’s history titles in the Comments section. 

America’s Women: Four Hundred Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates, and Heroines, by Gail Collins (Harper Collins, 2003)

Erin’s Daughters in America: Irish Immigrant Women in the Nineteenth Century, by Hasia R. Diner (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1983)

Ireland’s Women: Writings Past and Present, selected by Katie Donovan, A. Norman Jeffares, and Brendan Kennelly
(W.W. Norton & Co., 1994)

A Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812, by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich (Vintage Books, 1990)

Good Wives: Image and Reality in the Lives of Women in Northern New England, 1650-1750, by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich (Vintage Books, 1980)

Foreign and Female: Immigrant Women in America, 1840-1930, by Doris Weatherford (Facts on File, 1995)

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Is It Worth It? You Bet It Is! by Paula Stuart-Warren, CG

That question comes to me very often. The inquirer typically wants assurance that a subscription, membership, reference book, or genealogical event is worth their time and money. Nine times out of ten I answer with a resounding, “YES!”

Is it worth it to order the death certificate since there was so much in the index? Is it worth it to go to the state archives? Is it worth it to go to genealogy conferences (classes, seminars, institutes, cruises) since so much is online? Is it worth it to subscribe to Ancestry.com or another online database? Is it worth it to hire someone in that county? Read on for the verdicts.

Genealogical Societies
What do you find in a genealogical society?

  • Friends
  • People who care about family no matter who they are or what they did.
  • Contact with someone who has researched at the Family History Library or the county courthouse.

No organized group in your area? Post a notice at the local history room, the community bulletin board, the local newspaper, and tell friends and neighbors. Ask if the county historical society would put a notice in their newsletter or website. Invite people to meet at a restaurant or in a reserved room at the library. Then, just begin talking with each other. If you are an old hand at family history research, you can share your knowledge with those just beginning the journey. Worth it rating: 10 out of 10. Continue reading

Social Statistics Census Schedules: Another View into Ancestral Context

by George G. Morgan

The United States federal censuses date back to 1790, having been authorized by ratification of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Over the decades, the formats of each census have changed, the volume of information requested grew, and the number and type of census schedule forms changed.

In 1850, 1860, and 1870, the Social Statistics schedule was used to obtain detailed information about social conditions in a county or area. I spent part of last Saturday morning examining microfilm of the 1860 Social Statistics schedules for Virginia. As I began writing this article, I was studying the contents of the “Eastern District, in the County of Campbell of Virginia for the year ending June 1, 1860.” Here are the categories of columns and the types of information I discovered.

Real Estate Value
Valuation of Real Estate (#1,361,591) and Personal Estate ($493,066), How Valued (Assessment Commission), and True Valuation ($2,022,322)

Seasons & Crops
What crops are short? To what extent? Usual average crop? In the Eastern District of Calhoun County, wheat was at one-third of its annual yield and corn was at one-sixth its annual yield. (In another county, the enumerator made the notation, “The short crops was [sic] caused by an uncommon frost on the 5th of June, 1859.” (What effect would that have had on families and the economy in 1859-60?) Continue reading

Tips from the Pros: Using ‘Find’ in Windows

from George G. Morgan

When searching for names or words on long Web pages, don’t forget to use the “Find” function available in most Windows-based programs. You can access this by going to the menu and clicking on Edit, and then on Find. The keyboard shortcut makes it available by pressing the CTRL+F. In the window that pops up, enter either the full word/surname or a part of it. Windows will search for a match on that character string. Continue pressing the Enter key to proceed throughout the Web page until a message is displayed that no matches were found. You can quickly reduce your search time in this way. 

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Your Quick Tips, 24 March 2008

20080324- 15 mi E Fish Ck NV PR Wiley 1917_edited-1.bmpLabeling Electronic Images
When scanning in old family photos to share with the family, I add the information, such as name, place, and date, to the border of the print. I use an image editing program to do this. If the photo does not have a border, I create one. If a person wants to print the photo and does not want the information it is easy to crop off, but by keeping the label, the photo and identification will not be separated.
(The image here on the blog is an example. Click on the image to enlarge it.)
Diane Harman-Hoog Continue reading

The Year Was 1921

The year was 1921 and in Ireland, there was a truce between the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and the British government, ending the Anglo-Irish War. Per the truce, Ireland was partitioned with six of Ulster’s nine counties forming Northern Ireland, and the remainder of Ireland becoming the Irish Free State, which held dominion status.
The Irish Free State was given some autonomy, but the dominion status was a bitter pill to swallow for those who had fought for independence in the Anglo-Irish War. The dissention between those who opposed the Treaty and those against escalated into the Irish Civil War in 1922.

Race relations turned violent in the U.S. with a series of riots in the years following World War I. Tulsa, Oklahoma, had grown from 10,000 residents in 1910 to more than 100,000 in 1920 due to an oil boom. Tensions had been running high in the city between whites and blacks. When a black shoe shiner was accused of attacking a white elevator operator and as rumors of a lynching circulated by a local newspaper, violence erupted. In a scuffle between a white man and a black WWI veteran, a gun went off and one of the worst race riots in U.S. history began. When it was over, more than 1,200 homes in the black neighborhood of Greenwood were destroyed. Estimates as to the death toll range from two to three hundred. (Don’t Know Much About History, by Kenneth C. Davis)

Anti-immigrant sentiments also ran high and that mood was reflected in the passage of the Emergency Quota Act, which Congress passed on 21 May 1921. Fueled by the fears of uneducated foreigners flooding the work force, the law established quotas for the first time, and the formula for those quotas was particularly harsh for Japanese and southern and eastern Europeans. According to They Came in Ships, by John Philip Colletta, “This was what many European and Japanese families had feared; families were split by an ocean, with no idea of when, if ever, they would be reunited….Many desperate Europeans were ready to take drastic steps. Southern and eastern Europeans flocked to northern European ports to book passage on northern European vessels…You may discover that a southern or eastern European ancestor who came to the United States between 1921 and 1924 left Europe from Liverpool, Le Havre, or Bremen.”

In many countries, women still did not have the right to vote. In 1921, suffrage was granted to women in Sweden (with some restrictions), Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Lithuania. 

The first birth control clinic in London, England, was opened by Marie Stopes in 1921. A feminist, Marie became interested in the subject of birth control after meeting Margaret Sanger, who had opened the first birth control clinic in the United States in 1916. (Sanger’s clinic was promptly shut down by police, and she was imprisoned for a time.) 

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Photo Corner, 24 March 2008

Robert Byron Kennedy, and Helen Buckley Kennedy, January 1917 in Denver, ColoradoContributed by Eileen Lemons
The photograph is of my father, Robert Byron Kennedy, and his mother, Helen Buckley Kennedy.  The picture was taken in January 1917 in Denver, Colorado.

Click on an image to enlarge it.

Susannah Catherine Davison (nee Reeves), b.  20 Sept. 1860 in Auglaize County, Ohio, and granddaughter, Leone Alma Bubeck nee Davison. b. 11 Aug. 1902 in Lima, OhioContributed by Pamela Wells (nee Roberson),
Trinity, Florida via Dayton, Ohio
This is a photo of my great-great-grandmother, Susannah Catherine Davison (nee Reeves), b.  20 Sept. 1860 in Auglaize County, Ohio, and my grandmother, Leone Alma Bubeck nee Davison. b. 11 Aug. 1902 in Lima, Ohio.

Next Week…

General Washington at Christ Church, Easter Sunday, 1795, by J.L.G. Ferris I’ve been busy preparing the newsletters this week for March 24th and 31st. I’ll be out of the office during the week of March 24th, to spend some time with my daughter while she’s on spring break.

I did want to take a moment though to wish you all a happy spring and a Blessed Easter!


P.S. I found this photo in the LOC Photo Collection. It is General Washington at Christ Church, Easter Sunday, 1795, by J.L.G. Ferris and thought it was pretty neat. Click on the image to enlarge it.

Sharing Your Ancestry Press Project

Ancestry____logo1.bmpWas just checking out the Ancestry blog and saw a post from Stefanie Condie about an enhancement to Ancestry Press. According to the blog,

Today we launched an exciting new feature that many of you have requested: the ability to share AncestryPress projects in a digital format. You can now invite family members and friends to view your project and, if they wish, order a printed copy of it. We’ve also made a navigation change that will make it easier for you to access our growing array of backgrounds.

Click here to read the entire post and learn how to share your AncestryPress project.