Posted by Ancestry Team on February 25, 2015 in Website, Women in History

You may have recently watched the Imitation Game and learned about Alan Turing’s efforts to defeat the Nazis with his ingenious computer work.  But do you know who is credited with creating the first computer program?  Would you have guessed an English Countess?

Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace, born 1815 and died 1852 in England, is credited with creating the first computer program.

She was baptized December 20, 1815 as Augusta Ada Byron, daughter of Lord George Gordon Byron and Anne Isabella (née Milbanke) Byron.

baptism

She married William Lord King, who subsequently became the Earl of Lovelace making Ada the Countess of Lovelace.

marriage

 

But Ada wasn’t content with just being a Countess and a mother of 3. Ada was well educated and continued her education and research after her marriage. She worked with Charles Babbage on his “analytical engine.” This eventually led to her translating notes of young engineer and future Italian Prime Minister Luigi Menabrea into English.  Her notes were incredibly extensive and part of those notes included an algorithm for computing Bernoulli Numbers on Babbage’s Analytical Engine, making it the original computer program.

She suffered from illness throughout much of her adult life and died at the age of 36 in 1852.

death

But she left a legacy as being the first person to write a computer program, and she did it as working mom!

Find our other notable women here,  

Elizabeth Blackwell

Sojourner Truth

4 Comments

  1. Lorraine Canino

    i find this very fasanating I also love ancestry.com there so much you can learn from your ancestors

  2. RH Rippere

    We see images of baptism and wedding records, and handwriting samples, but no examples of the code she wrote or what the “analytical engine” did. How do we know she programmed again?

  3. Mike Bandor

    Programming of the analytical engine as well as the difference engine was programmed using an early form of punch cards, Most of the programming involved the calculations of such things a log tables. Although there is no proof that I’m aware of to support my theory, Charles Babbage was known to “play the ponies” and I suspect some odds calculations could have been performed on the early computer!

  4. Cathie Tinston

    I’ve been interested in family history since I was 12 and spent a summer with my grandmother Eva Gonzelez in Pensacola Fla. She kniew all the stories about our family the early french an spanish settlers in New Orleans and Fla.. I have the family history, diaries, and some photos I found as I researched at National Archives when I volunteered and learned how to hilp others. Ctinston@verizon.net

Comments are closed.