Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Women's History Month and My Family Tree

As it is Women’s History Month, I would just like to say a few words about the women on my family tree and my policy about writing about them. It is definitely more difficult to find information on female relatives. Most of the “brick walls” on my tree, i.e. places where I am unable to go back any further, are women. Sometimes there is no maiden name, or it is difficult to find anything about the woman’s family and parents, particularly before censuses where the whole family is listed. There is so much more written about the men in local histories and the newspapers, and genealogies are definitely male ancestry-focused. Therefore, whenever possible, and particularly when I have a good photograph, I like to tell the stories of my female ancestors and relatives. As you may have noticed, this has even included two posts on family recipes. As I have said before, some of my favourite ancestors are women, including Emma Green Cook, my maternal great great grandmother, whose picture graces this blog.
I invite you to check out my posts on some of my female relatives including:

  • Elizabeth Crawford Simington, my great great grand aunt, who manufactured and sold “Mother Simington’s Blood Purifier” at the turn of the century in Iowa.
  • Lena Sarah Marlow Smith Hart Weyman, my grandmother, who, in the 1930’s, was the first and only school board chairwoman in her district.
  • Emma Green Cook, my great great grandmother, who homesteaded in Saskatchewan with nine children and an alcoholic husband. She was also a businesswoman, selling tractors, and later ran boarding houses. In 1912, she was the owner and proprietor of the “English Home Bakery” on West Broadway in Vancouver.
  • Emma’s daughter, Lily Elizabeth Newton Cook Arnold, and my great aunt, who was a founding member of the Valley Women’s Institute near Salmon Arm, British Columbia, and who fought successfully with others to retain an old schoolhouse for the Institute.
  • Maud Elizabeth Marlow Galloway, my great aunt, who made the trek from Illinois to Lougheed, Alberta with her parents and siblings one hundred years ago, and wrote an article for the newspaper back home about her journey.
  • Phoebe Johnson Sanderson, my great great grandmother, who operated the Royal Oak Inn in Helpston, Northamptonshire, with her husband and after his death. Encouragingly for me, she lived until age ninety-nine.
  • Susan Monk Hart, my great grandmother, who homesteaded with her family of origin in Iowa, and then with her husband in Iowa, Texas, and Alberta. It appears that she created a welcoming home on the prairie, with a garden and homemade bread, where people loved to visit.  She was the first of my ancestors to be born in Canada (August 1, 1851 in Ingersoll, Ontario).

I hope to be writing in the near future about more of the women on my tree. When I get back to writing about the Wrights, which I hope will be soon, I plan to write about the very interesting Elizabeth Deming (1595-1683), my ninth Great Grandmother, who was the wife of the Connecticut Governor, Thomas Welles. I must say that my recent blogs have not been written according to a system, but have arisen more from the serendipity of my recent discoveries. I am keeping myself open to inspiration, especially from the interest shown by you, my gentle readers. Your responses and contributions feed this blog and my soul.

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