Remembering the Ladies

Dear Genealogists, Amateur and Otherwise:

Remember the Ladies. I know we live in a patronymic society here in the West, so the default for genealogists is to follow the line of the surname — the men. This is great, but were there no foremothers among our forefathers? Did the Founding Fathers have no Founding Wives? For the most part, the women in our modern genealogies are just names, sometimes birth years, sometimes birth dates, sometimes birth places. They themselves have no parents, no siblings, no histories, they just pop fully formed in to our family trees. But having inherited a basically complete paternal family tree, I felt there was not much I could do besides just keeping it updated with marriages and babies — not much I could own, no digging I myself could do. Until I thought about the women, and decided to find out who they were.

If you are a family genealogist and you want to try to find the women in your family tree, I have one excellent piece of advice for you: Look among someone else’s sisters. Often a genealogist will have the names of all a person’s siblings recorded, but they usually only focus on their own (male) ancestor. That leaves a lot of siblings floating around, and after women marry, they tend to fall out of their family trees forever, having lost the patronym. Frequently you can break out of a genealogical doldrums and find the woman who married in to your family languishing among someone else’s “lost” sisters. Look for matching birth dates and familiar names — if you know the names of a woman’s children, look for similar names among potential maternal relatives. Usually the second son will be named after her father or a brother. Or a daughter may be named after the mother’s mother, grandmother, or sisters. I was working on a female line and discovered that an Alice of mine probably got the name from her mother’s mother and grandmother, also Alices. This convinces me I probably have the right line.

I also discovered a woman I am descended from twice over. From one of her sons, a daughter married in to my dad’s patronymic line, and from another son, a line of men resulted in a woman who gave birth to a woman who married in to the same patronymic line. I wouldn’t know this if I hadn’t tried to trace my foremothers’ families. Hello, Avis Deacon Reed, I am your many-great-granddaughter twice-over, it’s so nice to finally know about you.

Dear Future Genealogists: I’m trying to help you out. I’m making sure that any of the records you’d be looking for — like my marriage record — are as full of pertinent information as I can make them be. I made sure full birth dates and places were filled in, and mothers’ maiden names. My husband didn’t know why I was insisting he fill in his mother’s maiden name, and I said, “Two hundred years from now, a genealogist will thank you.” You can’t forget the ladies. I will continue to do this as much as I can, tucking bits of family history away for posterity, clues for intrepid archaeologists to find and signposts for them to follow.

Below the jump, I’m listing every woman I know I’m descended from, with her married name in parentheses. If you have found this site by a search engine because you are looking for one of these women, drop a note in the Comments section and I’ll try to help you out with whatever information I’ve managed to glean about her. Some of these women are so far back in history they almost don’t exist, but some of them are near and dear.

“x2” indicates descent from two of the woman’s children.

Alphabetical by first name after the jump…

Abigail Hinton (Averill)
Abigail Studley (Poole)
Agnes Bernak (Wymbish)
Alice Barnes (Honywood)
Alice Goddard (Heneage)
Alice Nash (Reed)
Alice Reed (Reed)
Alice Turner (Tisdale)
Ann Jones (Williams)
Anna Barbara Stifle (Sparn)
Anna Christina Riettenauer (Wickline)
Anna Maria Buhler (Kauffman)
Anna Maria Margaretha Schnaeder (Spahr)
Anna Maria Thum (Sparn)
Anna Wickline (Knight)
Anne Heslarton (Buckton)
Anne Palmes (Heslarton)
Anne Stone (Buckton)
Avis Deacon (Reed) x2
Bennet Lewknor (Barnes)
Bertha Hosey (Nicholson)
Bethiah Frye (Reed)
Betsey Perry (Turner)
Beulah Nicholson (Avery)
Catherine Caseborne (Honywood)
Eleanor Elizabeth Preston (Heneage)
Eliza Mennis (Reed)
Elizabeth Crossman (White)
Elizabeth Doty (Randal)
Elizabeth Elmer (Hobart)
Elizabeth Macey (Hodges)
Elizabeth White (Williams)
Erdine Dunbar (Tisdale)
Esther Thompson (Reed) x2
Ethel Durrell (Betts)
Ethel Whitmore (Avery)
Eva Presley (Evans)
Grace Honywood (Heneage)
Hannah Bradley (Wickline)
Hannah Bryant (White)
Hannah Deane (Hodges) x2
Hannah Gould (Hobart)
Hannah Hodges (Bryant)
Hannah Jackson (Averill)
Hannah Leonard (Deane)
Hannah Smith (White)
Hannah White (Tisdale)
Irene Knight (Nicholson)
Jael Whiton (Hobart)
Katharina Schar (Riettenauer)
Katherine Bright (Atwater)
Katherine Wymbish (Heneage)
Katheryne (Jackson)
Louisa Poole (Hobart)
Lucinda Colson (Avery)
Lucretia Gill (Hobart)
Lucy Buckton (Heneage)
Lucy Heneage (Reed)
Lulu Terriel (Tisdale)
Lydia White (Leonard)
Margaret Atwood (Hicks)
Margaret Dewey (Hobart)
Margaret Shepard (Avery)
Margaret Winslow (Hicks)
Margery Blyton (Wymbish)
Margret Evans (Wickline)
Maria Catharina Kauffman (Spahr)
Maria Catharina Spahr (Wickline)
Maria Elisabetha Zenss (Riettenauer)
Marion Crocker (Avery)
Martha White (Wickline)
Mary Andrews (Hodges)
Mary Ann Miller (Wickline)
Mary Atwater (Honywood)
Mary Avery (Tisdale)
Mary Brandon (Frye)
Mary Browne (White)
Mary Everard (Hicks)
Mary Filmore (Betts)
Mary Freeman (Betts)
Mary Garst (Williams)
Mary Kenney (Averill)
Mary Leonard (Tisdale)
Mary Martin (Leonard) x2
Mary Minter (White)
Mary Orcut (Hobart)
Mary Thomas (Dunbar)
Mary Watson (Leonard)
Matilda Poland (Crocker)
Minerva Conrad (Nicholson)
Nancy Breeding (Nicholson)
Nancy Evarts (Allyne)
Phebe Hicks (Watson)
Phoebe Allyn (Hicks)
Polly Reed (Turner)
Polly Williams (White)
Rebecca Hobart (Tisdale)
Rebecca Hodges (Tisdale)
Rebecca Mennis (Reed)
Ruth Hilton (Averill)
Ruth Randal (Turner)
Ruth Reed (Tisdale)
Ruth Stetson (Randal)
Sarah Clark (Poole)
Sarah Dodson (Nicholson)
Sarah Hersey (Reed)
Sarah Noyes (Reed)
Sarah Sewall (Terriel)
Sarah Walker (Tisdale)
Susanna Humphreys (White)
Susanna Windstein (Riettenauer)
Susannah Brown (Averill)
Theresa Betts (Tisdale)
Thomazine Mary Lovelace (Honywood)

 

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