Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Workshop: Silent Voices: Telling the Stories of Your Female Immigrant Ancestors

Last week I was able to hear Lisa Alzo at the Cortland County Genealogical Society.  Lisa gave a workshop titled Silent Voices: Telling the Stories of Your Female Immigrant Ancestors.  As any genealogist knows, finding information on your female ancestors can be very difficult, namely because most records prior to the twentieth century focus on males.  One of the tips she gave was to focus on finding records for a woman's husband and siblings, as this can give you further information.

I really liked the idea that women are the household.  They raise the children, pass on traditions, and instill morals and values.  Home sources and oral history, therefore, are another wonderful way to learn about them.  I also recommend checking newspapers, especially the social columns, for information.  Addtionally, remember that women may have remarried.  I remember looking for Catherine Weiss Eichhorn's date of death between the census she was in and the one I could not find her in.  It turned out she had remarried in that time frame and once I found out that information (by finding her tombstone near her first husbands), it was easy to continue tracing her.

It is also important to write your own story, particularly if you are female, and to get your mothers, grandmothers and aunts to do the same. I purchased Lisa's book Writing Your Family History Book and am currently reading it.  I am looking forward to use the suggestions to write stories about my female ancestors, which I will post to the blog.  I will also write a review of the book once I finish reading it.

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