7    Aug 20122 comments

Genealogy: Why women are hard to find

According to this article in News OK, it's more difficult to find female ancestors.

Some reasons are that women had no voting rights, no land ownership rights, and their names changed after marriage.

Thus, there were fewer documents containing relevant information, or it was hard to find the connections between existing documents and a later marriage, with a new surname.

This makes it hard to locate our female ancestors as well as their extended families.

Today, in most countries, women are equal citizens in every way, and enjoy full property ownership and voting rights. Many women either retain their maiden names or the new couple creates a double-barreled surname.  These social changes could arguably make researching our female ancestors a bit easier - at least in the future.

People like genealogy because of the challenge of finding new family members.

Have you had problems locating female ancestors? Are there those you have not yet identified? Were you able to find them? What resources did you use to overcome a specific challenge?

We'd like to learn about your experiences via the comments below.

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Comments (2) Trackbacks (0)
  1. So true. The problem is as you go further back, in some cases a marriage record is your only hope. Not all church records listed the mother's maiden name on baptism/birth records and in some cases civil records were non-existent for the region.

    I've had difficulty locating the origin of one woman in particular despite lots of searching -- Susanna Lake born about 1750. Can't find her maiden name. Her husband was Christopher Lake and they had children in White Creek area NY beginning about 1780, and moved to Ontario, Canada not long after as loyalists. But a marriage record for them hasn't been located, nor has any birth records for their children. It's a big mystery.
  2. it seems that once in a while, when we are lucky, a will of a relation... say a father or a brother, actually mentions the married woman. this has been helpful in my lines, especially when the will also happens to mention her husband, and or children. as in, "to my daughter, Margaret Smith, wife of Joseph Smith, of Braintree. and to her sons, John, William and Thomas." I totally made that up, btw, but just as an example.

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