Lisa Alzo, one of my favorite genealogy rock stars, is commemorating National Women’s History Month with “Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month” on her blog “The Accidental Genealogist.” She hopes these prompts will help us tell the story of our female ancestors. Today’s prompt is: Post a photo of one of your female ancestors. Who is in the photo? When was it taken? Why did you select this photo?
First of all, some may ask why women need a month of their own- Women’s History Month- isn’t that sexist? Yes, in a way, but since “History is written by the victors.” (said Winston Churchill, but you can also substitute ‘powerful’ for ‘victors’), women have a bit of catching up to do. It is especially hard to track women through history as well, since most lose their birth name when they marry (except French women, some Scandinavians, and other uppity women here and there). Most women even lose their first name when they say, “I do,” such as Anna becoming “Mrs. G. W. Helbling.”
Interestingly, women get their first name back when they become widows, so if Anna had predeceased her husband, she would have become “Mrs. Anna Helbling.” This knowledge helps pinpoint when a husband died, or left/divorced, as I am finding out about some of the women in my tree who became “widows” while their husband was still alive.
Since land and money were usually controlled by the male head of household, women again leave no tracks, not even in the US Federal censuses, until 1850.
But I digress with justifying why women need their own history month. Back to Anna May.
Anna May Beerbower is one of my favorite ancestors- I feel as if I know her, from the stories I have heard all my life. I actually did meet her, but was just a month or two old; I probably only remember the stories of those meetings, rather than actual memories of those times. My mother always did a good job making sure that we knew a lot about the ancestors she loved and knew.
This photo was probably taken 1895-1905 when Anna May was a teenager. I love the innocence in her face, and how sweet her curls are, especially the perfectly placed curl in the middle of her forehead.
There will be more about Anna May in future posts.
Notes, Sources, and References:
1) Family photo collection.
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