Another person I got to meet at the Family History Expo was Lisa Alzo, who writes the great blog at The Accidental Genealogist.
Not only did I get to meet Lisa but I also got to hang out with her at the blogger table and I attended her great class on “Finding Your Female Ancestors.”
While Lisa certainly gave us some great tips on locating female ancestors, I would say that the session was about so much more than just finding them. It was focused on finding out about them, about telling their stories. Lisa has such a passion for this topic that it was just contagious. (Be sure to see who else Lisa has inspired by checking out Susan Petersen’s post on this same session.)
Giving these female ancestors a voice is something that Lisa wants us all to do and she has done just that in her book, Three Slovak Woman. She exhorted all of us to do the same. Lisa's enthusiasm and passion for the subject started me thinking about a number of women in my own family tree. While I can't imagine that I could actually write a book, I can at least begin to document the struggles some of my ancestors had and try to better understand their lives.
I have this picture which is labeled simply “Four generations”
The little boy is my grandfather, Jack H Quick (1911 - 1999) and I can easily identify his mother (Nelle Eickelberg 1885 - 1970) and her mother, his grandmother (Nellie Auflick 1864 - 1940) from the many other pictures I have of each of these woman.
So, is the older woman Margaret Hannington (1830 - 1914), Nellie's mother, who died when Jack was 3 1/2? He looks young enough in this picture to make that possible. Or is this perhaps Louisa (1835 - 1928), wife of William Eickelberg, even though that would make her Nellie's mother-in-law and not her mother?
I do know from my Grandpa’s stories that his great-grandma Eickelberg did live with them for a time. He used to call her "little grandma" and apparently tormented her because she couldn't chase after him! He once told me that he had to be careful to stay out of the reach of her cane or she would whack him with it. (and from other stories he's told me I'm sure he richly deserved to be whacked!)
Regardless, both women are people I should know more about. Both followed roughly similar paths, coming across the ocean to first settle in Ohio and then end up in Colorado. Margaret came from England while Louisa came over from Germany without that advantage of knowing the language. Margaret moved from Ohio to Colorado with her husband, Thomas Auflick while Louisa buried her husband in Ohio and then later moved to Colorado when her daughter's family left Ohio.
I often wonder if Louisa wanted to go? Of course with no other family that I have found - she was living with her daughter - there was probably no other option. Her name was on the other side of her husband's marker I found in the Minersville Hill Cemetery in Ohio so clearly she intended to be buried there. Of course Margaret had buried 4 children in Ohio and no woman's life in the mid-1800's was going to be an easy one!
So, I need to start understanding more about what their lives might have been like. Even if I don't write a book, I can pass that knowledge on to future generations at least informally. It's up to me to make sure that they don't become anonymous names and dates on my pedigree chart!
“I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman”. ~ Virginia Woolf