Remember the ladies
This week I have been inputting the genealogy of my mother’s side of the family into my genealogy database. I haven’t done this much before because so much research has already been done on that side of the family that I assumed there wasn’t anything left to do of interest and I preferred to do my research in unexplored areas.
It has been fascinating! One of my great-aunts wrote a book about one branch of the family and it was a treasure trove of information. Of particular interest to me were the stories she included about my ancestors, none of which I knew. I immediately incorporated these into my records because they made my perspective about my ancestors so much richer.
That brings us to my first thought today: just because someone has already done research on a family branch, do not assume that it won’t be useful or interesting to go back over the work already done. You may discover stories, pictures, or dates that you didn’t have and every one of those things adds to your family history.
And, now my second genealogy thought for the day: “remember the ladies”. This quote comes from a letter dated March 31, 1776 from Abigail Adams to her husband Johns Adams. The quote is as follows:
“I long to hear that you have declared an independency. And, by the way, in the new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could,” she wrote. “If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.”
I mention this quote because, as I was going through the history of my old, New England family and enjoying the stories about the men of that family, I started noticing the enormous lack of stories about the women in my family. I realized that “back in the day” the stories about the women weren’t considered important because the perspective was that women didn’t matter and didn’t make history – men did. Abigail was trying to get the opposite point across to her husband in her typical, forthright manner.
As a woman and a genealogist I would love to have the stories of the women in my family. I’m sure they were fascinating. Raising children in the wilderness, keeping everyone fed and healthy – I’m guessing those women would have had a LOT to say. So, my goal for myself is to make sure I capture at least some of the stories of the women in my family so that future generations will know more about what our lives were like as women in today’s world. I will make sure to “remember the ladies”. Happy research!