Finding the Story of the Elusive Spouse

Elisa Jane White Register PIC for blog

I have decided to take the challenge of writing my Family History stories. So far I have just put together short “informational” snippets of some of my Ancestors relying mostly on facts. I usually just post these on my personal Facebook where I have a private Family Group page. Although everyone likes these posts they seem to lack that personal touch.

While looking through my Trees I noticed a disturbing pattern. I have a lot more personal information on my male Ancestors than I do my female ones. Of course the farther back you go the harder it is to find documents or illumination into their lives. This really distresses me. As we know most men could not accomplish the things they do without the help of their wives.  The question may be how we can incorporate our lack of knowledge about our female Ancestors life and the times that they lived in.

For example: If my Great Great Grandmother lived on a farm in Virginia in the mid 1700’s, by looking into the history of that era and the lives of others who also lived there, can I assume my GGGrandmother did the same things? Should these daily activities be included in my story even though I have no proof that this is what she did? Can I take license with that time in history and add some exciting events?

In my 3rd Great Grandfathers documents there is an inventory of all his possessions that he had at the time of death. There are two pages listing everything from beds and linens to blacksmith tools to farm animals. From this list I can see some of the household goods that they had so I can rightly assume that my 3rd Great Grandmother made bread, sewed their clothing and even spun cotton because among  the items were bread cloths, sewing notions and cotton reels. Using the power of deduction I can assume that the man of the house did not use these items therefore they had to be used by the woman. If I look into the history of people’s lives during this time frame I can easily fill in the blanks.

I can also research any events that may have happened during that time period and in the area where they lived and incorporate those into my story. I could include any major world events and how it may have impacted my Ancestors life. The possibilities are endless.

I guess the bottom line is that it is my story and my Ancestor and I can write it as I see fit. I believe as long as we inform others that we have added historical content without documentation then they can draw their own conclusions.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Finding the Story of the Elusive Spouse

  1. Unfortunately, even women today are facing issues. Through my own research, I have found it incredibly difficult to find information on my female ancestors versus my male ancestors. I’ve come to notice that women are not listed in census records prior to 1850 unless they’re widowed or single property owners. Same with city directories.

  2. I like to add facts of the time period in my stories at times and I find it puts the story in a time frame by knowing who was president and what was happening at the time in their life. You also learn a little more history also. I really enjoyed your story.
    Jeanne

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