This blog is about the story of my family here in America. We arrived in the 1630s as Puritans, and became the common folk of the New World.

Tracing the maternal side of your genealogy

When I first started working on my genealogy, there were a lot of people who were surprised to find that I was looking for family members who didn't have the same last name as me, Hall. And this is more than just mild ignorance on the part of many people, this reveals an attitude towards the maternal side of the family, and all about how women are perceived in the world of genealogy.

Except for a brief period around the 1970s, when "women's lib" was new, women have always taken the last name of their husband when they married. And because of that, women can be kind of difficult to find in your family genealogy. When my mother married, every trace of her name was obliterated, which I found fascinating, even when I was a kid. On the little stickers that she had printed up for her return address it said, "Mrs. George H. Hall". So, trying to find "Mary Lou Scinto" from that name is absolutely impossible. By the way, I remember that as the years went by, her identity started to peek out a bit, she changed the stickers to say "Mrs. Mary Lou Hall".

Of course, tracing your genealogy means finding everyone who was your ancestor. And discovering a woman's maiden name, that is, the name she had before she married, will give you the clue that you need to find those people. And the first step is to break free of the prejudice that the only family that matters are those with your last name.
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