The Hidden Half of the Family: A Sourcebook for Women's Genealogy

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Genealogical Publishing Com, 1999 - Reference - 298 pages
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"By law and by custom women's individual identities have been subsumed by those of their husbands. For centuries women were not allowed to own real estate in their own name, sign a deed, devise a will, or enter into contracts, and even their citizenship and their position as head of household have been in doubt. Finding women in traditional genealogical record sources, therefore, presents the researcher with a unique challenge, for census records, wills, land records, pension records--the conventional sources of genealogical identification--all have to be viewed in a different perspective if we are to establish the genealogical identity of our female ancestors. Whether listed under their maiden names, married names, patronymic/matronymic surnames or some other permutation, or hidden under such terms as "Mrs.," "Mistress," "goodwife," "wife of," or even "daughter of," it is clear that women are hard to find. But while women may never be as easy to locate as their male counterparts, Christina Schaefer here pioneers an approach to the problem that just might set genealogy on its head! And her solution is simplicity itself: Look closely at those areas where the female ancestor interacts with the government and the legal system, she advises, where law, precedent, and even custom mandate the unequivocal identification of all parties, male and female. According to this thesis, the legal status of women at any point in time is the key to unraveling the identity of the female ancestor, and therefore this work highlights those laws, both federal and state, that indicate when a woman could own real estate in her own name, devise a will, enter into contracts, and so on. The first part of the book--a lengthy and informative introduction--deals with the special ways women are dealt with in federal records such as immigration records, passports, naturalization records, census enumerations, land records, military records, and records dealing with minorities. All such records are discussed with reference to their impact on women, as are a group of miscellaneous, non-governmental records, including newspapers, cemetery records, city directories, church records, and state laws covering common law marriages and marriage and divorce registration. The bulk of this absorbing new reference work, however, deals with the individual states, showing how their laws, records, and resources can be used in determining female identity. Each state section begins with a time line of events, i.e. important dates in the state's history, following which is a detailed listing of eight key categories of information: (1) Marriage and Divorce (marriage and divorce laws and where to find marriage and divorce records); (2) Property and Inheritance (women's legal status in a state as reflected in statute law, code, and legislative acts); (3) Suffrage (information as to when any voting rights were granted prior to the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920); (4) Citizenship (dates when residents of an area became U.S. citizens); (5) Census Information (special notes on searching federal, state, and territorial enumerations); (6) Other (information on welfare, pensions, and other laws affecting women); (7) Bibliography (books and articles relating to women in the state, historical and biographical sources, and publications regarding legal history and jurisprudence); and (8) Selected Resources for Women's History (addresses of state archives, historical societies, and libraries; women's studies programs, women's history programs, and more). This engrossing new work is as amazing as it is informative: amazing because it shows how women have been written out of genealogical history; informative because it demonstrates how their identities can be recovered. This is a new and promising path in genealogy, suggesting fruitful avenues of research and many new possibilities."--Amazon.
 

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Contents

ALABAMA
49
ALASKA
53
ARIZONA
57
ARKANSAS
61
CALIFORNIA
65
COLORADO
71
CONNECTICUT
75
DELAWARE
81
NEVADA
169
NEW HAMPSHIRE
173
NEW JERSEY
177
NEW MEXICO
181
NEW YORK
185
NORTH CAROUNA
191
NORTH DAKOTA
195
OHIO
199

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
85
FLORIDA
89
GEORGIA
93
HAWAII
97
IDAHO
103
ILLINOIS
107
INDIANA
111
IOWA
115
KANSAS
119
KENTUCKY
123
LOUISIANA
127
MAINE
133
MARYLAND
137
MASSACHUSETTS
141
MICHIGAN
147
MINNESOTA
151
MISSISSIPPI
155
MISSOURI
159
MONTANA
163
NEBRASKA
165
OKLAHOMA
203
OREGON
209
PENNSYLVANIA
213
RHODE ISLAND
219
SOUTH CAROLINA
223
SOUTH DAKOTA
227
TENNESSEE
231
TEXAS
235
UTAH
241
VERMONT
247
VIRGINIA
251
WASHINGTON
257
WEST VIRGINIA
261
WISCONSIN
265
WYOMING
269
GLOSSARY
273
BIBLIOGRAPHY
277
Index
297
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Page 29 - By marriage, the husband and wife are one person in law: that is, the very being or legal existence of the woman is suspended during the marriage, or at least is incorporated and consolidated into that of the husband...

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