Showing posts with label Women's History Month. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Women's History Month. Show all posts

March 15, 2014

52 Ancestors: Another Strong Female Ancestor Fanny Higginson born 1769

Brig Joseph Charles 1831 Passenger List
I'm writing about my 4th great grandmother Frances (Fanny) Holford Higginson as part of Amy Crow's Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks and also as part of Women's History Month Challenge

Fanny was born in Lower Peover, Cheshire England in 1769 to John Holford and Ann Harrison. The village of Lower Peover was in existence as early as the middle of the 13th century and it appears that Fanny's family may have lived there for many generations. Shortly before her 18th birthday, young Fanny married Thomas HIgginson who was also from the village. 

Thomas and Fanny had a large family of 8 children born between 1788 and 1802. Sometime after the birth of their youngest child John in 1802 and before 1831, her husband Thomas died. 

By 1823 Fanny's daughter Betty Bell was living with her husband and children in Nether Peover and I suspect Fanny Higginson may have been living with them. The family was stil there in 1831 when they left for America. [Source: England, Cheshire Land Tax Assessments, 1778-1832 on FamilySearch]

1831. Brig Joseph Charles. Fanny Higginson & daughter Elizabeth Bell & family
The last record of Fanny is on December 3, 1831 when the Brig Charles Joseph arrived in New York from England. She is on the passenger list as "Frances Higginson, carpenter's wife" and is listed as 65 years old. Traveling with Fanny were her daughter Betty (Higginson) Bell, my 3rd great-grandmother, and Betty's children Ann, Phoebe, 12 year old Mary (my 2nd great grandmother), Peter and Joseph. [Source: Ancestry.com]

The group was on its way to Betty's husband Peter Bell who had settled in New York some time earlier. I often think about Fanny, a 65 year old widow leaving her home and many of her children to come to a new land. In 1831 it would have been rough. 

I don't know what happened to Fanny. Peter Bell and his wife and children left New York to settle in what was then the wilderness of Wellington County Ontario. In fact they were among the very first settlers of a new community called Arkell. 
"Peter Bell, a native of Chesshire Eng, left his native land in 1832 and after spending 6 years in New York State, came to Puslinch in 1838 with two sons, Peter and Joseph and one daughter, Mary."
[Source: County of Wellington, Township of Puslinch by W. MacKenzie, published in the Guelph Weekly Mercury and Advertiser 7 March 1907: Early Settlers of Puslinch]

UCLP 1839 for Peter Bell
It's interesting to note how pioneer memories can hit on some truths but get many facts wrong.  Peter Bell's land petition submitted in 1839 stated that he left England for New York where he bought a farm in Sullivan County. 

He lived there for 3 years then left for Puslinch Township Wellington County with his wife and 3 children. His brother-in-law John Higginson and one daughter Phoebe with her husband John Petty were already in the new settlement of Arkell and Peter requested that he be allowed land near them. [Source: UCLP Microfilm:C-1633, Volume 63, Bundle B-21, Petition 153]

Since his mother-in-law Fanny is not mentioned in Peter's 1839 petition I suspect she may have died but whether she died in New York or in Arkell is not known.

I admire Fanny greatly for the difficult journey she took as a 65 year old woman in 1831.

March 11, 2014

Women's History Month: Famous 5 Henrietta Muir Edwards

Women's History Month: Famous 5 Henrietta Muir Edwards
Oliver & Henrietta Muir Edwards & children
Henrietta Muir Edwards (1849-1931) was one of the group of 5 women known as the Famous Five. The Famous Five were responsible for forcing Canada to recognize women under the law as "persons" in 1929.

Henrietta Muir Edwards was active in prison reform and dedicated to helping impoverished working women as early as 1875. She also helped establish the National Council of Women in 1890 and much of her focus was on the legal status of women in Canada.

She was born Henrietta Louise Muir in Montreal to William Muir and Jane Johnston. The 1871 census finds 21 year old Henrietta living in Montreal Quebec with her father William age 50 born Scotland, mother Jane age 40 born Quebec, her siblings Amelia 22, Eva 18, Ida 16, William Jr. 13, Ernest 7 and her grandfather George Johnston 82.

There are records of the family found in the online Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967 on Ancestry.com

Marriage Henrietta Muir - Oliver Edwards
The marriage of William Muir and Jane Johnston is recorded in Montreal in 1844. The marriage of Jane Johnston's parents George Johnston and Jane Thomson occurred in Montreal in 1817 and Henrietta Muir's marriage to Dr. Oliver Cromwell Edwards is found recorded in 1876, also in Montreal.


In 1883, Henrietta Muir Edwards moved with her husband and three children to Saskatchewan. A brief biography of Henrietta can be found at Canada Online

The Glenbow Archives holds many artifacts such as letters and diaries of Henrietta.  One example of the collection is this diary:

Diaries. -- Fall 1867. -- Consists of diaries kept during her "Grand Tour" of Europe, during which she visited Glasgow, London, Paris, Rome, Venice, and Florence, accompanied by her father and/or Uncle James. -- Volume 1 can be viewed online

Credits: 
Photo of Edwards family courtesy Sandra Smith 
Marriage Record found online on Ancestry.com

 

March 8, 2014

Six Generations of Strong Females on International Women's Day

Six Generations of Strong Females on International Women's Day

Today is International Women's Day and to celebrate I am sharing a collage of 6 generations of my direct maternal line. It is wonderful to have photos of our direct female lineage back to my great-great grandmother Sarah born in 1836.

Starting from the left we have Sarah Stead, my great-great grandmother. Next is Sarah's daughter Sarah Simpson, my great grandmother. Then we have Sarah Simpson's daughter Ruth Fuller, my grandmother. Then comes Ruth's daughter Joan, my mother. Then me and then my daughter Judy. Then our direct maternal line is done as my daughter had sons but no daughters.

My maternal DNA has been tested and shows that I am Haplogroup J2a1a1b . My DNA shows my origins as Irish, British,  French, German, Scandinavian, Northern European, East Asian and Native American.

Have you tested your MtDNA? It's interesting and fun to do that!

March 6, 2014

52 Ancestors: Anna Kuhn Bellinger, Naughty Girl!

52 Ancestors: Anna Kuhn Bellinger, Naughty Girl!
My 8th great-grandmother Anna Kuhn was born in Germany about 1659. I'm writing about Anna as part of Amy Crow's Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks and also as part of Women's History Month Challenge.

In 1674, at the age of 15, she was married to Jorg Bruning at Huttengesas, Germany. Jorg Bruning was a much older man, and the marriage was a most unhappy one for poor Anna. 

While living at Huttengesas with her husband, she fell in love with Nicholaus Bellinger, son of Hans Bellinger. She  ran away with Nicholaus  and had a son, my 7th great-grandfather Marcus Bellinger, in 1682. Nicholaus Bellinger and Anna Maria finally  received church permission to marry, and were wed on 25  November 1685.

It was considered such scandalous behaviour to run off with another man while married to someone else and have an illegitimate child that the minister in the church entered this in the church books:

"Nicolaus Bellinger and Anna, daughter of Hans Kuhn, were married 25 November 1685 as per the order of the noble government. She had md. some years ago Jorg Bruning at Huttengesab, but she was not compatible with him, so Bruning went from her and she from him. She went away with this Nicolaus Bellinger and had an illegitimate child - a little son,  so that the aforementioned Jorg Bruning has contracted another marriage. 

After all this however, the above mentioned Bellinger has remained as a stranger. She sent a request to the honourable government to let them stay in the country, and this finally has been permitted by the aforementioned honourable government which ordered me to marry them with prior published penitence and to avoid further trouble and also to legitimize the rearing of this blameless child" 
In 1710 the Bellinger family joined with other Palatine refugees coming to New York. There were 3 000 Palatines on 10 ships that sailed for New York and approximately 470 died on the voyage or shortly after their arrival.  I've always felt sorry for poor Anna married at 15 to someone she didn't love. I really can't blame her for running away to find happiness. But she suffered greatly, as did all the Palatines. First persecuted in their own country because of their religion and then treated as indentured servants by the British. 

Another strong female ancestor for me! 

March 5, 2014

Women's History Month: Irene Parlby One of the Famous Five

The Famous Five were 5 Canadian women who created a petition  in 1927 they sent to the Supreme Court of Canada to ask if women were "persons" under the law. In 1928 it was unanimously decided by the Court that the answer was "no" but in October 1929 the decision was overturned and for the first time women were legally considered "persons". 


It totally blows my mind to put this in context - my mother was 13 years old before she was considered a person. My grandmother was 35. I cannot imagine not being considered a "person". 

Women's History Month: Irene Parlby One of the Famous Five One of the group of Famous Five was Irene Parlby. I wanted to know more about Irene - who was she and what kind of upbringing did she have that contributed to her determination to make changes for women.  

Unforunately I've never had the opportunity to see the movie The Relunctant Politician about Irene's contributions to the women's movement.   

There are a few brief biographies of Irene online but they don't have the kind of meat I was looking for. Who were her parents? Where did she live? What was her life like?

Baptism Elizabeth Lynch in Bombay India 1845. FindMyPast.co.uk
My research found that Irene was born Mary Irene Marryat in London England in 1868 to parents Ernest Lindsay Marryat and Elizabeth Lynch. Her father was a British Army Colonel and was stationed in India for part of his military career. Irene's mother Elizabeth was born in Bombay India in 1845 to Edward Patrick Lynch, a well-known Lt.-General in the English Army. Edward Lynch entered the India army in 1826 and was stationed in India, Persia and Afghanistan. 
Marriage Marryat-Lynch in Bombay India 1866. FindMyPast.co.uk
Elizabeth lynch was a widow when she and Ernest married in Bombay India in 1866. She had married Maxwell Graham in India 3 years previously. Her first husband died of cholera one year later in March 1864 at the age of 25. Maxwell was also in the Army. Elizabeth was 20 years old when she was widowed. At the time of their marriage, Ernest Marryat was  a Lieutenant in the Royal Bombay Engineers. 

There was a strong military presence in Irene's family with her father, maternal grandfather and maternal great-grandfather highly placed army officers. Being raised in a military family no doubt meant a strong emphasis on routine, discipline, accountability and duty. 

The Lynch family had long standing ties in the military. Irene's great-grandfather Henry Blosse Lynch had a varied career - as a mountaineer, volunteer in the Indian Navy, Persian Gulf surveyor, explorer, interpretor who was fluent in Arabic and Persian. and many other accomplishments. 

Irene's father Edward Patrick Lynch was born in Mayo Ireland. He enlisted in the Indian Army in 1825 and did not marry until 1843 when he wed Louisa Stirton in Bombay.  Louisa died in October 1846 on board a ship sailing to England [Gentleman's Magazine. Jan. 1847. p. 110. http://search.fibis.org/frontis/bin/aps_detail.php?id=1162466 On her passage to England, Louisa, wife of Major E.P. Lynch, K.L.S., Bombay Army]. In 1848 Edward married her younger sister Emily Elizabeth.

The Stirton sisters were the daughters of Andrew and Sarah Stirton and were born in London England. Andrew was born circa 1784 in London England and in the 1851 census he is listed as a Marine Fund Holder. 1851 was a rough year for the Lynch family. On January 1 of that year, Edward and Elizabeth Lynch's 16 year old servant Sarah Shuaghnessey died of Cholera and the next day their only son, 1 year old Edward Bloss Stirton Lynch, also passed away. By the time of that 1851 census the two older sisters, 6 year old Elizabeth and 7 year old Sarah were living with their Stirton Grandparents, Andrew and Sarah, in England. The girls were most likely sent away after their younger half-brother died.

The 1871 census for London England finds Mary Irene as a 3 year old living with her mother Elizabeth age 25 and younger brother Ernest Patrick Lynch Marryat age 1. 

By 1896 Mary Irene had left England for Alberta Canada where she met and married Walter Parlby. It was then that Irene began taking an active role in women's issues. She became President of the United Farm Women of Alberta and was later elected the first female cabinet minister in Alberta. Irene's focus was on improving the lives of rural women and children but her social activism had far-reaching effects for all women once she became involved in the petition to have women recognized as people. The decision that women were persons eligible to be named to the Senate of Canada was handed down on October 18, 1929.

Her only child Humphrey Parlby was born in 1899 in Alberta. Irene retired from politics in 1935 but continued to speak passionately about women's rights. She died at the age of 97 in Alberta.

Notes: Other information and material about Irene Parlby is available at the Glenbow Archives, Alberta

March 3, 2014

Women's History Month: Clara Moockers Post, Strong Female Ancestor

Women's History Month: Clara Moockers Post, Strong Female Ancestor
In honour of Women's History Month (March 2014) I issued a challenge to all geneabloggers to write a  minimum of 10 blog posts this month about women who have made a difference.

Clara Moockers Post, born ca 1621 in Holland was my 9th great-grandmother.  Here is her story:


For 24 years, from 1630 to 1654, Recife, a Northeastern city in  Brazil, was held by the WIC (West India Company).

My 9th great grandparents Captain Adriaen Crijnen Post and his wife Clara Moockers, were stationed in Recife during this time. They had 3 children born in Recife between 1644 and 1648.  I  often think of Clara and how strong she must have been to raise a family in the jungle with the heat, the dangers of various illnesses such as malaria, and the poisonous snakes and other dangerous wildlife.

Adriaen and Clara's daughter Maria (my 8th great-grandmother) was baptised in Recife Brazil in June 1649 [Doopregister der Hollanders in Brazilie 1633 - 1654]. By the time Brazil fell to the Portuguese in 1654, the family had left for the Netherlands and then on to New Netherland (present day New York state).

On 30 June 1650 the ship "New Netherland's Fortune" sailed, arriving in New Netherland on 19 December 1650.

Adriaen and his family were on Staten Island by 1655. Adriaen was a representative of Baron Hendrick van der Capellen, the owner of one-third of Staten Island. As the superintendent of a group of twenty people who were to farm Staten Island, Adriaen set up a colony which flourished.

In the summer of 1655 the Peach Tree War began over Hendrick Van Dyke's shooting of a Native woman taking peaches from his trees in his orchard in Manhatten. As a result, the settlements on the lower Hudson River and around New York were destroyed by Iroquois attackers. On 15 September 1655, the colony on Staten Island was burned to the ground by the Natives from Hackensack. Twenty-three people were killed and sixty-seven taken prisoner, among them Adrien, his wife Clara, their five children, and two servants.

In October 1655, Adriaen was released by the Hackensack chief Penneckeck to bargain with Petrus Stuyvessant for the release of prisoners. Adriaen made the journey between Manhattan and the Native headquarters at Paulus Hook, New Jersey several times before an agreement was reached. Fifty-six captives were released in exchange for powder, lead, guns, blankets and wampum. Among those freed were Adrian's wife and children.

Returning to Staten Island Adrian was ordered by Van der Capellan to gather survivors and erect a fort. Trying to keep the group fed, he found a few cattle that the Natives had overlooked roaming in the woods  That winter Adrian and his family camped in the company of some soldiers  in the burnt-out settlement.  They butchered some of the cattle they had found and obtained milk from others. They survived the winter with  little food and rough shelters. Stuyvessant recommended to Post that he and "his people" and cattle move to the stockade on Long Island but Adrian and Clara refused. They stayed on Staten Island virtually alone. 

By Spring of 1656 Adrian was ill and unable to perform his duties, so Clara requested that someone else be appointed as van der Capellen's agent. In April of 1656 Clara petitioned Stuyvessant asking that the soldiers be allowed to stay, but Stuyvessant decided that since there were only 6 or 7 people on the island, a garrison was not required and they should all move to Long Island.



Adriaen and Clara eventually left Staten Island and settled on the mainland of present-day Bergen, New Jersey. Adriaen died in 1675 but it is not known what happened to Clara. She was a strong female, mother to 9 children, who endured much and adapted well to whatever difficult conditions she faced. I'm so proud to have her as my ancestor.

Credit: Image from Fotolia

March 2, 2014

Sharing Memories & Women's History Month: Who Was Your Favourite Relative?

Sharing Memories & Women's History Month:  Who Was Your Favourite Relative?
Ruth Simpson 1907
Sharing Memories is a series of weekly prompts to help all genealogists (including me!) with writing up memories of our ancestors and our childhood. 

We all love to find a diary or letters written by great grandma or grandpa where they talk about their lives and share their memories. Think how excited one of your descendants will be to read about your memories and your stories! These stories will be lost after a few generations unless we preserve them. And what better way than in a weekly themed post. 

At the end of the year you will have 52 stories written about your childhood, your parents, grandparents and who knows what else.

If you write your own blog please use the hashtag #52SharingMemories if you are posting on Twitter or Google+  You can also  post your stories as comments on this blog post or in a private journal. It's your choice! The important thing is to write those memories down now! 


Sharing Memories & Women's History Month:  Who Was Your Favourite Relative?
I'm also posting this as part of my challenge for Women's History Month. See Women's History Month: A Challenge to Geneabloggers! for 10 suggestions for honouring women in March. I'm writing about Prompt #4: Write a biography of your favourite female Ancestor. Be sure to tell us why she's your favourite
Hands down it was my Grandma Bates. I think of her as Grandma Ruth but we never used her first name. Grandma was fun and lively and loved the colour red. She often wore a red pantsuit with a white blouse or a red skirt and white blouse and she always wore her ruby ring. That ring is now mine and I wrote about it coming back to me on Grandma's Ruby Ring

Born in Ramsgate Kent England in 1894 to parents David George Simpson and Sarah Jane Stead, Grandma was a sickly child and spent a lot of her days in bed only able to peek out her bedroom window.  Her family called her Dolly because she was so tiny and cute. 

Miss Mulligan's Dance Classes. Ruth is back row center
She didn't attend school when she was supposed to, being to ill to begin. But eventually she did go to the Ellington School in Ramsgate. I have pictures of her in her dance classes at the school.  

Simpson Family ca 1900
Grandma is 2nd from left
She suffered from rickets and in later life had a little twitch which I thought was quite endearing! She would have a genteel sniff and tiny twitch of her head as she was talking. 

She and my mom did not get along, and they fought constantly. Grandma was rather delicate and could become quite frightened or upset very easily. The wind bothered her and she would become very agitated on windy days. She was terrified of water and when I would visit her when I was in school she would only allow me a few inches of water in the bathtub in case I drowned. 

Her husbands adored her! She was their little princess and had them wrapped around her little finger. She married three times, and outlived all of her husbands. They waited on her hand and foot and never seemed to mind her idiosyncracies. 

I loved listening to her stories of her life in Ramsgate and about her siblings and parents. In fact she was the reason I became so fascinated with family history and stories at a young age. 


Ruth and daughters Lillian (left) & Joan (right)
Guelph ca 1918
Grandma's dad was a coal dealer, an epileptic who was often under the weather recovering from a seizure. Her mother, who Grandma said was a wonderful cook, ran a boarding house to make extra money for the family. 

In 1913 at the age of 19 Grandma sailed for Canada with her fiance Charles Fuller. They were joining her older brother Ern in Toronto Ontario and would make Canada their new home. Grandma never recovered from the terror of that sea voyage. Years later when she was in a home and near death she would tell me how much she longed to see her mother again and in a shaky voice ask me repeatedly "Do we have to go by boat?" At that point she could not remember that her mother was long gone. 

Grandma and her husband Charles settled in Guelph Ontario where they raised a family of 3 girls, including my mother. After Charles died, Grandma married a man who was hired as a guard at the DIL Munitions Factory in Ajax Ontario during WW2 so Grandma also took a job there. 

My mother followed suit and also moved to Ajax with her sister and their 4 children while their husbands were overseas in WW2. Mother also worked at the Munitions Factory during the war. Grandma didn't build bombs, instead she worked in the Cafeteria at the plant. Grandma was a bit unusual for her time as she almost always had a job of some sort. Her first husband bought her a Tobacco Store beside the Movie Theater in Guelph so that she would have something to keep her occupied. After working in the Munitions Factory during WW2, she moved back to Guelph and took a job at a large department store. She worked behind the counter of the women's dress and glove department and she loved it.


Fuller family in Guelph 1923
Baby Eileen, Ruth, Charles,
my mother Joan seated & Lily standing
Grandma was the person I went to when my mom and I would fight. As a teenager I'd take the bus to Guelph (where she lived with her third husband) and spend a few days with her sharing my frustrations and anger. It was very sad to see her later in her life as the aging process took its toll. 

My family have always told me I am just like Grandma Ruth. My mother told me that's why she and I didn't get along because I was, in her words, "...just like my mother!" 

Here's the odd bit - Grandma married 3 times. So did I. Grandma was 47 when she was widowed. So was I. 

Grandma ended up living with my widowed mother and another widowed daughter but that was quite stressful for all concerned as she and my mother could not go more than an hour without arguing. 

Eventually she had to be moved to a home in Owen Sound where she became increasingly confused and frightened. It was very difficult to visit her and see how far she had slipped from reality. She died in 1985 at the age of 90 and I remind myself she had a good long life and was loved by many. But I miss her.

March 1, 2014

Women's History Month: A Challenge to Geneabloggers!

DIL Plant Ajax Ontario where my Mom & Grandmother worked in WW2
In honour of Women's History Month (March 2014) I want to issue a challenge to all geneabloggers to write a  minimum of 10 blog posts this month about women who have made a difference.

I'm going to tackle this challenge too. I plan to write about 10 women who made a difference somehow. Perhaps they made a difference in my life, or to the world. But I want to recognize women this month - women who suffered hardships but endured, women who were the first to challenge what had been a man's world, women who made important discoveries, and women who were pioneers.

Ten ideas that might help you to join me in honouring women this month are


  1.   Which of your female ancestors were alive when women achieved the right to vote.  How do you think they reacted to the ongoing suffragette movement? Different countries extended the right of voting for women in different years and even within one country, different areas sometimes had different rights. For example in Ontario Canada women who owned property could vote for school trustees as early as 1850. In 1917 women in Canada gained the right to vote in all elections. It was 1920 before women in the USA were given the right to vote. In the UK women over the age of 30 who met certain property qualifications could vote but it was not until 1928 that all women over the age of 21 achieved that right.

  2. Do you have a  female relative (direct ancestor or collateral lineage) who played an active role in women's issues? Perhaps one who was a Suffragette or was a pioneer in a male-dominated role or occupation?  Perhaps she sailed to the New World to start a new life in the 1600s or was a refugee from a war-torn or religious-intolerant location. Tell her story in a blog post or comment here on this blog.

  3. Choose one female ancestor and the historical context during her life. Pick one historical event that would have impacted on her life. Perhaps she lived through the Spanish influenza in the early 1900s or she was widowed during the Civil War, or lived through the Depression.

  4. Write a biography of your favourite female Ancestor. Be sure to tell us why she's your favourite

  5. Make a list of your direct line maternal ancestors beginning with your mother. So you will list your mom, her mom, her mom's mom and so on, back as far as you can. Now figure out how many children each female ancestor had. Did the females in your direct maternal line tend to have the same numbers of children each generation? Did they have more? Less? Were they prolific or are there few children born to each woman? Is there a pattern emerging?

  6. Write about your mtDNA findings. If you haven't been tested yet, order an mtDNA kit!  There are several companies offering DNA tests - Family Tree DNA, Ancestry DNA, 23andMe.com

  7. Did any of your female ancestors participate in some kind of war-related activity? My mother and grandmother both worked in a Munitions Factory in WW2.  Perhaps your ancestor rolled bandages or knitted socks for the troops. Write about one ancestor who was active in some way during a war or skirmish.

  8.  Which female ancestor do you most identify with? Tell us what she did or what she was like and why you identify with her

  9. Was there a female (teacher, minister, friend, relative) who impacted on your life?  Tell us about her

  10. Did any of your female ancestors or relatives follow a non-traditional female role either in their relationships, occupations or in society? 
I hope you'll join me in recognizing some fascinating and inspiring women this month.

March 29, 2013

Women's History Month: Set a Female Ancestor in History

Affidavit re Anna Maria Vollick
My friend and fellow Blogger Lisa Alzo has a Meme for March - Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women's History Month

I encourage readers to join in. Lisa has some terrific blogging prompts for each day of Women's History Month.  


I will write my own stories each Friday from the 5 prompts I came up with at Celebrate Women's History Month! Time for Stories I hope you'll join in with your own:

Here is my last entry for

 Choose one female ancestor and the historical context during her life. Pick one historical event that would have impacted on her life. Perhaps she lived through the Spanish influenza in the early 1900s or she was widowed during the Civil War, or lived through the Depression? Every ancestor has a story to tell and this is a great opportunity to tell about one of your fearless female ancestors! 

This was an easy choice for me. I often think about my 5th great-grandmother Anna Maria Warner. Anna Maria was born to a Palatine family in Schoharie New York in 1735. At the age of 22 she married Isaac Van Valkenburg who later took the surname Vollick.

Shortly after the American Revolution broke out, Maria's husband Isaac took the side of those loyal to the King and joined Butler's Rangers. He was arrested on three separate occasions and sent to prison in Albany. The family was living near North River in northern New York, and when Isaac was released from prison he left with the Rangers and Maria was left alone with ten children.

Maria continued to aid the British, and in 1779 she and her  children (the youngest only four years old) were taken from their home in North River and made prisoners by American patriots. Their home was burned and Mary and the children were marched 80 miles north through the forest and left in destitute circumstances. With the help of Indians from Canada, Mary and family made their way to Canada and reached Montreal Quebec by July of 1779.

How she managed to keep going with seven young children is a testimony to her strength and courage. Her oldest child was her 19 year old daughter, her youngest only 4. She had no way of knowing where her husband and older sons were, nor even if they were alive or dead. And she had no family support except her children.

Once in Quebec Mary and her children received minimal food rations,  and were provided with lodging and blankets from the British Government. They had nowhere to go and with other refugees lived under these crowded conditions for three years. Finally in 1782 Maria reunited with Isaac and they settled in the Niagara area as impoverished Loyalists.

Ontario was a wilderness at that time and the Niagara area had no settlements until the disbanded Rangers were sent there.  They arrived with nothing, all their lands in New York having been confiscated. Can you imagine living and working the land for over 20 years and suddenly you are tossed out, your home burned in front of you and with only a few blankets you are marched into the woods and left to either die or make your way to a land you have never seen?

Then you live for  3 years in hardship and finally reunite with your husband, only to be sent out to the wilderness with only a few Government promises, most of which were never kept.

The following submission to the House of Commons in 1786 describes the grave situation in which Loyalists found themselves.

"It is impossible to describe the poignant distress under which many of these persons now labour and which must daily increase should the justice of Parliament be delayed until all claims are liquidated and reported. Ten years have elapsed since many of them have been deprived of their fortunes, their helpless families reduced from independent affluence to poverty and want."

To top it off, five years after arriving in the Niagara area, the disbanded Loyalists faced starvation in what became known as "The Hungry Year" , the winter of 1787/1788.  Settlers faced  crop failures, shortage of food and a severe winter.  Game was scarce and many people died. With the coming of  spring new leaves on trees were gathered and eaten. Roots were dug out of the ground and eaten. Bark of certain trees was stripped off and consumed as food. Those were the conditions Maria and her family faced some 12 years after being forced out of their home in New York. Did her suffering never end? What a strong brave woman she must have been. And I am so proud to call her one of my Fearless Female Ancestors.

March 22, 2013

Women's History Month: A Pioneer Female Pilot

Women's History Month: A Pioneer Female Pilot
My friend and fellow Blogger Lisa Alzo has a Meme for March - Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women's History Month

I encourage readers to join in. Lisa has some terrific blogging prompts for each day of Women's History Month.  

I will write my own stories each Friday from the 5 prompts I came up with at Celebrate Women's History Month! Time for Stories I hope you'll join in with your own:

This is my entry for my 4th prompt

4.  Do you have a  female relative (direct ancestor or collateral lineage) who played an active role in women's issues? Perhaps one who was a Suffragette or was a pioneer in a male-dominated role or occupation?  Perhaps she sailed to the New World to start a new life in the 1600s or was a refugee from a war-torn or religious-intolerant location. Tell her story in a blog post or comment here on this blog.

So many to choose from! There are my Palatine female ancestors who fled the Palatinate area of Germany over religious differences and sailed to New York in 1710.  Out of approximately 3,000 who fled to a new land, almost 500 died on the way. Once in New York their mistreatment continued, this time at the hands of the British who forced their husbands and sons to work on British Tar Ships in situations not unlike slave labour. Their children were taken from them and given into indentured servitude to wealthier families. 

Or my Irish female ancestors who left Ireland during the Potato Famine in the 1840s? My 2nd great grandmother Fanny McGinnis (nee Downey) was one of those women. The hardships many of my female ancestors endured is beyond imagination and I admire their courage and resilience.


But I'm going to talk about my cousin Eileen Vollick (1908-1968) who became the first Canadian woman to obtain a pilot's licence in March 1928. Yes she was just 20 years old. Eileen was related to me in two ways, and was also my 7th cousin twice removed.





Eileen received numerous honours over the years, including the Amelia Earhart medallion in 1975. In August 2008 over 250 people gathered to mark her contribution to aviation on the 100th anniversary of her birth in Wiarton. 

She also was honoured with a Canada Post stamp and the naming of an airport terminal after her. 

You can read more about Eileen and her historical contribution as a pioneer in a male-dominated world at Carnival of Genealogy: Famous Canadian Ancestor Eileen Vollick, first licenced female pilot in Canada



March 15, 2013

Women's History Month: Have You Tested Your mtDNA?

Women's History Month: Have You Tested Your mtDNA ?
My friend and fellow Blogger Lisa Alzo has a Meme for March - Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women's History Month

I encourage readers to join in. Lisa has some terrific blogging prompts for each day of Women's History Month.  

I will write my own stories each Friday from the 5 prompts I came up with at Celebrate Women's History Month! Time for Stories

I also plan to participate in as many of Lisa's 31 Prompts as I can! I hope you'll join in with your own:

This is my third prompt for Women's History Month:

3. Make a list of your direct female line ancestors starting with your mother.  Write about your mtDNA findings. If you haven't been tested yet, order an mtDNA kit!  There are several companies offering DNA tests - Family Tree DNA, Ancestry DNA, 23andMe.com

You can read about my mtDNA results at mtDNA Test Results Arrived!

I am still struggling to understand my mtDNA results and hope that when my 23andMe test results arrive I will have a better grasp on what it all means.

March 8, 2013

Women's History Month: Pattern of Children of Your Female Ancestors

My friend and fellow Blogger Lisa Alzo has a Meme for March - Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women's History Month

I encourage readers to join in. Lisa has some terrific blogging prompts for each day of Women's History Month.  

Meanwhile, because there are 5 Fridays in March, I have written 5 Blogging Prompts for Women's History Month. I will write my own stories each Friday (and participate in as many of Lisa's 31 Prompts as I can!) I hope you'll join in with your own.

Here is my second blog post for the topic Make a list of your female ancestors beginning with your mother. Go back as far as you can. Now figure out how many children each female ancestor had. Did the females in your direct maternal line tend to have the same numbers of children each generation? Did they have more? Less? Were they prolific or are there few children born to each woman? Is there a pattern emerging? 

My mom: 4 children - 2 boys, 2 girls
Maternal grandmother: 3 girls
Paternal grandmother: 6 boys
Great grandmother Simpson: 6 children - 4 boys, 2 girls
Great grandmother Fuller:5 children - 4 boys, 1 girl
Great grandmother McGinnis: 5 children - 3 boys, 2 girls
Great grandmother Peer: 9 children - 5 boys, 4 girls

Of a total of 38 children, there were 24 boys and 14 girls. Statistically there were almost double the number of boys than girls each generation. 

I was curious about the ages of the above ancestors when they had their children. My great grandmother Peer was the youngest, only 17 when her first child was born. The others were aged 19, 21, 22, 23, 26 and 29. There's certainly no consistency there, which makes sense because it would depend on when they fell in love and married.

Four of my female  ancestors above had  late-in-life babies - my Grandmother McGinnis who was 45 when her last child was born, and my great-grandmothers Fuller who was 42, Peer who was 44 and McGinnis who was 40.  I suppose the quality of birth control at the time may have factored into those later children for my great-grandmothers.

What about your female ancestors? How do they compare?
 
 

March 1, 2013

Women's History Month: My Favourite Female Ancestor

Women's History Month: My Favourite Female Ancestor
My friend and fellow Blogger Lisa Alzo has a Meme for March - Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women's History Month

I encourage readers to join in. Lisa has some terrific blogging prompts for each day of Women's History Month.  

Meanwhile, because there are 5 Fridays in March, here are my 5 Blogging Prompts for Women's History Month. I will write my own stories each Friday (and participate in as many of Lisa's 31 Prompts as I can!) I hope you'll join in with your own.

Here is my first Friday post for Women's History Month:

1. Choose your favourite female ancestor and write a brief biography of her life. Add it as a short comment here or as a blog post on your own blog. Add a photo if you have one. 

This was an easy one. It has to be my maternal grandmother, Ruth Simpson Fuller Richardson Bates. Here's a blog post bio I wrote about her a few years ago called Happy Birthday Grandma Ruth!
and another one I wrote for Sharing Memories called Sharing Memories (Week 47): Thinking of Grandma

I miss her!



Celebrate Women's History Month! Time for Stories

Women's History Month Blog Prompts
My friend and fellow Blogger Lisa Alzo has a Meme for March - Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women's History Month

I encourage readers to join in. Lisa has some terrific blogging prompts for each day of Women's History Month.  

Meanwhile, because there are 5 Fridays in March, here are my 5 Blogging Prompts for Women's History Month. I will write my own stories each Friday (and participate in as many of Lisa's 31 Prompts as I can!) I hope you'll join in with your own:

1. Choose your favourite female ancestor and write a brief biography of her life. Add it as a short comment here or as a blog post on your own blog. Add a photo if you have one.

2. Make a list of your female ancestors beginning with your mother. Go back as far as you can. Now figure out how many children each female ancestor had. Did the females in your direct maternal line tend to have the same numbers of children each generation? Did they have more? Less? Were they prolific or are there few children born to each woman? Is there a pattern emerging?

3. Make a list of your direct line female ancestors starting with your mom. You will list your mother, her mother, her mother's mother and so on.  Write about your mtDNA findings. If you haven't been tested yet, order an mtDNA kit!  There are several companies offering DNA tests - Family Tree DNA, Ancestry DNA, 23andMe.com

4.  Do you have a  female relative (direct ancestor or collateral lineage) who played an active role in women's issues? Perhaps one who was a Suffragette or was a pioneer in a male-dominated role or occupation?  Perhaps she sailed to the New World to start a new life in the 1600s or was a refugee from a war-torn or religious-intolerant location. Tell her story in a blog post or comment here on this blog.

5. Choose one female ancestor and the historical context during her life. Pick one historical event that would have impacted on her life. Perhaps she lived through the Spanish influenza in the early 1900s or she was widowed during the Civil War, or lived through the Depression.