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Throughout history women have been silent partners. As a rule, they left behind few records of themselves because they had few legal rights. When they married, they generally gave up their maiden name, which faded from the records; they couldn’t own land in their own name and sometimes couldn’t even leave wills. They have come to be known as the "hidden half" of the family, and they are notoriously difficult to research. But with some basic instructions and a few well-placed suggestions offered in this Genealogy at a Glance research guide, Sharon Carmack shows you how to get around these obstacles and create a complete family history.
Since female research is expected to be difficult, it is often ignored, leaving researchers to work mostly on easier male lines. This need not be the case, suggests Carmack, who says we just need to work smarter rather than harder in pursuing female ancestors. The key to finding female ancestors, in her view, centers around finding maiden names in every possible type of record, from the obvious to the obscure, including records created about and for women, such as divorce petitions, widows’ pensions, and dower releases. While these records may not lead to maiden names, you can still identify women in a host of records that someone else created or named them in.
This Genealogy at a Glance guide focuses on the special aspects of female research and provides a reading list and a list of online sources to carry you further in your research. If you want to explore this hidden subject quickly and efficiently, you’ll find this guide to be indispensable.