04 March 2010

Fearless Females - Women's History Month Daily Blogging Prompts - March 1

I decided to participate in these blogging prompts, but I'm a little behind, so I'm going to try to catch up. :)

March 1 — Do you have a favorite female ancestor? One you are drawn to or want to learn more about? Write down some key facts you have already learned or what you would like to learn and outline your goals and potential sources you plan to check.

Honestly, I don't know enough about my female ancestors to really have a favorite at this time. The two I am currently most curious about though are both my maternal and paternal grandmothers. Both of them are no longer living. My paternal grandmother died before I was born and my maternal grandmother in 2003. While I am interested in aspects of my maternal grandmother's life, such as the reason behind the things she's done, I am more curious about my paternal grandmother, Arlene.

She was born in North Lima, Ohio in 1922. She was the second girl born in her family and her parents divorced sometime in the next 8 years after she was born. She lived with her grandparents and aunt for an unknown time period. Her mother remarried, but I have not obtained that information as of yet. It is unknown if she had any other half-siblings. I don't know much about her. What I do know is that she attended school, but it is unknown if she graduated. She enlisted in the Navy during World War II, but I am unsure as to what job she did. Through a relative, I was able to discover that she was very proud of serving in the military. She befriended a woman there and through mutual friends, met her husband. They both married late in life for that time period, her being 24 and my grandfather being 35 years old. She was a Lutheran, but it is unknown whether this was her religion before she met my grandfather or if she converted. I have heard that she laughed a lot and was a very nice person. She had two boys, both born in Youngstown, Ohio.

In 1961, she moved with her little family to Tucson, Arizona. Shortly after that, she appeared in a newspaper article asking whether she would be purchasing a new Easter outfit that year. She answered that she would not as she only buys when she needs things. She also mentions that she does not spend her husband's money unless she has to and she felt sorry for other husbands (Tucson Daily Citizen, March 30, 1963). This shows she was frugal, something we have in common!

She died in 1976 from cancer. Unfortunately, my grandfather threw out a lot of pictures of her in his grief. I had only seen one picture of her shortly before she died until recently. A relative on my dad's side that I found on Ancestry.com sent me photos of her when she was younger. I was surprised to see a picture of a young woman that resembles me! It's amazing how emotional I get over that. I grew up knowing very little about my dad's side of the family because it was just never talked about... and I was too young to ask, I guess. Finding a whole new line of people and families that belong to me is what started my passion for genealogy in the first place! So I'm most curious about this woman who looks like me that I've never met. 


I have lots to learn about this woman and that whole line. I've only recently decided to focus on this line, so I have lots of work to do. I want to know more about her life in Ohio, her schooling, and her military career. I'm hoping that my dad will open up about her so I can try to get to know her personality. I will attempt to locate church records and school records. I'm hoping to find a yearbook(s) for the time period she was in school. I will be focusing on completing the "skeleton" of her life by using a timeline and completing the collection of the vital records. Then I will attempt to add the meat! 

My dad managed to find some photographs that weren't destroyed. He also gave me a copy of a home video of when he was a boy! There is no audio, but I will take it! I would love to eventually visit the place she grew up and where her family is from (mainly Mahoning County, Ohio). Ultimately, my plan is to make a family history album/scrapbook with records, stories, and photographs. She will be one of my first stories.

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