Genealogy at a Glance: Finding Female Ancestors

There are several disadvantages to researching female ancestors, compared to males, as described by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack in her guide Genealogy at a Glance: Finding Female Ancestors. First, women have long been the “silent partner” in most marriages. Historically, men handled virtually all business; thus, records only held the names of men. In many places and cultures, women were not allowed to act for themselves in the courts, in business transactions, nor were they allowed to even own land. Add to this the cultural variances that had women take, or not take, their husband’s surname; especially, were legal matters applied.

Clearly, if many traditional records used to find men won’t work to find women, then an alternate course of research is needed. Carmack  provides insight into these difficulties, help in determining information like mainden names and parents, and resources where a women is likely to be found. Add to this a short glossary and some online resources and the result is a well-rounded, quick guide to female ancestral research.

Sharon DeBartolo Carmack is a certified genealogy expert. Carmack has authored two books, Carmack’s Guide To Copyright & Contracts and You Can Write Your Family History, has written four additional Genealogy at a Glance guides, and has written many articles, some of which can be found in Heritage Quest Magazine on CD. Here are the other four guides she has written:

Like all the Genealogy At A Glance sheets, this guide is a four-page, full-color limited brochure meant to be easily stored and sized to take with you when conducting related research. In this guide, Humphrey provides plenty of additional tips and further references to please the most avid researcher.. The Contents of this sheet include:

Quick Facts and Important Dates

The Challenge of Researching Your Female Ancestors

Determining Maiden Names and Parents

Other Sources Created about and for Women

  • Divorce Petitions
  • Insanity Records
  • Naturalizations
  • Widows’ Pensions
  • Dower Releases

Sources Created by Women


Other Online Sources


Find the help you need, and carry it with you, with your own copy of Genealogy At A Glance: Finding Female Ancestors available at Family Roots Publishing; Price: $8.77.

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