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Gena Philibert Ortega
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Started this discussion. Last reply by Declan Chalmers Jul 27, 2009.

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Women's History Month 2017: World War I's Surplus Women

Women and men in uniform, circa 1917. Center for Jewish History.
https://flic.kr/p/8pKYtZ

I've mentioned in previous posts that by the time the US entered World War I, its allies had been fighting for three years. That three years had taken a toll. Obviously, the number of causalities were much greater for those countries and would affect those left behind in the years after the war.

We see this affect with the British loss of  an estimated 886,000 lives.* When a country has such a great loss and a great number injured, what happens? That loss affects life after the war including a gap in the availability of eligible men to marry. This gap can be seen in newspaper ads of the time for women looking for husbands and in the 1921 census which shows the gap in the number of unmarried men and women. Arguments over just how many 'surplus women' in the end don't matter as author Virginia Nicholson writes,

Whatever the case, it is beyond doubt that the war has a seismic effect on marital behaviours, that all contemporary accounts take the man shortage for granted, and that many women themselves perceived the courtship arena as a competitive background, where defeat was perdition. The press played its usual mischievous part in this, by whipping up a frenzy over the 1921 Census figures, which revealed that there were 1,720,802 more females than males in the population...Hysterical headlines about the "Problem of the Surplus Women - Two Million who can never Become Wives...' were hardly conducive to morale among the husband-hunters of the day. In the event it appears that more than a million women of that generation were never to marry or bear children.**

Women who wanted a husband and family may have had to give up on that dream. Some may have found themselves competing over a small number of single men in their village. Others may have become reluctant mistresses to men who had their pick of women. Other options included emigration or life-long spinsterhood.


Additional Resources:

The National Archives (UK) - Deaths in the First and Second World War

World War 1 Centenary - ‘Surplus Women’: a legacy of World War One?

Daily Mail.com - Condemned to be virgins: The two million women robbed by the war

Nicholson, Virginia. Singled Out: How Two Million Women Survived Without Men After the First World War. Bath: Windsor/Paragon, 2008.


*The National Archives (UK) - Deaths in the First and Second World War. I've seen this number as low as 700,00 and as high as 1 million.

**Nicholson, Virginia. Singled Out: How Two Million Women Survived Without Men After the First World War. Bath: Windsor/Paragon, 2008. Page xiii.

Women's History Month 2017: After the War

https://flic.kr/p/jDhXpz

We've explored many different roles women took during World War I this Women's History Month. So for this last remaining week I want to explore some of the aftermath of the war. It's my belief that in order to research your female ancestor during the First World War, you need to take a look at her life before and after the war.

What are some of the results of the war? The question of women's citizenship comes up via the fight for suffrage  and the end of derivative citizenship. Women's choices in regards to marriage, in one country, are diminished. And of course, the Roaring '20s is known for temperance, jazz, and a "new" woman.



Additional Resources:
1914 1918 International Encyclopedia of the First World War

FirstWorldWar.com

The National World War I Museum

British Library - World War One

Library and Archives Canada - First World War



Women's History Month 2017: Gold Star Mothers




American losses in World War I were modest compared to those of other belligerents, with 116,516 deaths and approximately 320,000 sick and wounded of the 4.7 million men who served. The USA lost more personnel to disease (63,114) than to combat (53,402), largely due to the influenza epidemic of 1918.*

The United States entered the war late, nevertheless it would still feel the bitter sting of  the loss that happens with war. That loss had different consequences for each country involved. Great Britain lost a generation of men which in turn affected civilian life (more on that later).

It's not unusual for those that suffer a common loss to find each other. Those US women who lost sons and husbands during World War I were no different and their grief would be felt again and again in later wars.

Out of grief, The American Gold Star Mothers was founded. ""Who is a Gold Star Mother?" During the early days of World War I, a Blue Star was used to represent each person, man or woman in the Military Service of the United States. As the war progressed and men were killed in combat, others wounded and died of their wounds or disease, there came about the accepted usage of the Gold Star."**

You can read more about the founding of the Gold Star Mothers at their website. Some Gold Star Mothers would eventually get a government sponsored trip to Europe to see the final resting place of their son or husband. You can read more about these trips in the National Archives magazine Prologue.


  • Do you have a family member killed during World War I?
  • Have you ordered their military service record?
  • Have you conducted a search for Gold Star Mothers in the  National Archives Catalog?
  • Have you searched the newspaper?
  • Was a female ancestor a member of the American Gold Star Mothers?


Additional Resources:
GenealogyBank Blog - Gold Star Mother's Day
American Gold Star Mothers, Inc.
FamilySearch Family History Research Wiki - United States World War I Casualty Records


Graham, John W. The Gold Star Mother Pilgrimages of the 1930s: Overseas Grave Visitations by Mothers and Widows of Fallen U.S. World War I Soldiers. Jefferson, N.C: McFarland & Co, 2005.

*"War Loses (USA)," 1914-1918-online. International Encyclopedia of the First World War (http://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/article/war_losses_usa: accessed 23 March 2017).

**"History," American Gold Star Mothers, Inc. (http://www.goldstarmoms.com/About/History.htm: accessed 24 March 2017).

Women's History Month 2017: Searching for Her in His Military Records


Have you ordered the military records for your World War I soldier? You may be surprised at who else shows up in those records.

There are some surprises in my paternal great-grandfather's military records; he served in the Navy right after the end of World War I. Yes, his service is documented in those records but the names of three women in his life also appear.

He entered the service while living with his parents. Not surprisingly, his mother is listed as the next of kin and the beneficiary of his insurance. Both of his parents were alive at this time but his father's name does not appear on these records.

What other women appear on these records? While my great-grandfather was in the Navy, he met and fell in love with my great-grandmother and they married.

But her name does not appear in these records. Information about their marriage does, but not her name.

However, when it came time to be discharged he wanted to be discharged in California, where his new wife and her family lived. So he wrote a letter to his commanding officer explaining the situation. He also included a statement from two witnesses who verified that his wife lived in California and they had established a home there. The two witnesses? His wife's mother and sister.

Always get the military records. There is often information that you didn't expect to find. If you're lucky, that information may include the women in his life.



Additional Resources:

National Archives - Research in Military Records

FamilySearch - World War I United States Military Records

Library and Archives Canada - Personnel Records of the First World War

The National Archives (UK) - How to look for records of First World War

Schaefer, Christina K. The Great War: A Guide to the Service Records of All the World's Fighting Men and Volunteers. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing, 2006.


Women's History Month 2017: Women and the WWI Draft

Library of Congress http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/ppmsca.50555/?co=wwipos
Let's start to explore women in the World War I era by using records that involve the men in their lives.

Women leave fewer records behind. They have historically lived lives of domesticity, denied full citizenship and rights until well into the 20th century. So they have not left a multitude of official records.

However, women can be found in the records of the men they are related to. Aside from marriage records, you might find them mentioned in a military pension or a mortgage. So in order to exhaustively research a woman you need to research the men she's related to.

The genealogist's most familiar World War I resource is the World War I Draft Registration available on various genealogy websites. The Draft Registration is one of those records that we tend to just use and not study. I highly recommend the book Uncle, We are Ready! Registering America's Men 1917-1918 by John J Newman. This book was published before the WWI draft could easily be searched online but provides historical information about the three draft registrations and all the different types of men who registered (including non-citizens).

Newman begins his book with a  history of the  World War I draft and then explains that:

The means to execute the military census was through use of registration cards. These were designed to determine who was eligible for meeting draft criteria, if occupation or family situation could be cause for exemption, and to determine general physical characteristics and conditions...Men were to be chosen for military service who would impact least the family and society while at the same time proportioning those eligible to the lowest jurisdiction possible. {9}*

This "military census" was done via three different registrations and each registration had its own card. Two of the registrations asked for information on the person's nearest relative.  The first registration didn't ask for information about the nearest relative but it did ask if the man was married or single. So while the first registration provides a clue if the man was married the other two registrations might list a wife, mother, or other female relative.


Additional Resources:

FamilySearch - United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

FamilySearch Wiki - United States World War I Draft Records

National Archives - World War I Draft Registration Cards


*Newman, John J. Uncle, We Are Ready!: Registering America's Men, 1917-1918.  A Guide to Researching World War I Draft Registration Cards. North Salt Lake, Utah: Heritage Quest, 2001.




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Learn More About Business Skills: Creating a Business

Join Shannon Bennett and Gena Philibert-Ortega on Tuesday, March 28th at noon EDT when they discuss Shannon's experience taking the Business Skills: Creating a Business course from The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. They would be happy…
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Join Us for Genealogy Virtual Meetings This Month

Do you have any questions about your genealogy research? Join The National Institute for Genealogical Studies for a virtual meeting applicable to your question during March. Even if you don’t have questions you are welcome to just listen, lurk, and…
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February 2017 Genealogy Virtual Meeting

Do you have any questions about your genealogy research? Join instructors from The National Institute for Genealogical Studies for a virtual meeting applicable to your question during February. Even if you don’t have questions you are welcome to…
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Twile is now completely free for everybody

 Doncaster: 7th February 2017Family history timeline Twile announces its service is now free for all users.The UK based company, who will be exhibiting at RootsTech in Salt Lake City thisweek, have revised their subscription in order to fully embrace their mission ofmaking family history more engaging for the whole family.The totally free service now allows all Twile users to: Build their family tree Share and collaborate with family Add unlimited milestones and photos Import trees and…See More
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A GENEALOGIST’S GUIDE TO BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS RELEASED

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEDecember 4, 2016 | Utica, OHEmail Terri O’Connell for contact details, review copies, photos, and an author bio. A GENEALOGIST’S GUIDE TO BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS RELEASEDThe fourth in a series of guides to popular research destinations  The In-Depth Genealogist is pleased to present their newest book in the research series by writer, Jacqueline Gamble entitled “A Genealogist’s Guide to Boston, Massachusetts”. The…See More
Dec 5, 2016
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Save 50% on a Genealogy Course from The National Institute for Genealogical Studies

It’s Black Friday at The National Institute for Genealogical Studies and that means a sale on genealogy courses. For a few days only save 30% off all course packages (save up to $800) and 50% off your choice of one course (save up to $80). To…
Nov 25, 2016
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November Genealogy Virtual Meetings

Do you have any questions about your genealogy research? Join us for a virtual meeting applicable to your question during November. Even if you don't have questions you are welcome to just listen, lurk and learn! We don't mind in the least. Below is…
Nov 11, 2016
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Presentation on Australian Gazettes Today!

Join us for this FREE online presentation. Friday, October 28th at 7:00 PM EDT – Lecturing Skills Student Presentation with host, Kathy Holland "Treasures in Australian Government Gazettes" presented by Rosemary Kopittke. Why bother using…
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A GENEALOGIST’S GUIDE TO SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS RELEASED

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEAugust 23, 2016 | Utica, OHEmail Terri O’Connell for contact details, review copies, photos, and an author bio. A GENEALOGIST’S GUIDE TO SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS RELEASEDThe third in a series of guides to popular research destinations The In-Depth Genealogist is pleased to present their newest book…See More
Aug 24, 2016
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Spammer Removed From Site

This morning we received a report of a spammer posting on some member's GenealogyWise pages. That person has been removed from the website. GenealogyWise takes spamming very seriously. When we receive such reports we remove that person from the…
Aug 12, 2016
Gena Philibert Ortega commented on Lynn Palermo's blog post Writing a Family Biography (Part 2)- A Handy Template
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Jul 15, 2016
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"Andy, Have you tried contacting RootsMagic support. They can assist you. Here's the support options: https://www.rootsmagic.com/Help/? Gena"
Jul 6, 2016
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Genealogy Virtual Meetings This Week

The final virtual meetings scheduled for the month of June are coming up on Tuesday and Wednesday. Hope you can join us if the session is applicable to your family history research! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ On Tuesday, June 28th at 6:30 AM EDT Brenda…
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"Gena Philibert Ortega,  for some reason the system says my chat is shut off? I keep clicking to go into chat room and it says not available? SusiCP@cox.net 619 623 5250"
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What surnames are you interested in researching?
McNeil, Smith, Nikolaus, Hibbert, Philibert, Harsbarger, Montgomery, Randall, Earlywine, Chatham, Lewis, Ortega, Ochoa, Marquez, Aquino
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USA, Mexico, England
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Twile is now completely free for everybody

 

Doncaster: 7th February 2017

Family history timeline Twile announces its service is now free for all users.

The UK based company, who will be exhibiting at RootsTech in Salt Lake City this

week, have revised their subscription in order to fully embrace their mission of

making family history more engaging for the whole…

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Posted on February 7, 2017 at 8:35am

A GENEALOGIST’S GUIDE TO BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS RELEASED

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 4, 2016 | Utica, OH

Email Terri O’Connell for contact details, review copies, photos, and an author bio.

 

A GENEALOGIST’S GUIDE TO BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS RELEASED

The fourth in a series of guides to popular research destinations 

 

The In-Depth…

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Posted on December 5, 2016 at 8:41am

A GENEALOGIST’S GUIDE TO SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS RELEASED

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 23, 2016 | Utica, OH

Email Terri O’Connell for contact details, review copies, photos, and an author bio.

 

A GENEALOGIST’S GUIDE TO SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS…

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Posted on August 24, 2016 at 7:49am

Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) Offers Free Webinar Tuesday, 16 February 2016

News Release 2 February 2016

Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) Offers Free Webinar Tuesday, 16 February 2016

“The Importance of Context in Record Analysis” by Barbara Vines Little, CG, FNGS, FVGS

Source citations provide context for the information we gather. The details provide background context that helps us…

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Posted on February 2, 2016 at 2:40pm

Registration Opens for the National Genealogical Society's 2016 Family History Conference

NATIONAL GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY

3108 Columbia Pike, Suite 300

Arlington, VA 22204-4370

Phone 703-525-0050 or 800-473-0060

Fax 703-525-0052…

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At 6:41pm on May 4, 2016, Susi (Susan C Jones) Pentico said…

Yup the correct word is NOT CONNECTED????  SusiCP@cox.net

At 6:40pm on May 4, 2016, Susi (Susan C Jones) Pentico said…

Gena Philibert Ortega,  for some reason the system says my chat is shut off? I keep clicking to go into chat room and it says not available?

SusiCP@cox.net

619 623 5250

At 10:36am on March 6, 2016, Joe said…

Hello Gena, Thanks for trying to address my email issue. When I click settings...Profile...change email, it gives me a link to click on in my new email. when I do click on it, it takes me to my page. when I re-enter my profile the old address is still there

At 6:49pm on September 15, 2011, Erin Bradford (freeaainnc) said…
Hi!  I tried emailing you about the possibility of starting a new chat, but it bounced and said your box was full.  When you have some space in your email, could you email me freeaainnc@ncalhn.org?  Thanks!
At 2:49pm on August 29, 2011, Hal Horrocks said…

Gena,

Is there nothing your not involved in?

LOL

Hal Horrocks

At 7:55am on July 14, 2011, James P. LaLone said…

Gena,

Check out Monica Diesma posting the same message to many people, I think it is spam to get in contact with people. Jim.

At 10:29pm on May 12, 2011, Lawrence Wright said…
Thanks for the comment and encouragement Gena.  This is a wonderful site.  I have to confess that I feel a bit overwhelmed.  Trying to find the right pedagogy to learn this has left me feeling like a deer looking at an oncoming car at night with bright headlights on.   Larry
At 11:16am on February 9, 2011, Ellen Healy said…
Gena, So glad to see you here again. I didn't know you had been gone until it was mentioned one night on the chat. Good news!!!
At 8:26pm on November 10, 2010, Ellen Healy said…
Hi, Gena, I really love the lists of sites you have been posting in the newsletter. They are very helpful, and I just copied the ones from todays' newsletter on military records. One question I have is do you know of any good sites where records of the Spanish-American War are listed?
At 5:31pm on October 27, 2010, Sharon Rollins Pustejovsky said…
Gena,
Thanks for the welcome! I look forward to using GenealogyWise and getting to know other users, and helping each other as much as possible.

Sincerely,
Sharon Pustejovsky
 
 
 

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