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Started this discussion. Last reply by Declan Chalmers Jul 27, 2009. 11 Replies 0 Likes
I've always loved this photo. "Women workers employed as wipers in the roundhouse having lunch in their rest room, C. & N.W. R.R., Clinton, Iowa " depicts women working for the railroad in 1943. The color and image are as vivid as if it was yesterday.
The photo depicts these women enjoying a lunch break. You get a sense of their work life by studying their clothes, lunch, and lunch boxes. Their uniform includes overalls, hair coverings, and eye protection. These are part of the tools of their trade.
|Flickr the Commons, https://flic.kr/p/4jv942|
One of my paternal great-grandmothers worked as a restaurant cook. She always wore a uniform consisting of a white dress, comfortable white shoes, and an apron. That's how I remember her. Writing about her work life, I can include that uniform and why she would have worn it. I may not have her work records but I can piece together her work-life from home sources, genealogical records, and details like what she wore.
What did your female ancestor do outside of the home? What was her uniform?
Where did she live? Have you written about the actual home she lived in? Describing what she lived in and what it looked like can help.
We tend to think all houses are the same, but they aren't, especially as you think about location and era. Even today, you may live with something you take for granted, for example, a basement or attic, but depending on where someone else lives, they may not enjoy those features in their home (I've never lived in a home with a basement).
|Image by Freddy from Pixabay (https://pixabay.com/photos/car-abandoned-house-old-house-6667559/)|
House research is a great addition to her story. Even if her house was a tenement. Her address might be found in a census, city directory, or tax list. Even if you don't have a photo, you might find a description in a library's local history collection or in an archive photo collection.
Did your 20th-century female ancestor/family member drive a car? Did she own a car? Did she know how to drive?
|My cousin's 1969 Ford Cougar|
Driving in the early part of the 20th century was quite different than driving today. Heck, even driving 40 years ago was different.
Home sources to look at include a driver's license and photos of the car. Family stories might be told about her driving abilities, where she drove, and the cars she drove. Additional research could include laws for that time period and place, images of that car, descriptions of the car, and what it included.
Although this may seem more like recent history, it's still important to document. My car today has GPS and satellite radio. It even lets you know when you are too close to another car. However, I learned to drive as a teenager with a 1961 Volkswagon Bug that had no air conditioning, no fuel gauge, and no seat belts. Times change, and we need to document that.
Back in 2019, my theme for Women's History Month was "I'm in the Book." I used that month to illustrate all of the different types of directories that include women's names. Directories and personal telephone books are typically a home source you might come across after someone has passed. It might seem like the type of ephemera that should be thrown away. However, directories can provide some insight into her life.
|From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega|
Take, for instance, this example of a National Roster of the Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic (1933-1934). This directory is a list of names, affiliations, and addresses of women who held leadership positions in the LGAR. It also includes some other national groups like the Grand Army of the Republic and the Women's Relief Corps. What this directory is not is an every-person member list.
This is a directory that the owner may not be named in, so what good is it? Just having it suggests she was a member of the LGAR. What that suggests is that she had a family member (a blood relation) who was a Union soldier, sailor, marine, or nurse. Their website states membership in LGAR is for:
"All female blood relatives, ten (10) years of age or over, of honorably discharged Union Soldiers, Sailors and Marines of the Civil War, 1861 to 1865, also ex-army nurses of that War, are eligible for membership" (http://www.lgarnational.org/Membership.html)
Owning this directory (and if she lived during those dates) suggests she (or a family member) was a member. I would take that and try to determine what records exist for her membership as well as look into a soldier, sailor, marine, or ex-army nurse who was related to her.
When we find directories, we need to go beyond what they include and ask questions. These questions can include:
Yesterday I mentioned quilts. Today for National Quilt Day, I wanted to mention a type of quilt that your ancestor may have been a part of that may or may not be something she owned.
|From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega|
Signature quilts were gifted to someone, or they were used as a fundraiser. So an ancestor's name may be on a quilt, but they did not own it because it was created as a gift for a family member or a friend or auctioned off. However, it's good to keep an eye out for any mention of this type of quilt in newspaper articles or local histories. In one case, I found a signature quilt that included my maternal grandmother's name in an Images of America book on her hometown.
The Quilt Index includes lists of quilts, including signatures quilts that should be searched. They also have an article on the subject at https://quiltindex.org/view/?type=essays&kid=2-129-1.
Gena Philibert Ortega has not received any gifts yet
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Yup the correct word is NOT CONNECTED???? SusiCP@cox.net
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?
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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
Is there nothing your not involved in?
Check out Monica Diesma posting the same message to many people, I think it is spam to get in contact with people. Jim.
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