Fearless Females: Pinterest Boards about Women’s History

Looking for even more resources for Women’s History Month?  Have you checked out Pinterest?  You can search on “Women’s History”.

Here are some boards worth a look.

Gena Philibert-Ortega has several Pinterest boards on women’s topic including:

Other boards:

National Women’s History Month (Levo League)
Women’s History (History Press)
Women’s History Month (US National Archives)

See other boards for Women’s History by clicking here.

Copyright 2014, Lisa A. Alzo
All Rights Reserved


Fearless Females: Research Tip: Five Ways to Honor Your Female Ancestors

Sharing a this blog post I wrote last year for the Legacy Family Tree Blog. Hope you will enjoy these tips for finding your female ancestors.


Legacy Family Tree Blog:  March 07, 2013 – Guest Blog Post by Lisa A. Alzo
Five Ways to Honor Your Female Ancestors
[This post has been edited slightly to reflect updated content]
When I began researching my ancestors more than 22 years ago, I started with my maternal line. Upon reflection, that may not have been the best choice because women are often much more difficult to trace than their male counterparts. March is National Women’s History Month, and the perfect time to research your female ancestors. Whether you’re just beginning or have hit a brick wall in your search, here are a few tips to get you on track to tease out those maiden names and focus more on the women in your family tree.
1. Fill in the blanks. Choose a female line to focus on. If you’ve got a number of maiden name blanks (Anna __or Mary __) on your family tree, make it your mission to try to find those maiden names. Not sure where to begin? Need a refresher course? View the Chasing Women: Finding Your Female Ancestors webinar, or pick up a copy of the Finding Female Ancestors Legacy QuickGuide™(Print, or PDF).
Lisa12. Learn about the time period. To make sure you’re not overlooking important sources, you should always learn the federal, state, and local laws that influenced your female ancestors’ rights for voting, naturalization, and other matters. For example, you can learn more about Women’s Suffrage from theNational Archives, Archives Library Information Center (ALIC), or dig into special manuscript collections or Harvard University Library’s Open Collections Program “Women Working, 1800-1930” to research women’s occupations. Find even more special collections via the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC). Enjoy other educational opportunities by attending a women’s study lecture (check with community organizations or libraries in your local area for special events), or self-study sessions on the Library of Congress website, or History.com.
3. Tell “her” story. Give voice to your female ancestors by telling their stories. The research I did on my maternal lines eventually became the foundation for my first book, Three Slovak Women, in which I pay tribute to my mother and grandmother.
If writing a book seems a bit too ambitious, try a smaller project. For example, you can write a series of profiles about different female ancestors and create a Blog where you can post them for others to read and enjoy. 
4. Create a photo collage or remembrance. If writing is not your thing, then tell the stories through images or video. They say “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Truly nothing evokes emotion like a photograph—especially one of a favorite female ancestor. Create a simple photo collage that can also double as a photo timeline. First, if you haven’t done so already, scan some images of your favorite females. The Flip-Palmobile scanner can help you get the job done. Print the images (at home if you have a photo printer, or use a local printing service). To get your images looking just right, pick up a copy of Geoff Rasmussen’s Digital Imaging Essentials. Then, purchase an inexpensive segmented collage frame at your local retail store, and insert your printed photographs. One option is to create a traditional multi-generational theme, showing several generations of women from the same family tree (e.g. you, your mother, your grandmother, great-grandmother, etc.). Alternatively, you can get creative and use themes such as holidays (your female ancestors at Christmas, Easter, etc.), or a broader theme such as family gatherings (baptisms, weddings, vacations or other special events). Another great idea is to create a photo story book or scrapbook (services such as MyCanvas from Ancestry.com, Shutterfly, or Snapfish, allow you to create customizable books or other keepsakes of different styles and price ranges. For something even more special, you could create a video, using a service such as Animoto—an online service where you can quickly create a video using still images, music, and text (their free service limits you to 30 second videos; pricing plans are available for longer videos).
5. Preserve precious memories or memorabilia. If you’re fortunate to have a female ancestor’s diary, scrapbook, or other treasure, consider turning it into a digital preservation project. Susan Peterson, who writes the Long Lost Relatives blog, found an interesting was to preserve her great grandmother’s autograph book using SlideShare. I hope to do something similar with my mother’s autograph book. In addition, there are plenty of other projects you can do such as heritage crafts, quilts, and even recipe books. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get started on my list of projects to celebrate the fabulous females in my family.
Lisa A. Alzo is a freelance writer, instructor, and lecturer. She is a frequent presenter for the Legacy Family Tree Webinars series.

A special thanks to Geoff Rasmussen and Legacy Family Tree (Millennia).

Copyright 2013-14, Lisa A. Alzo
All Rights Reserved


Fearless Females: Free Research Resources

Tracing the females in your family tree can be a daunting task.  But there are plenty of online resources to help you track them down.

Verona Straka and Mary Straka Yuhasz.  Photo courtesy of Lisa A. Alzo (personal collection).

During this month, I will be sharing a few of my favorite free websites and sources for finding female ancestors (click on the links to go to the sites). Here are the first three:

1. American Women’s History: A Research Guide.  This database provides access to digital collections of primary sources (photos, letters, diaries, artifacts, etc.) that document the history of women in the United States. Offers detailed descriptions and links to more than 600 digital collections.

2. Cyndi’s List: Female Ancestors. Cyndi’s List (run by Cyndi Ingle) has been around since 1996, and currently contains more than 320,000 links for family history, with more than 200 links for female ancestors.

3. National Women’s History Museum. The official website of the National Women’s History Museum located in Alexandria, Virginia. Watch a video clip of actress Meryl Streep introducing the museum, or take a virtual tour via the museum’s CyberExhibits covering a wide range of topics from Women in Industry to Rights for Women to Women of Jamestown.  You’ll also find educational resources such as self-guided tours, biographies, and lesson plans and quizzes (for teachers).

Happy Searching!

Copyright 2014, Lisa A. Alzo
All Rights Reserved


Fearless Females Bonus: Tracing Female Ancestors Webinar: Watch FREE for the month of March!

Celebrate Women’s History Month by learning how to research your female ancestors.

For the month of March, you can watch my previously recorded Webinar* (March 2011)  for free.

Silent Voices: Tips and Tricks for Tracing Female Ancestors 

Webinar Description: While most historical records have been created for and are about men, making it more challenging to research the women in your family tree.  In this webinar you’ll learn about key records for locating maiden names, as well as some unique resources pertaining to women, and the importance of documenting your female ancestors, including many suggestions for how to create meaningful lasting tributes to their lives. (67MB .wmv)

Click here to get to the video

*Please note that this recording is in Windows Media (.wmv) format and may not be compatible with all systems.  MAC users may wish to consider using the free Flip4Mac Player (The official Windows Media player on the Mac). 

ADDITIONAL NOTE: This webinar was recorded in 2011. Since the world of genealogy is dynamic, there may have been changes and updates to some of the resources and access to them. Please visit the websites or sources listed to get the most current information. In particular, there have been changes to accessing the Social Security Death Index, one of the sources listed in the presentation. To learn more about the latest changes, I encourage you to visit the The Legal Genealogist Blog written by Judy G. Russell, in particular the News from the SSDI front Post January 30, 2013.

Copyright, 2013-2014, Lisa A. Alzo
All Rights Reserved

*This author of this blog/webinar presenter assumes no responsibility for any incompatibility with individual computers, tablets, or mobile devices, operating systems, browsers, or the inability of any such computer or device to play this video. or any resulting effects. By clicking on the link user agrees and accepts these terms.


Back for a Fifth Year: Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month

In March 2010, I launched a series of 31 blogging prompts for celebrating and honoring the “fearless females” in our family trees. Many bloggers participated and I was asked if I planned on running them again. I’m happy to say that this series is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year.

So, to mark National Women’s History Month (beginning Saturday, March 1), I’m listing the 31 prompts below. 

You can choose to do some of them, or all of them–there’s no pressure–it’s meant to be a fun exercise to focus on the women and make sure their stories are told!  


Also, watch this blog for other ideas, prompts, and tips to learn about your female ancestors.

Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month

[Group of young womenreading in library of normal school, Washington, D.C.]Library of Congress, (Johnston, Frances Benjamin, 1864-1952, photographer.); REPRODUCTION NUMBER: LC-USZ62-100288 (b&w film copy neg.) DIGITAL ID: (b&w film copy neg.) cph 3c00288 http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3c00288

Blogging Prompts

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.

March 2 — Post a photo of one of your female ancestors. Who is in the photo? When was it taken? Why did you select this photo?

March 3 — Do you share a first name with one of your female ancestors? Perhaps you were named for your great-grandmother, or your name follows a particular naming pattern. If not, then list the most unique or unusual female first name you’ve come across in your family tree.

March 4 — Do you have marriage records for your grandparents or great-grandparents? Write a post about where they were married and when. Any family stories about the wedding day? Post a photo too if you have one.

March 5 — How did they meet? You’ve documented marriages, now, go back a bit. Do you know the story of how your parents met? Your grandparents?

March 6 — Describe an heirloom you may have inherited from a female ancestor (wedding ring or other jewelry, china, clothing, etc.) If you don’t have any, then write about a specific object you remember from your mother or grandmother, or aunt (a scarf, a hat, cooking utensil, furniture, etc.)

March 7 — Share a favorite recipe from your mother or grandmother’s kitchen. Why is this dish your favorite? If you don’t have one that’s been passed down, describe a favorite holiday or other meal you shared with your family.

March 8 — Did one of your female ancestors leave a diary, journal, or collection of letters? Share an entry or excerpt.

March 9 — Take a family document (baptismal certificate, passenger list, naturalization petition, etc.) and write a brief narrative using the information.

March 10 — What role did religion play in your family? How did your female ancestors practice their faith? If they did not, why didn’t they? Did you have any female ancestors who served their churches in some capacity?

March 11 — Did you have any female ancestors who died young or from tragic or unexpected circumstances? Describe and how did this affect the family?

March 12 — Working girl: Did your mother or grandmother work outside the home? What did she do? Describe her occupation.

March 13 — Moment of Strength: share a story where a female ancestor showed courage or strength in a difficult situation.

March 14 — Newsmakers? Did you have a female ancestor who made the news? Why? Was she famous or notorious? Did she appear in the social column?

March 15 — Write a six-word memoir tribute to one of your female ancestors.

March 16 — If you could have lunch with any female family member (living or dead) or any famous female who would it be and why? Where would you go? What would you eat?

March 17 — Social Butterfly? What social organizations or groups did your mother or grandmother belong to? Sewing circle, church group, fraternal benefit society or lodge? Describe her role in the group.

March 18 — Shining star: Did you have a female ancestor who had a special talent? Artist, singer, actress, athlete, seamstress, or other? Describe.

March 19 — Have you discovered a surprising fact about one of your female ancestors? What was it and how did you learn it? How did you feel when you found out?

March 20 — Is there a female ancestor who is your brick wall? Why? List possible sources for finding more information.

March 21 — Describe a tender moment one of your female ancestors shared with you or another family member.

March 22 — If a famous director wanted to make a movie about one of your female ancestors who would it be? What actress would you cast in the role and why?

March 23 — Create a timeline for a female ancestor using your favorite software program or an online timeline generator such as OurTimelines.Post an image of it or link.

March 24 — Do you share any physical resemblance or personality trait with one of your female ancestors? Who? What is it?

March 25 — Tell how a female ancestor interacted with her children. Was she loving or supportive? A disciplinarian? A bit of both?

March 26 — What education did your mother receive? Your grandmothers? Great-grandmothers? Note any advanced degrees or special achievements.

March 27 — Do you know the immigration story of one or more female ancestors? Do you have any passenger lists, passports, or other documentation? Interesting family stories?

March 28 — Do you remember your mother’s best friend? Your grandmother’s? How and where did they meet? How long were they friends? What activities did they share?

March 29 — Create a free Fold3 Memorial Page or a Genealogy Trading Card at Big Huge Labs for a female ancestor. Some of you may have created your own card back in September 2009 following Sheri Fenley’s post over at The Educated Genealogist. This time, the card is for your female ancestor. Tell us about who you’ve selected and why and then post a link to what you’ve created.

March 30 — Did you receive any advice or words of wisdom from your mother or another female ancestor?

March 31 — Pick one female ancestor and write a mini-profile (500 words or less).

BONUS: Take all of your postings and turn them into a memory or tribute booklet for future generations.

Post an entry on your Blog when you have created your tribute. Tell us how you did it (what format, how you printed it or digitized it, etc.).

Copyright, 2010-14, Lisa A. Alzo
All Rights Reserved