Miss the Madness?

If you missed out on any of the “March Madness for Genealogists” online learning series I ran during the month of March, you can now purchase digital recordings of the Webinars and handouts at Lulu.com. The following titles are now available:

Getting Started in Genealogy Part I: The Basics (digital recording; handout)

Silent Voices: Tips and Tricks for Tracing Female Ancestors (digital recording; handout)

Life Stories: How to Write a Compelling Family History Narrative (digital recording; handout)

Additional free and for purchase handouts are also available at Lulu.


Fearless Females Blog Prompts March 2010

Thanks to all the bloggers who participated in the Fearless Females Blog Posts during the month of March. Hope you enjoyed the prompts and now have a nice collection of stories and memories about your favorite female ancestors!  I also appreciate all the positive and interesting comments many of you left on various posts!

I had fun and hope you did too!


Fearless Females Blog Post: March 31 — Mini-Profile

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

I decided to write a profile for my grandmother’s sister, Anna Fencsak Bavolar.
Anna Fencsak Bavolar was born on May 15, 1893 to Ilona and Mihaly Fencsak in Freeland, PA.  She arrived in America in 1911, and was matched for marriage to George Bavolar by her sister, Mary Ceyba.  Not long after the birth of her first daughter, Mary, Anna returned to Slovakia to care for her mother, who was ill and now re-married to Mihaly Zelenak.  During that time Anna experienced conflict with her step-father who was a possessive person and did not want Anna there looking after her mother.  Ilona died in 1917, but World War I delayed Anna’s return home until 1920.  Anna and her husband eventually had four more children.  Anna’s son George was killed trying to jump on a moving truck.

Anna died in 1959 from “myocardial infarction,” and “congestive heart failure.”
Copyright 2010, Lisa A. Alzo

Fearless Females Blog Post: March 30 — Words of Wisdom

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

My mother taught me to believe in myself and that just because someone else had more money, more advantages, or more opportunities that I shouldn’t feel they were better than me, or that this made me less of a person.  She also taught me not to give up just because something seemed difficult or impossible to accomplish.  Mom was a very smart woman and while at the time I couldn’t understand the lessons or principles she was trying to teach, I can truly appreciate them now.


Fearless Females Blog Post: March 28 — Best Friend

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?

My mother’s best friend growing up was Dolores.  I don’t want to infringe on her privacy so I won’t post her last name or a photograph or any more details.  But I know that my mother was very close with her.  While Dolores moved to another state, the two still kept in touch over the years with letters and Christmas cards. Many years ago, when I threw a surprise party for my parents 50th wedding anniversary, I invited Dolores and she came!  My mother was so surprised–the two hugged and cried and spent the weekend sharing memories. I know it meant so much to my mom to have her best friend there.  It was one of those extra special moments in time that you will always remember.  

I’m not sure about my grandmothers.  They were close to many of their neighbors and women they knew from church. 

Copyright 2010, Lisa A. Alzo

Fearless Females Blog Post: March 27 — Immigration Story

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?

The immigration story of my grandmother Verona was what prompted me to begin my genealogical research.  She was the last of her siblings to immigrate to America, arriving at age 22 with her niece Mary, who was 16.

She was detained for several days at Ellis Island for medical reasons.  I wrote about her experience in my March 19th “Fearless Females” post , “Have you discovered a surprising fact about one of your female ancestors? ” and posted an image of the ship’s manifest that documented she was detained.  

Copyright 2010, Lisa A. Alzo

Fearless Females Blog Post: March 26 — Education

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

My mother graduated from high school but did not go to college (her parents could not afford it). Mom was very smart and good at math.  But she went to work after high school and after she married my father worked part time.  I think she sometimes regretted not being able to go to college, and she worked very hard to make sure I was able to, and was so proud that I went to graduate school to earn my M.F.A. degree.

My grandmothers each had what was  likely the equivalent of an 8th grade education, but by no means were they unintelligent women.  They were at a disadvantage being immigrants and, but somehow they managed their households, raised their children, were able to hold down jobs speaking very little English.

Copyright 2010, Lisa A. Alzo


Fearless Females Blog Post: March 25 — Women and Children

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

My mother was was loving and supportive, but also a disciplinarian. Now that I am adult I can really appreciate my mother’s style of parenting.  I also thank her for always believing in me and supporting my goals.  She was my role model, especially with the way she cared for her own parents.  I followed in her footsteps, caring for her and my father during their respective illnesses.  My mother taught by example.

Copyright 2010, Lisa A. Alzo

Fearless Females Blog Post: March 24 — Shared Traits

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

I inherited fine hair and fine eyebrows from my paternal grandmother–this trait appears to run on her side of the family.  Personality:  I think I am much like my mother which I believe is a good thing:  she had a huge, generous heart, but with a bit of “worry wart” mixed in! 

Copyright 2010, Lisa A. Alzo