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Article Published January 7, 2000



Sandra Devlin EAST COAST KIN (Canada)
By: Sandra Devlin, Biography & Archived Articles


Real-Life Examples Of Searching For Women In Your Tree
(Eighth in series - Women in Your Tree)

To begin this the ninth in a series of columns dealing with researching women in your tree, I highlight a new find for me: the Notable Women Webpage: http://www.rootsweb.com/~nwa/. Of particular interest to those whose ancestors were American, a variety of women are featured, from the very famous to the stories of everyday mothers, grandmothers, aunts and sisters.

This web site also honours a few Canadian women and best of all it invites submissions, so you can contribute and salute the importance of the women who have contributed to your gene pool. This series has prompted a flood of responses to your humble columnist.

The following is an example.
    Russ McGillivray in Toronto has had luck watching for surnames given to children as middle names, but warns it might also be misleading. He shares two other examples of success tracing female ancestors:

    The immigrant ancestors of my mother's maiden name were William Reynolds and Elizabeth ---. One day I interviewed my great-uncle and aunt, but neither of them knew Elizabeth's surname. This great-uncle and aunt were first cousins who shared William and Elizabeth as their great-grandparents. Some years later I traced the family in records from Cornwall, England and found that Elizabeth's surname was Grieve. It then struck me that my great-aunt's father was named Philip Andrew Grieve Reynolds. By this time I knew that Philip Andrew Grieve was Elizabeth's father. How could this great-aunt have grown up without asking why her father had been given such a strange name and who he was named after?

    Russ’ second example is this: “ Another immigrant ancestor is a great-great grandfather named Richard Watson Russell. I always supposed that his mother's name was Watson. On tracing the family through the IGI, I found that in fact he was named for his mother's father Richard Watson Dickson who in turn was named for his mother's father, Richard Watson. So the name Watson as a surname was 4 generations back. I doubt that Richard Watson Russell was aware of this himself. On the other hand, if he had not had such an uncommon name I probably would not have been able to identify his baptism in the IGI parish records which gave me his other's name.
As if by serendipity, a message about a search for female ancestors was recently posted on the Ile-Madame mailing list. I think it deserves a wider audience. The following are extracts from the posting written by _______________ in Halifax:
    [ PUBLISHER'S NOTE: 03 November, 2005 The person who's input was recorded in this section of Sandra Devlin's original January 2000 column contacted The Global Gazette 03 November, 2005 to request that her reference be removed from this article. We have complied with her wishes without discussion with Ms. Devlin insofar as Ms. Devlin is terminally ill with cancer and we did not want to trouble her with this request at this time. ]
Many readers have written to suggest resources and I have come up with a fairly impressive book list of books about women outside the Maritime provinces. I have not read or reviewed any of these, so their listing here is not an endorsement.

Here are a few of them, in no particular order:

Canadian women in history : a chronology. -- Moira Armour and Pat Staton. -- Toronto : Green Dragon Press, c1990 ISBN 0969195532

Some black women : profiles of black women in Canada. -- Rella Braithwaite, Tessa Benn-Ireland. -- [Toronto] : Sister Vision, c1993. ISBN 0920813844

Canadian women : a history. -- Alison Prentice, Paula Bourne, Gail Cuthbert Brandt, Beth Light, Wendy Mitchinson, Naomi Black. -- Toronto : Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, c1988. ISBN 0774731125

Canadian women of note . -- Compiled by Media Club of Canada, formerly Canadian Women's Press Club. -- [Reprint of 2nd ed.]. -- Toronto : Institute for Social Research, York University, 1994. -- 2 volumes ISBN 1550142356

The clear spirit : twenty Canadian women and their times. -- Edited by Mary Quayle Innis. -- [Toronto] : Published for the Canadian Federation of University Women by the University of Toronto Press, c1966.

Documents in Canadian women's history. -- Toronto : New Hogtown Press, 1980-1990. -- 3 vol. Vol. 1, Pioneer and gentlewomen of British North America, 1713-1867, ISBN 0919940161 (pa.) ; vol. 2, Canadian women on the move, 1867-1920, ISBN 0919940188 (pa.) ; vol. 3, No easy road : women in Canada 1920s to 1960s, ISBN 0919940234 (pa.)

Archives des femmes au Québec : guide sommaire. -- Madeleine Lamothe, Ghislaine Fecteau, Pierrette Lalancette. -- [Québec] : Archives nationales du Québec, c1990. -- ISBN 2551143438

True daughters of the North : Canadian women's history : an annotated bibliography. -- Beth Light and Veronica Strong-Boag. -- Toronto : OISE Press, 1980. -- ISBN 0774401850

Mighty women : stories of western Canadian pioneers. -- Vancouver/Toronto : Greystone, 1995, c1975. ISBN 1550544160

Her story: women from Canada's past. -- St. Catharines : Vanwell Publishing Limited, c1993. ISBN 1551250004

National Archives of Canada. -- Women's archives guide : manuscript sources for the history of women. -- Joanna Dean and David Fraser. -- Ottawa : National Archives of Canada, c1991. -- ISBN 0662580745 --

Titre français : Guide des archives sur les femmes : sources manuscrites sur l'histoire des femmes Native American women : a biographical dictionary. -- Gretchen M. Bataille, editor ; Laurie Lisa, editorial assistant. -- New York : Garland Publishing, 1993. ISBN 0824052676

Changing women, changing history : a bibliography of the history of women in Canada. -- Toronto : Green Dragon Press, [1992]. ISBN 0969195575

Quebec women : a history. -- By the Clio Collective, Micheline Dumont ... [et al]. ; translated by Roger Gannon and Rosalind Gill. -- Toronto : Women's Press, c1987. ISBN 0889611017. --

Many tender ties : women in fur-trade society in western Canada, 1670-1870. -- Winnipeg : Watson & Dwyer Pub., [1980]. ISBN 0920486061

In the presence of women : representation in Canadian governments. -- Ed. Jane Arscott, Linda Trimble. -- Toronto : Harcourt Brace & Company Canada, [1996], c1997. ISBN 0774735406

Nellie McClung: No Small Legacy, Northstone Publishing Inc. 1996. Northstone Publishing Inc. 300-1980 Cooper Road, Kelowna British Columbia V1Y 9G8

They Came: Pioneer Women of the Canadian West- A sampler of Stories and Recipes, Over the Edge Publications, Alberta 1995. Over the Edge Publications, Box 747, Elk Point, Alberta T0A 1A0.

The Clear Spirit: Twenty Canadian Women and their Times. University of Toronto Press, 1966.

Lilies of the Hearth: The Relationship between women and plants. Camden East, Ontario, Camden House Publishing, 1991.

Many Tender Ties: Women in Fur-Trade Society 1670-1870.Winnipeg, Watson and Dwyer Publishing Ltd., 1986.

Despite the Odds: Essays on Canadian Women and Science. Montreal, Vêhicule Press, 1990.

Saskatoon Women's Calendar Collective, Editor: Herstory, Regina, Saskatchewan, Coteau Books, 1975-1995 (This is a useful day calendar which includes many interesting photographs and short biographies).

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