Genealogy Tip O’ the Day: Don’t Shortchange Mothers on Mothers’ Day or any Day!
Here we are on the cusp of Mothers’ Day. Before I fell in love with genealogy my attitude about Mothers’ Day was that it was just a figment of the Hallmark Card Company’s imagination. Sure, I love my mother. She passed away at 93 just two years ago and everyone in our family miss her every, single day. Again, as a genealogist, I also really miss her advice, suggestions, and shared determination to discover all we could about our ancestry, especially our Czech genealogy, which is generations deep on her side of the family.
Compound this with the luxury I had of watching my wife of 39 years being a world-class Mom to our two children and I was sold on the power of Mothers. Then add my love of genealogy and all I have learned about the incredibly strong women in our family tree and there you have it!
Mothers’ Day is indeed something truly special!
It wasn’t long while working on our personal family tree when the strength of the distaff side of the family began to show itself. Over and over, in our history, it was a woman who somehow, against the odds, held the family together when giving up might have been a much easier path.
My maternal grandmother lost her husband during the Great Depression when he got ill and would not take a sick day from work for fear of losing his job. She had two children at that time and she proceeded to be a single mom for the rest of her life. Her first job after the loss of my grandfather was as a hotel maid for the Hotel Cleveland. She worked hard and after a few years became a supervisor and in charge of cleaning all the brass in the public areas of the hotel. She would go home after work and she and my mom would spend the nights making chocolates. My mom would then go door-to-door selling them to make the family some extra money. One of my fondest memories of my grandmother is when she taught me the secret to the swirls on top of each filled chocolate so I was able for the rest of my life to know (without sticking my finger in the bottom of each piece) what was inside. Let me tell you that to a young boy this was like knowing the best secret code of all the spies in the world!
Elsewhere in my family tree there are stories after stories of families saved by the strength of a woman. I had grown up believing divorce was a rarity in society before the ‘terrible 1970s’ as my father called them. However, as I learned the truth, in my family tree at least, it was fairly common and again, it was just as common for me to see it was more often than not the woman of the family who picked up the pieces and carried on!
I also have several women in my family tree to thank for leading me to discoveries that broke down some of my sturdiest brick walls. Had I not spent six months working on the marriage of one of my maternal great aunts, I highly doubt I would have ever discovered the ancestral village of my Bohemian (Czech) ancestors and my Czech genealogy would not be anywhere near as complete as it is back to the 1600s.
So this Mothers’ Day be sure to give your Mom an extra hug and kiss if you are lucky enough to still have her with you and if not, say an extra prayer of thanks to your Mom and all the Mothers of your family tree.
Plus as you work on your family history and genealogy take some extra time and make sure you give these wonderful women all the attention you can!
After all, it is their day and they certainly deserve it!
Happy Mothers’ Day,
Onward To Our Past®