18 May 2012

Newcomb Women

Unfortunately, tracing female ancestors can be extremely difficult. Traditionally, women's names were (and typically still are) changed when they marry. Often, a wife's maiden name is lost to history, making it nearly impossible to discover her family of origin. Conversely, we may know a woman's maiden name, but be unable to find her in adulthood because we don't know the name of her husband. To compound the problem, newspaper articles and other writings in the past often treated married women as if they had no individual identity at all. The wife of John Newcomb was often just referred to as "Mrs. John Newcomb," even when the story was about her personal accomplishments. So frustrating! If, by chance, Mr. Newcomb had more than one wife over the course of his life, we may not even be able to determine which one was being discussed.

In coming weeks I will be posting information about Newcomb women, both those who were born Newcombs and those who acquired the name by marriage. I hope this will be helpful to those of you who are interested in finding out more about your female ancestors.

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