"By law and by custom women's individual identities have been subsumed by those of their husbands. For centuries women were not allowed to own real estate in their own name, sign a deed, devise a will, or enter into contracts, and even their citizenship and their position as head of household have been in doubt. Finding women in traditional genealogical record sources, therefore, presents the researcher with a unique challenge, for census records, wills, land records, pension records--the conventional sources of genealogical identification--all have to be viewed in a different perspective if we are to establish the genealogical identity of our female ancestors. Whether listed under their maiden names, married names, patronymic/matronymic surnames or some other permutation, or hidden under such terms as "Mrs.," "Mistress," "goodwife," "wife of," or even "daughter of," it is clear that women are hard to find.
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