Reflecting on Women of Yesteryear

Personal genealogy led me on a journey toward writing the biography of my Irish great-great grandmother, Harriet Susannah Ellis. This led to another book currently underway – the biography of all four maternal great-great grandmothers (an Out of Obscurity book).

These four women – Harriet Susannah Ellis (born 1863 in Co. Sligo, Ireland), Amanda Empey (born 1860 in Ontario, Canada), Rebecca Hayes Kennedy (born 1845 in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania), and Harriet Cooper Cook (born 1844 in the U.S. state of Wisconsin) – lived at a time when tenacity was a required life skill. They each moved during their lifetime; Amanda moved within the province of Ontario after becoming a widow, the other three moved great distances – Harriet Cooper Cook died in Nebraska in 1888 (her husband and children continued on to the west coast), while Rebecca Hayes Kennedy made her way from the U.S. East coast to the U.S. west coast and Harriet Susannah Ellis migrated from Ireland to Vancouver, Canada.

Three became widows while raising children, the fourth died while raising children – thus leaving her husband a widower.

All four women lived a a time when raising families looked different than it does today. They lived during the times of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie books. Thus, more was done “by hand” than how we live today. They were all born before telephones and radio, yet some of their grandchildren lived to experience the internet.

I am glad to be learning about their lives as I write their biographies.

Kim Burkhardt conducts professional genealogy services for clients. Learn more about here “Out of Obscurity” genealogy services here.


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