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TALKING TO MYSELF: 11 May 2014 When I opened my email this morning, I was surprised to find a message from Ancestry.com promising "fun facts about the mothers in your family." What "fun" tidbits about my maternal ancestors could the Ancestry computer possibly share, I wondered, that I hadn't already unearthed? After all, everything it knows about the names in my family tree, it learned from me. Still, I was intrigued enough to click on the suggested link, and I'm glad that I did.
For starters, I learned that over the past two hundred years, three fourths of the women in my family were twenty-five or older when they first gave birth. This statistic stunned me because it seems to go against the tide of history. Were my maternal ancestors hard-to-marry-off daughters who hung around the paternal hearth until destiny finally delivered a willing suiter? Or were they choosy when selecting a helpmate, preferring to delay marriage until they were in the fullness of womanhood? I lean toward the latter because I certainly come from a line of strong minded women. There were few sit-back, be-quiet and take-it types among those I've researched.
What tickled me most, however, was learning that my surname would have been McGINNIS if passed on through the maternal line. I would have been GEORGIA MCGINNIS descended from one AMERICA McGINNIS, a third g-grandmother. Of course, Ancestry arbitrarily began with her, rather than reaching back even more generations. Still, it seems appropriate to begin my maternal line with a woman strong enough to get through life named America. Certainly, I'm honored to stand in the long line, not only of America McGinnis, but of America's mothers.