Monday, March 1, 2010

Fearless Females - Abigail (Vaux) Smith

The Fearless Female blog prompt for today is:

"March 1 — Do you have a favorite female ancestor? One you are drawn to or want to learn more about? Write down some key facts you have already learned or what you would like to learn and outline your goals and potential sources you plan to check."

My "favorite ancestors" are usually the ones that overcome hardship and persevere throughout their life.

I had thought of saying that my "favorite female" was Della (Smith) Carringer (1862-1944) because I know so much about Della and her life because of the ephemera and papers I have from the Treasures in the Closet, including her 1929 daily journal.

However, I'm going to say that it is Abigail (Vaux) Smith (1844-1931), daughter of Samuel and Mary Ann (Underhill) Vaux, wife of Devier J. (Lamphear) Smith (1839-1894), and mother of Della (Smith) Carringer. Abbie is my second great-grandmother on the maternal grandfather's side of my ancestry. I posted Abbie (Vaux) Smith for the Carnival of Genealogy two years ago and haven't added much, if any, information to that available then. I ended that article with:

"What a life. Abby experienced so many joys, sorrows and hardships that I can hardly imagine them. She moved her household at least eight times and probably more. She observed and experienced travel improve (?) from coaches and wagons to steamships and railroad trains to automobiles and trolleys to airplanes. She witnessed communication improve from letters to telegraph to telephone to radio. She lived on farms, in towns, on a ranch, and in a growing city.

"She "worked" in the house to the end of her life - doing the things that she learned to do at her mother's knee and taught her daughters to do.There are big gaps in my knowledge about Abby's life - I don't have any letters from the 1860 to 1887 time frame, or from about 1900 to 1929. The Letters from Home and Della's Journal are just short moments in time - snapshots of life in a place and time. But they are precious to me and invaluable to my family history.

"What a life! How I wish she had left some memoirs - they would be worthy of a book."

Since I wrote that article, I discovered the Devier and Abby (Vaux) Smith photograph from the 1870 time frame in my treasure boxes.

What other records could I look for? I'm not really sure. The 19th century and early 20th century wives are almost always ignored in the public records unless there is a scandal or a recordable event like a deed, death or estate probate. I have Abbie's death certificate - it provided the maiden name of her mother - Mary Ann Underhill.

The one record that might exist that I have not searched for is a probate record for Abigail (Vaux) Smith in San Diego County - I need to do that in the near future (as well as probate records for several other families that died in San Diego).

1 comment:

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