Fearless Females Challenge: March 19 – Surprising Fact

The following post continues the month long Fearless Females Challenge by Lisa Alzo, author of The Accidental Genealogist blog, which is focused on “celebrating and honoring ‘fearless females’ in our family trees” to mark National Women’s History Month, which is the month of March, with a post responding to unique prompts for each day of the month. (Note: Because I started this challenge late, I will be continuing it beyond March 31.)

Prompt for March 19 — Have you discovered a surprising fact about one of your female ancestors? What was it and how did you learn it? How did you feel when you found out?

While researching my ancestry I have discovered a few surprising facts, some of which include some of my female ancestors. One of the surprising facts involving a female ancestor I discovered is the fact that my paternal great grandmother, Maxine Elizabeth (Davis-Kernan) Smith (1912-1992), was adopted. Growing up, I never knew that she was adopted and that her parents, William Phylitis Davis (1876-1960) and Mary Magdelene “Linnie” Williams (1883-1968), were not her biological parents. I also never knew that she spent many years of her adult life trying to find out more about her biological parents. I learned about this from my grandfather, William Kernan (LIVING), who sent me newspaper clippings telling the story of when Maxine met her biological mother, which was also a surprise (that she met her biological mother). From this meeting with her biological mother, Maxine not only learned the circumstances of her adoption, but also details about her biological parents, George Benton Beeney (1890-1970) and Gladys M. Cook (1894-1957). She learned that her parents were young and not ready to have a family, and that her biological father was from Ohio, which is where he eventually returned following their separation and divorce. When I found this out, I thought how difficult it must have been for Maxine to learn this all; but also how wonderful it must have been for her to find her biological parents and get to meet her biological mother.

Maxine's Reunion with her Biological Mother: Maxine (center), Gladys (right), and Linnie (left)
Maxine’s Reunion with her Biological Mother: Maxine (center), Gladys (right), and Linnie (left)

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