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Wednesday Wisdom: The Significance of Historical Connections

August 15, 2018

Wednesday Wisdom and Inspiration for Women Entrepreneurs, Feminists, Female Athletes and Female Business Owners

Ever since our family’s reunion last weekend where we shared stories about our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents I have contemplated history. This summer as women visited me at my historic 1862 home, one of the oldest in our town, I shared its age and how I hope a great fore-mother walked the dirt road in front of this house back in time. I love envisioning a suffragette entering the doorway and sharing suffrage inspiration with female relatives and friends.

Yesterday, as I drove down the road past a very old cemetery, looking at the once-all-white monuments tarnished over time with plants and black mold, I turned the corner and saw a horse with buggy and a young Amish man pulling fresh cut trees out of a wooded lot. I took two looks to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. I felt for a moment I was in 1862 and saw its history in a flash.

If my story didn’t make you think of your ancestors or historic surroundings, the multiple television commercials like might have you dreaming of your blood line. Do the blood tests work and who could they turn up you wonder? Well unbeknownst to my husband’s family, a new relative, biologically connected to my mother-in-law, appeared and we’re meeting him and his family this weekend. When you think you live in a small world, sometimes you are. It will be interesting to see if there are any family resemblances, familiar family stories or similarities in upbringings.

As I shared this with my mother, she said, “I know for sure we are from Italy because when I traveled there your grandfather’s relatives welcomed me and showed me to a small, old town hall where his mother’s name was etched into an old yellow community history book in her own writing.” She also said, “I visited Ellis Island and saw your grandfather’s name written in their records.” I’ve always thought “Life was too short not to be Italian” a favorite t-shirt slogan I once saw, so I was glad to hear my Italian born grandfather was in fact Italian and so was I.

What these new DNA companies are advertising make you wonder if the truth of your origins are true. I love hearing the stories of my ancestor’s travels across the ocean from Italy to America. I also take pleasure in listening to stories of the suffragettes and wishing I had met them. I have searched my female family history in hopes a true feminist was in my blood line. From what I know about both sides of my family, there were none so I suppose I’m the first feminist in my family trying to make a difference for women today and tomorrow.

Tracy Higginbotham at Emmeline Pankhurst Momument in London, England. Emmeline was working for women’s suffrage in 1862!

This “historic soul of mine” is really excited to meet other women with similar female passion at next week’s “First Equality Weekend” in Rochester. Not only are outstanding women in politics, business and history going to be there, but also a man name Kenneth Morris, the great-great-great grandson of Fredrick Douglass and the great-great-grandson of Booker T. Washington. Kenneth’s mother is the daughter of Nettie Hancock Washington (granddaughter of Booker T. Washington) and Dr. Fredrick Douglass IIII (great grandson of Fredrick Douglass). You don’t need to know a lot about African American History to recognize these names.

June 1, 2015 Headshot of Lt. Gov. Hochul

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is to encourage you to really contemplate joining me on August 23-26th, at a historic women’s equality weekend to infuse powerful female’s history and women’s rights into your spirit. I bet by the time you leave you are highly inspired by our fore-mothers, current activists, female politicians and educators making a personal impact today. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll find a female relative connection in the crowd without using a DNA service. I get really excited when I ask myself, “Who will I meet at this event and what door will open for both of us?”

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