Tracing female ancestors can be one of the most difficult challenges for genealogists. Historically, women had fewer legal rights than the men in their lives. As a result, they were often hidden behind the identities of those men, and did not leave much of a paper trail behind. Successful research into elusive female ancestors often calls for different methodology—focusing on the men in their lives, and on networks of friends, neighbors, and associates. When enough evidence pointing toward a woman’s identity can be assembled, DNA can sometimes help verify the paper trail.
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