Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Your Fearless Females Education

March has just flown by and we have arrived at the last Saturday of this moth, which is also Women’s History Monty. Being Saturday, it is time for Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun and our challenge this week directly ties into our own women’s history.

1)  It’s National Women’s History Month, so I’m going to use today’s prompt from Lisa Alzo.  What education did your mother receive? Your grandmothers? Great-grandmothers? Note any advanced degrees or special achievements.

This prompt is somewhat of a quickie for me. I was the first female in my family tree to attend college, where I earned both a Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education at the University of Rhode Island and Spanish and a Master of Science degree in bilingual special education at Fordham University.

My mother, Doris Priscilla (Adams) Sabo attended Rutgers University, but didn’t earn a degree. She also attended and graduated from Katherine Gibbs Secretarial School and had a career as a secretary promoted to officer manager for a company that made the copper rollers used to print fabrics.

My paternal grandmother, Julia (Scerbak) Sabo, only had the opportunity to finish fourth grade. In the 1800s and earlier, there were no schools in the Rusyn villages. Education only arrived at some of them in the 1890s, when Nana was a small girl, and then only went as high as fourth grade.

In spite of no opportunity for higher education, Nana was a sharp lad who kept the books for the family meat business. I also have memories of standing next to her in the A&P Grocery Store. As the checker entered the cost of her food items using the register, Nana mentally added up the bill. I remember more than once, she told the checker he was wrong and to re-calculate. However, I don’t ever remember Nana being wrong!

My maternal grandmother, Hazel Ethel (Coleman) Adams , completed two years of high school before having to get a job and earn some money. She was very artistic and musical. She loved to paint and played the piano beautifully.

None of my earlier paternal Rusyn ancestors attended any school at all.

On the maternal side of the tree, great grandmother Annie (Stuart) Adams, who grew up in the small Maine village of Meddybemps, completed 8th grade, per the 1940 census. Annie eventually became the owner of a successful ladies’ accessories shop in Calais, Maine.

My other maternal great grandmother, Anna (Jensen) Coleman, was born in Copenhagen, Denmark and, as far as I know, attended school there until the family emigrated to the United States in 1884 when Anna was 12 years old.

Whether she attended school in Maine, where the family settled, is not known. The 1900 census confirms that Anna could read, write and speak English (as could her father.)

I don’t know anything about any talents or interests that Anna had, as she died when my grandmother was just 15 years old when she was a homemaker raising her two children.

I have been able to prove that other maternal female ancestors were literate enough to at least sign their names. The earlier ancestor that I know of, Katherine (Marbury) Scott, born c1610, and the sister of Anne (Marbury) Hutchinson, were daughters of clergyman Francis Marbury. It is known that both girls, unusual for the time, were taught to read and write.

That’s it for this week’s SNGF challenge. Thank you to Lisa Alzo and Randy Seaver for a fun topic to close out Women’s History Month.



One thought on “Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Your Fearless Females Education”

  1. Congratulations on being the first college graduate. I thought I was the first until I began genealogy research.

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