Monday, March 20, 2017

Overlapping Years of a Few Females in My Line

During this Women's History Month I've been mentally focusing on the women in my family--women who were daughters and mothers, granddaughters and grandmothers.

I've been thinking about the nurturing influence women have on the lives of their children, especially when children remained at home with their mothers until they went off to school.  "The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world" may be more true in times past when infants and children traditionally grew up at the feet of their mothers.  Even though times have changed, the bond between mother and child is usually the strongest bond in the lives of children. 

What morals and values did mothers teach their daughters?  How did the daughters learn about work, responsibility, money management, about keeping a home?  How did grandmothers support their daughters as they became new mothers and as their granddaughters grew?  Certainly grandmothers who lived nearby had more contact and, therefore, more opportunity to interact with and teach their granddaughters.

I thought it would be interesting to take note of how many years a daughter had with her mother and her grandmother.  All just for the sake of curiosity, although, of course, there is the aspect of time spent with mothers and the learning that happens when girls spend time with their older female family members....

Audrey and Emma on left
Audrey (Meinzen) Doyle, my mother, was born in June, 1915.
  • Audrey's mom, Emma (Bickerstaff) Meinzen, was nearly 22 when she was born.  Their lives overlapped 58 years, from 1915-1973.
  • Audrey's grandmother, Mary (Thompson) Bickerstaff, was 42 when she was born.  Their lives overlapped 25 years, from 1915-1940.
  • Audrey's great-grandmother, Lydia (Bell) Thompson, was 64 when Audrey was born.  Their lives overlapped 14 years, from 1915-1930.

Mary center left, Emma on right
Emma (Bickerstaff) Meinzen was born in July, 1893.
  • Emma's mother, Mary, was 21 when she was born.  Their lives overlapped 47 years, from 1893-1940.
  • Emma's grandmother, Lydia, was 41 when she was born.  Their lives overlapped 37 years, from 1893-1930.

Mary (Thompson) Bickerstaff was born in October, 1872.
  • Mary's mother, Lydia, was 21 when she was born.  Their lives overlapped 58 years, from 1872-1930.

myself and older daughter
And me?
  • My daughters' lives and my life have overlapped 35 and nearly 30 years -- and counting.
  • My mother's and my life overlapped 47 years.
  • My grandmother Emma's and my life overlapped 23 years.

How about you?  How many years has your life overlapped with the lives of your female ancestors?


Copyright ©2017 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.


  1. My mother and I overlap 54 years; my grandmother and I overlap 39 years; my great grandmother and I overlap 7 years.

    I am amazed at your ancestor becoming a grandmother at 31. But those were the times. After all these years of researching my family, I still gasp when I find girls marrying at age 14.

    1. You have two long spans of time with your mother and grandmother, Wendy. How wonderful!

      My mistake in typing "31" years. It was actually 41 years. I've corrected the error.

  2. What a fun exercise! It reminded me of my 50th birthday a couple of years ago when I reminded my mother that she had been a mother for 50 years! (52 years and the overlap is still going!)

    She overlapped her mother for almost 55 years; my maternal grandmother overlapped her mother for 60 years!

    1. Wow, 60 years is a long time, Elizabeth! Your maternal grandmother must have lived till she was 80, or nearly so, if she had her daughter at age 20. Thanks for sharing.

    2. My great-grandmother lived 1876-1967, and her youngest daughter, my grandmother, lived from 1907-1990, so that overlap of 60 years was due to my ggm living until 91 years old!

    3. Sixty years is a very long overlap, Elizabeth! I guess longer lifespans allow for longer overlaps.


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