52ancestorsGenealogist Amy Johnson Crow, who blogs at No Story Too Small, has set a challenge to write about one ancestor each week. I’ve decided to take up that challenge to wake up my (somewhat) languishing blog, but to honor my ancestors. I plan to post every week on Sunday, and I encourage others to join the challenge with me.

Who Are You?

I am quickly realizing, as we reach week #7 in this 52-week challenge, that I don’t know nearly as much about my ancestors as I thought – especially the women. I believe it was during one of Dear Myrtle’s recent Mondays With Myrt Google Hangouts that someone cautioned us to not neglect the women in our family trees. It’s one thing to record the name of a direct ancestor’s wife, but we should do more than that. So here I am, looking at my great-grandmother Mary “May” L. Gulick, and scratching my head.

Mary ("May") L. Gulick Roberts (1870 - 1943)

Mary (“May”) L. Gulick Roberts (1870 – 1943)

May was my great-grandfather Frank G. Roberts’ wife. She was born in August 1870 in Danville, Montour County, Pennsylvania to John B. Gulick and Clara Hiler (or Heiler, depending on how it was spelled at any given time).

Yes, I have her traced in nearly every Federal and State census record possible, from 1892 to 1940. For some reason, I can’t find her in the 1880 census, when she would have been about 10 years old. Her mother had died 3 years earlier, and even though I can find her father and younger brother living in Danville, Pennsylvania, May/Mary is “missing.”

Yes, I know when she married my great-grandfather. And I know that they had three children together. Her name appears frequently in the social pages of the newspapers of Elmira, New York, where she lived the rest of her life after marriage. She died in 1943 at the age of 73 in Elmira, and is buried in Elmira’s Woodlawn Cemetery. I can find no obituary.

All I really know of her is what she looked like, in the lovely photograph above, where her clear (blue?) eyes gaze outwards. I wish I knew more.