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It’s a good time to collect family stories on women’s right to vote

040316 ROSWELL, GA: Names and dates line the voluminous records at the Church of Latter Day Saints Family History Center, where people come to research their family's genealogy. Family History Center at 500 Norcross Street in Roswell. For Helen Cauley feature on Geneaology - Family Trees. (Parker C. Smith/Special)
040316 ROSWELL, GA: Names and dates line the voluminous records at the Church of Latter Day Saints Family History Center, where people come to research their family's genealogy. Family History Center at 500 Norcross Street in Roswell. For Helen Cauley feature on Geneaology - Family Trees. (Parker C. Smith/Special)

Credit: Special

Credit: Special

A century ago, on August 18, voting rights for women were secured with the Tennessee legislature’s very narrow vote to approve the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

A good documentary of this long struggle is the two-part series, “The Vote,” on PBS. Also, there’s “By One Vote: Woman Suffrage in the South.” Between both, you will learn how very close it was. There was a movement just as opposed to giving women the right to vote as the suffragettes were in favor. Also, African American women were expected to support the cause with little chance of actually being allowed to vote.

You can research the struggle in your own community via newspapers online. Decades later, some women in my own family had not registered. Ask some of your relatives if they have stories from ancestors about the movement. I know, in 1980, my next-door neighbor would not register as she thought, even then, only men should vote. The National Genealogical Society’s NGS Magazine for July-September is dedicated to Women’s Suffrage and includes websites and other sources. See the article “Was Grandmother a Suffragist?”

Some states have lists of those who petitioned for the vote at the National Archives, The library in Smyrna is hosting a National Archives pop-up exhibit “Rightfully Hers” during the month of August, see Smyrna-library.com.

Lunch and Learn goes virtual

The Georgia Archives’ August 14 Lunch and Learn presentation will be a pre-recorded lecture by this columnist on “Family Legends and Stories, What to Believe?”

Atlanta History Center’s Kenan Research Center to reopen

The Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center reopens August 18 by appointment only. To schedule, email reference@atlantahistorycenter.com or call 404-814-4040. Patrons must request material in advance, including open shelf items. No walk-ins will be served. Patrons must answer health screening questions and have temperatures taken before entrance. Masks required.

Contact Kenneth H. Thomas Jr., P.O. Box 901, Decatur, Ga., 30031 or kenthomasongenealogy.com.