I didn't know anything about my family history when I was a kid, but I was always interested in history in general, and I used to read a lot. ::cough::nerd::cough::. That's right. I'm a history nerd. Anyway, as a young, impressionable girl, I used to devour books and through that I developed several strong, female heroes who I just thought were the coolest - Laura Ingalls Wilder, Nancy Hanks Lincoln, Annie Oakley, and Amelia Earhart. These were real life women who lived on the harsh frontier and challenged what was expected of them in particular and women in general. I wanted to be just like them.
Today is Amelia Earhart's birthday, and she's been in the news a lot lately because the anniversary of her disappearance (July 2) just passed and there was a research excursion to try to find the wreck or remains of her plane. I think Earhart fascinated me in particular because of her mysterious disappearance...it always made me kind of sad.
As I got older, I learned about my own family history and developed an appreciation for the heroines in my own tree - women who may not have become as famous as my other heroes or who may not have bucked as many trends, but who kept their families together in dire circumstances and did what they could to make a better life for their children and their children's children...people like me.
But I still remember my childhood heroes like Amelia Earhart, and even looked them all up on Ancestry.com records such as census images, tracing their journeys and remembering the things about them that inspired me.