Libraries on the Internet

When researching a tough family history, libraries are wonderful places to visit. Foremost are the collections of local newspapers. Obituaries are standard but what about birth and marriage notices? There are often local news columns that cover who’s visiting. who is sick, who has a new car, etc. Keep looking. Milestone birthdays or wedding anniversaries are often accompanied by a nice newspaper article. Family reunions were also newsworthy. Many papers published reunions including the oldest and youngest family members, the organizers, the family who traveled farthest as well as a history of a family. Don’t forget to check other years as reunions were sometimes held annually.

Libraries are often the places where donated family histories go. Try old phone books, high school and college yearbooks, city directories, country fair brochures, town anniversaries and history booklets. If there was a genealogist who worked in the area then the library might have donated genealogical files.

Church records are sometimes stored in libraries. Check the local diocese if researching Catholic relatives to see if a repository exists for records. The Diocese of Newark in New Jersey records, for example, are held in the library at Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ.

Libraries may also hold collections from local or state historical societies. For example, the bible collection of the New Jersey Historical Society is held at the Rutgers University Alexandria library in New Brunswick, NJ. Check college libraries for materials donated from alumni as well. During my search in upstate New York, I found a genealogist who sent bible records and files to Cornell University.

Many of these libraries have their catalogs available online. Check for book collections as well. Many books of value to genealogists are already out of copyright and are available on Google Books, Archive, Making of America and other Heritage sites. Use multiple search engines and vary the order of search words – every change makes a difference in the search results.

Don’t forget your own library. Many local libraries offer Heritage Quest, Newspaper Archives, Fold3 and other database options. With your library card number, some can even be accessed from home.

Be creative, have fun and happy (ancestor) hunting.

Advertisements

True Love

For true love you must search and suffer

Turn over rocks and date some jerks.

You must venture out leading with your soul

Knowing to have that heart injured is but

A small part of the glorious process.

 

You can’t change a true love

Sincerity needs no adjustment, only understanding.

Look beyond the sparkly haze of dating and dinners

To the lonely days you’ll wait, feeling rundown;

Needing a sympathetic ear to listen and console.

 

Is your spirit lifted and renewed

When you’re a couple once again?

When you spouse asks how you’ve been

Then waits quietly for the answers

That is true love.

 

Do you take an active part

In what he does and hopes to do?

Do you dote, discipline and care for your family

While still keeping the precious times for two?

Nurture your love and it will stay true.

 

Can you picture sitting quietly on a porch

Wordlessly enjoying each others company?

Knowing the arguments are only worry in disguise.

True love remains thick and surrounding

Unspoken but gentle and caring.

 

Please wait for it, don’t settle.

You are now entering the Mommy Trap.

I wonder how often people feel they don’t quite fit in.  Do they lie awake at night regretting something they said during the day – like I do?  Do they wish they had parts of their life to do over?  Do others interpret my social awkwardness as ineptitude or shyness?

I remind myself that my friends and family realize it’s just me being me.  I am entertaining to those who know me and goofy to those who do not.  Note to self: remember that!

I survived high school.  I did not thrive or imbibe or enjoy or flourish – I kept going one long day at a time.  Graduating was a release from the whispers, shunning, belittling, and hand-me-downs.

Why would I ever go back to a class reunion?

College was great!  Everyone wanted to be there.  You soon established a group of friends with shared classes and interests.  I would have stayed in college forever.

Isn’t it funny that the clicks and politics start all over again at work?  You’re mature now.  You’ve worked out that it’s human nature.  Some people cannot help themselves.  Just make sure they don’t torpedo you while you’re not looking.

Marriage.  You select that special person with which you will spend your life.  Dating is fun.  You go places together – parties, dancing, restaurants and concerts.  Wow, I could totally do this the rest of my life.  You get married.  You go out to eat and look at houses.  He still buys cards and flowers.  Then you buy the house together.  Shouldn’t both of your names go on the deed?  Why don’t we go on dates anymore?

Now you have a house and the children start coming.  All those things your parents said are now involuntarily coming out of your mouth.  I actually called my mom and apologized.  You raise your children with values and kindness.  Then one of your children gets smacked on the bus.  I’ll admit to temporary insanity for wanting to follow the bus and return the favor.  Is it wrong to think that?

I stayed at home to raise my children.  I do not regret a single day.  My children are wonderful people.  Along the way, however, I fell into the Mommy Trap.  You used to work, get paid, have something tangible you know you accomplished.  It’s a necessary part of the human psyche.  It’s that tiny triangle on top of the pyramid of needs.

The Mommy Trap is the endless cycle of things to do that are never finished.  There is nothing to point to and know completion.  How do you measure your worth?  Are you crazy to plop down some days and wonder how you got there?  Does anyone else feel their brain atrophy?  How do you keep doing it?

Wait, I have a husband.  Someone to tell me I’m still accomplishing things, I’m still important.  He says, “What’s for dinner?”  I tell him the published salary estimate of what a homemaker would earn if getting paid for all the jobs being performed.  He says, “So?”  The boyfriend, fiance and newlywed are long gone.  There are no flowers or cards.  Everything I do has no tangible value.  Mommy trap.

What happened?

Elevenzilla!

In a rather unscientific study, I polled several moms buying undergarments for their daughters.

     “We didn’t mature until thirteen, right?”  “Isn’t that why it’s called the TEEN years?” 

I conducted followup studies at basketball practices, car lines, scout meetings and at ladies’ night out.

      “What the heck happened to the two more ‘teenage free’ years I was promised??” 

I want those two sweet, adorable, calm, bonding years back.  This cannot under any circumstances be considered progress!  The world has treacherously entered the dawn of Elevenzilla.  I object…strenuously.  Why was I not consulted on this matter?  Eleven-teen is not a number.   

I remember being in middle-school.  Boys were still yucky except for maybe David Cassidy or Michael Landon.  Admit it – you were there.  I remember being mildly moody (somewhere my mom is coughing and gagging) but still reasonable.  I think.  I had black light posters, school dances and a scary filmstrip shown in a “special assembly” for the girls only.  What did the boys end up doing that day?  I do not remember screaming at my mother about some grievous yet imagined tragedy.

My daughter has selected her zone of contention – that which will not be named.  Once engaged, reasoning is futile.  Platitudes are useless.  Volume and humidity controls are non-existent.  You have your very own…Elevenzilla!

I am a somewhat intelligent, responsible, grown woman.  However, I am powerless against my daughter’s onslaught.  What to do?  I tried screaming “everything is fine” over her screaming.  We both got headaches and I still get dirty looks from the neighbors.  I tried mirrors, logic, other adult opinions, threatening to tell her friends, the silent treatment, “go to your room” and <gasp> bribery.  Nothing will stop the hormonal explosions.  Your only hope is riding them out until calm returns.

When the teen angst happens in the car on the way to school; is it wrong to drop her off and gleefully drive away?  By the way, that was not me screeching tires this morning.  I do say a prayer for the teachers on these days.  I pray for them on other days too – there are a lot of Elevenzillas and Twelve-teens in that class.  Sorry.

When the eruption occurs in a public place, walking swiftly towards an exit is a good plan,  One caveat – this barely tolerable mother-daughter calamity will never occur in front of dad.  If it does, consider all is lost and regroup for the next onslaught.  As soon as she is out of earshot of the male parental unit, the salty deluge will resume at full force.  It’s so shockingly like a switch that, if I were not trapped in the middle, I would find it an interesting study.

In conclusion, Elevenzilla is real.  You are powerless and must endure until reason returns.  If you are reading this and your princess is still under ten, rejoice and prepare.  You shake your head – not my daughter.  I assure you, I was that naive.  Now I am a frazzled, blogging, coffee-hyped mother of an Elevenzilla trying to make the world safer for womankind.  Suddenly, the phrase, “wait until you have daughters of your own someday” strangely echoes through my mind.  I think I’ll try that one tomorrow.  Good luck and may the calm and logic be with you.

Where’s Grandma … Old Newspaper Articles

Go to your local library or a library near where you’re searching.  Ask about any newspaper microfilms that they may have available.  A librarian will even show you how to work the machine and make prints. 

The newspapers of the 1840’s to the 1880’s tended to contain mostly world news and only important people’s deaths.  Starting in the 1890’s, people wanted local information as well.  They wanted to know what their neighbor was doing.  Columns popped up for every small town and community, each with their own reporter.  The information ranged from new babies, new cars, folks visiting, winners of horse races, petty crimes, sicknesses, detailed obituaries, family reunions, probate, land transfers and who’s sneaking around at night.  These are the little things that mean so much when researching your ancestors.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the smaller papers of Sussex county, New Jersey (for example) competed with each other for the  most exclusive information.  Always check if there’s more than one periodical covering your target date and then read them all.  Researchers in Sussex county are particularly lucky because in the 1910-1920’s, the editor of the paper was also a genealogist.  Most obituaries he wrote wandered happily away to cover that person’s extensive family tree. 

How does this help find Grandma?

I found this family reunion notice in the Wantage Recorder newspaper, printed in Sussex, New Jersey, edited by Charles Stickney, dated 13 Sep 1918.

"Stanaback Family Reunion
Through the efforts of Mr. Nathaniel Westfall, of Beemerville,
and Mr. George Clark, of Wykertown, the Stanaback family met on
Labor Day at the old Homestead now occupied by Mr. and Mrs. C. J.
Stanaback.  After the guests assembled, Mr. Westfall gave the invocation.
A delightful basket lunch was then served. After dinner the
exercises were as follows:
The singing of America, Mr. Westfall then spoke of the extreme
pleasure of seeing the Stanabacks together and suggested that
every Labor Day be a reunion day for the family. A committee was
appointed to take charge of the annual meeting: George Clark,
chairman, Nat. Westfall, secretary, Helen Clark, asst. secr.
As the family is scattered throught the state, the following
committee was appointed for certain districts: Mr. and Mrs. John
Hallas, Newark; Mr. and Mrs. Tom Stanaback, Franklin; Mr. and Mrs.
N. Doland, Hamburg; Mr. and Mrs. C. Westfall, Beemerville.
A rising vote of thanks was given to Mr. and Mrs. C. J. Stanaback
for the use of the Homestead. Mr. Stanaback then told of the first
of the family to come to America. "The early Stanabacks were
Hollanders," said Mr. Stanaback, "Good old Dutch but never German.
Peter Stanaback came from Holland previous to 1789 in which year
he married Mary Barbara KIBLER. They had four children, Betsy
married Isaac GARRISON, of whom the family in town is descended;
Anne married a TRUEX, of whom the Beemervile Truex's are
descendants; Samuel went to New York State and was never heard
from again. Samuel was my grandfather."
Mr. Stanaback told more of the family history and closed by
saying he hoped next year would find a much larger gathering
and the boys in France would be with us.
The other speakers were: Edward Stanaback of Hamburg, John L.
Clark of Sussex; Jacob Stanaback of New Milford, NY and Edward
Stanaback of Port Jervis, NY.
The Stanaback family has eight representatives in the war. They
are Dr. Truex, of Middletown; Wilbur, Frank and Norman Clark, of
Maplewood; Charles E. Murphy, of Franklin; Edward and Foster
Clark, of Rockaway; William Southard, of Franklin.
It was decided to get a service flag in their honor. After
singing the 'Star Spangled Banner' and the Doxology the business
meeting was closed.
There were eighty-nine signed the register, they being from Newark,
Rockaway, Hamburg, Sussex, Beemerville, Port Jervis, Madison,
Branchville, Sussex, New Milford and Wykertown."

Use articles like this to get Grandma’s maiden name and where she lived.  If you find your grandpa’s name, chances are excellent that grandma is a Stanaback or at least a Stanaback cousin.  You never know where you’ll find that next tiny clue.

Where’s Grandma?

Where’s grandma? It depends on where and when you’re looking.

Part One – Transportation

First consider navigating the marriage pool. This is usually the group of people available in the immediate area. Later it became the distance the prospective groom can travel (and back) on his day off to go courting. In the modern era, the marriage availability range is virtually limitless. For recent information, try relatives and available paperwork.

In my experience, men in the 1600’s and 1700’s married women from their own village. Intention to marry or marriage banns were posted in the town approximately two weeks before the wedding. This was to insure no one in the village had a valid objection to the nuptials. If the bride was from another village, the banns were posted in both towns. The marriage was then recorded in the town register(s). Copy everything! The witnesses for the marriage are usually close friends or relatives. The civil registrations usually includes the parents of the bride and groom, ages, occupations, residence and towns of birth if different from the recording town.

In the later 1700’s in North America, the groom was on the move. There was a lot of migration in this period. A man can walk about three miles per hour depending on the terrain. On horseback, the bachelor could cover 5-10 miles per hour combining the walk and trot gaits. By either mode of transportation, you’re going to find grandma within roughly a 20-mile radius.

Trains carrying passengers became feasible in the 1830’s. Travel by rail became more popular as the miles of track and engine efficiency increased. Although the locomotives covered an average of nine miles per hour, it was still a good possibility for eastern men to find a more distant bride. Travel the tracks to grandma’s house – especially if grandpa worked for the railroad.

In the 1890’s, well-to-do men could afford a velocipede, high-wheel or the mass-produced safety bicycle. The prospective bride groom could now travel 15 miles per hour in areas with roads or paths. In Europe, the bicycle became popular in the 1900’s. Inventors in France developed the derailleur, increasing the distance to 20-30 miles per hour. If he owned a bike, grandma’s in a village connected by roads within a 60-mile radius, depending on the terrain.

Then came Henry Ford. Between 1907 and 1927, Ford produced over 15 million Model T cars which became cheap enough for ownership by the common man. Now the bachelor was not limited by waterways, terrain, train tracks or bicycle paths on his quest. Your best bet during this time period are old newspapers. Car travel and mishaps usually made the news. Marriage notices were also an important component of local news. Grandma’s usually in the same state as grandpa or a neighboring one.

How far was grandpa willing or able to travel? Did he move or emigrate during the time he would have married? Did he go back to the old country to chose a bride? Did he marry for an alliance or for money or at gunpoint or for love? Map your grandfather’s wandering and find out where he was from the time he turned 17 until two years after the birth of the first child. I’ll explain more about that later.

Hunting for grandma’s maiden name is a lot like solving a murder. You gather the suspects, you weed out the ones with alibis and you research whomever is left.

Happy Ancestor Hunting.

I did promise you some genealogy….the first ten tips.

Genealogy tip number one, please note the proper spelling of geneAlogy and cemetEry.  Thank you.

Genealogy tip two:  Start at home.  Are there papers in the attic?  Is there an older relative you can interview….now?  Ask other family members, “Gee, what happened the the photos, etc. when Aunt Bess died?”  Find out if your grandparents kept their naturalization papers, passports, bank accounts, deeds, mortgages, draft notice, certificates for: birth, baptism, other religious rites, marriage, death; family bible, pension, resume, letters, cards, etc.  Any of these documents could contain that small clue you need.  Caveat:  Don’t worry if you don’t need it now – keep it anyway.  You will need it later as you become more adept at forming your family’s tree.

Genealogy tip three:  Write down the source of each item you collect.  I know you’re not going to do it, I didn’t, but you will wish you did later one.

Genealogy tip four: Location, location, location.  Ask about other places the family lived.  Did cousins move to different states?  Does anyone remember when grandpa came over from the old country?  What was the town, province, canton, kingdom, region, department, county and country from whence they came?

Genealogy tip five:  Everything that goes into your finished family tree must be double or triple sourced.  What the heck does that mean?  Say you ancestor lied about their age when registering for the draft.  What if you grandmother said she was 18 when she married so she didn’t need her parents’ approval?  What if your great-grandfather said he was a plumber because only immigrants with an actual trade could enter the country at that time?  What if they were from one country at a time when it was occupied by another county?  What if the child needed to be 14 before he could work in the mill?  What if the person who answered the census really didn’t know the answers to all of the questions.  What if the census taker was uneducated, spelled everything phonetically and has the worst handwriting imaginable?  You get the point, I hope.  People record the wrong thing for different reasons.  What to do? 

Genealogy tip six:  Gather all the available census data.  There is no existing copy of the 1890 census except for Civil War veteran and widows special schedule – Thank you, Canada.  You will see ages change, names come and go, addresses and township shifting – make a timeline or line them up to look at the big picture.  Children’s ages are most accurate when they are with their parents and under 12 yeas old.  Really.  Check out all the neighbors, the street name, the township number, whatever because your family can change locations without moving.  Boundaries were very flexible in the past so record them all.  If the handwriting is atrocious, put a question mark in place of the mystery letter/digit.  Later on you will thank yourself.

Genealogy tip seven:  Say the name.  When looking for your family, spelling does not count.  All those years you carefully spelled your surname over the phone mean nothing.  Your surname will not always be spelled that way.  It’s a hard concept to release but it is what it is.  Say the name in your head while you’re scanning the census, or any other document.  Say the name with an accent – the pronunciation is important since many immigrants did not read or write English.  If they say Schyzd in a Russian accent, it will most likely be recorded as Smith, or Schmid or something else.  The irony is that the small surnames are mangled more often than the humungous and complicated ones.  Example: Kinney – started as Kinne, written looks like Kume, also spelled Kinnie, Kenny, Kinny, Kimmy, McKinney, Kine, Kidney, etc.  The key is matching the age of the head of household, spouse’s name, names of the children, addresses and so on.

Genealogy tip eight:  Children’s names change – a lot.  In the 1700’s and 1800’s, the mortality rate for children under five years was quite high.  The child may have been given a hideous first name such as the mother’s maiden name, a president’s name, a unpopular bible name.  When they reach their teen years they may decide to use their middle name, a nickname, a different spelling, etc.  If you see a child the name and age of the ancestor you’re looking for – beware!  That is the most unreliable census data you can use by itself.  Here’s why….

Genealogy tip nine:  Naming patterns differ from country to country.  In the 1700’s, every boy from several regions in Germany was named Johann (Johannes, Johan, Hans, John)  The children were called by their middle names.  Similarly, all the girls were named Anna (Anne, Ann, Annie) or Maria (Marie, Marianne, Mary) and called by their middle names.  If you’re not confused yet, here’s the naming rule used by the French, Germans, Dutch and most strictly by the Italians.  These are countries I’ve personally researched, please leave a comment if there are more.

     1) First born son is named after the father’s father                     1) First born daughter is named after the father’s mother

     2) Second born son is named after the mother’s father              2) Second born daughter is named after the mother’s mother

     3) Third born son is named after the father.                               3) Third born daughter is named after the mother.

Exceptions:  If the child died young, the next born child will be given that same name.  The third born child is sometimes given the name of a benefactor or close friend rather than the parent, same goes for the fourth born.

Genealogy tip ten:  Your ancestors in the 18th and 19th centuries had large families – especially if they were farmers.  Large as in ten to fourteen children or more.  The family structure will rotate as the older children marry and move, usually nearby, as younger children die, as orphaned relatives come to live, as neighbors children are boarded to help on the farm or learn a trade.  Be flexible. 

Do the math….If John Joseph, son of John Henry and Mary Alice, and his wife Mary Margaret, daughter of John Jacob and Mary Salome have a family then their children could be named: 1) John Henry, 2) John Jacob, 3) Mary Alice, 4) Mary Salome, 5) Mary Margaret,6) John Joseph, 7) Mary Salome, 8) John George, 9) Mary Margaret, 10) Mary Catherine and 11) Mary Gertrude.  Check to make sure but odds are good that the fourth and fifth children died young because their names are reused.

Here’s the fun part:  1) John Henry’s first son will be John Joseph and 2) John Jacob’s first son will be John Joseph and 6) John Joseph’s first son will be John Joseph and 8) John George’s first son will be John Joseph.  As a result you’ll have four John Joseph’s of roughly the same age in the same neighbor hood.  Figure this exponentially and you’ll see the problem.  The daughter’s will have second son’s name John Joseph with a different surname.  This can sometimes be used to find the maiden name or married name of an ancestor.  Derived information like this will need to be second sourced with a primary document (a certificate of some kind.)

Happy Ancestor Hunting.

You have to go really, really far…and then you passed it.

Many of your first social skills come from your parents.  My folks were fun, trusting, considerate, giving and firm.  As a result, I’m going to trust you and believe you’re telling me the truth.  I’m going to be your friend, listen to your troubles and make you laugh.

You can feel my warmth of my heart in my hugs.  All the comfort I can give is yours.  I wait patiently.  I hope I will receive the same consideration when I am slower than you.  I believe in good karma.  Caveat:  If you are driving under the speed limit in front of me, I may wish a grievous pox upon you.

I hate hypocrites.  Wait, I was taught not to use that word…I strongly dislike hypocrites.  The people who pretend to be your friends.  The ones that lead you along while assassinating your character to others.  They’ll use everything you’ve ever shared as a weapon.  I believe municipal ordinances are developed solely for the entertainment of these people.  What other purpose do they have?

                                                    Image

Like I said, I wait patiently and eventually things get better.  My neighbor has proven herself to be a vile, conniving, two-faced, lying, smarmy, foul-mouthed, degenerate scumbag.  I am merely stating fact.  My patience has brought me a sign, two signs in fact.  The first said “House for Sale” and the second says “Contract Pending.”  I’m going to consider that a win.

Out into the Ether…with Children

The Internet is a vast and noisy space.  Unlike real space, every one here can hear you scream…forever.  Or until they start charging for space and erasing those bytes not paid into perpetuity.

Any who, it’s great having children.  At least for me, each child brings a fresh look on the simplest of things.  A drop of dew from a leaf, god’s light through a cloud, a curse word, everything is new and debatable.  How do you guide such a fragile craft?  Do you dip an oar gently to veer away from the falls?  Do you tug it along behind you, tied securely?  Do you set it adrift?  Each word, every explanation or rule or opinion or shout or boast or whisper counts.

Here’s my advice….start out knowing they will blame you for everything eventually.  No where to go from there but up. 

Call me old-fashioned but I think kids should be able to take care of themselves when they leave home.  They should know how to write a resume, get a job, pay a loan, maintain a checkbook, handle their credit, wash their clothes, fix meals, comparison shop, budget, how to not get ripped off, keep a clean home, select produce, parallel park, drive a standard, sew, bargain, swim, find their way through the woods or a city, pack a bag, navigate an airport and the world beyond.  They also need to trust, doubt, respect, care, persevere, imagine, communicate, relate, be patient, wait, decide, go, wait, believe, explore, learn, listen, research, tolerate and be responsible for themselves, their actions and others.  They need to know to try, to fail, to dare, to be careful, to be themselves and let others around them be themselves.  They need to know that everyone has a story, something they are going through which they may or may not share.  We are all flawed in some way, to be perfect is to not be human.  Learn to laugh at the little things, at the big things, at the trials and the pain.  Cry when the sadness builds up inside or you will break apart slowly.  Share yourself with someone special – not just anyone.  Don’t settle. 

All this can be summed up simply – love your children, enjoy their point of view, share your morals and trust their judgement.

The most valuable advice I’ve ever seen has guided my life, my parenting and my perspective.  Written in 1927 by Max Ehrmann,

Desiderata (Latin for desired things)

“Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy. ”

That’s it.  Strive to be happy.  Peace out.

Science is for girls.

Science is for girls.

Boys think in a logical mind.  They proceed from point to point to arrive at an end result.  They are hard-wired to solve things.  Girls think more intrinsically, more creatively.  That’s not to say that some boys think like girls and vice versa.  Clearly these are vast generalizations to simplify a complicated and disgusting problem.

Why aren’t there more girls in scientific jobs?  Our education system is hard-wired to steer girls away from science towards liberal arts.  From Kindergarten to Graduate programs, girls are assumed to be too emotional for science.  Guess what.  Science needs more: emotional insight, imagination, consideration, empathetic reasoning, multitasking girls.

If I were a conspiracy theorist, I could conclude that white males are throwing roadblocks up into the faces of non-whites and women.  I am a woman, however, and believe in giving every one a chance.  I would however consider the possibility in my more comprehensive solution set.

The barriers are there.  They need to be defeated.  Check into organizations that support minority involvement in the sciences.  You are not alone, somewhere there is a role model waiting for you to ask for help.  Do it.  Science is for girls!