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A gift from Mom…

Raised by the women who are stronger than you know
A patchwork quilt of memory only women could have sewn
The threads were stitched by family hands, protected from the moth
By your mother and her mother, the weavers of your cloth.

— Mary Chapin Carpenter, Family Hands

March is Women’s History Month in the United States.

And it’s absolutely official:

Women’s History Month had its origins as a national celebration in 1981 when Congress passed Pub. L. 97-28 which authorized and requested the President to proclaim the week beginning March 7, 1982 as “Women’s History Week.” Throughout the next five years, Congress continued to pass joint resolutions designating a week in March as “Women’s History Week.” In 1987 after being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project, Congress passed Pub. L. 100-9 which designated the month of March 1987 as “Women’s History Month.” Between 1988 and 1994, Congress passed additional resolutions requesting and authorizing the President to proclaim March of each year as Women’s History Month. Since 1995, presidents have issued a series of annual proclamations designating the month of March as “Women’s History Month.” These proclamations celebrate the contributions women have made to the United States and recognize the specific achievements women have made over the course of American history in a variety of fields.1

The proclamation for this year was issued 28 February 2022 by President Joseph R. Biden Jr.,2 and you can read it online at the Federal Register: Proclamation 10345.

It’s the time when, among others, “The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in commemorating and encouraging the study, observance and celebration of the vital role of women in American history.”3

For those who, like The Legal Genealogist, try to incorporate DNA into our family research, it’s a time for particularly acknowledging those who passed their mitochondrial DNA to us — our mother, her mother, her mother’s mother, and so on.

And for me, personally, it’s a poignant moment to extend those thanks to my mother.

Because tomorrow would have been her birthday. Her 96th. Or maybe her 97th.4

Hazel Irene Cottrell Geissler width=

Hazel Irene (Cottrell) Geissler, born TX 21 Mar 1926, died VA 23 Apr 1999

Thanks for the gift of your mtDNA, Mom…

And happy whatever birthday…

Cite/link to this post: Judy G. Russell, “Thanks for the mtDNA,” The Legal Genealogist ( : posted 20 Mar 2022).


  1. About Women’s History Month,” ( : accessed 20 Mar 2022).
  2. Presidential Proclamation 10345 (28 Feb 2022), “Women’s History Month, 2022,” 87 FR 11929.
  3. About Women’s History Month,”
  4. Yeah… sigh… even that is a matter of some debate. See Judy G. Russell, “The whatever birthday,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 21 Mar 2020 ( : accessed 20 Mar 2022).
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