On the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, Dylan Dreyer traced her family's history back to a strong woman who helped put down their roots in America.
The TODAY meteorologist learned more about her great-great-great-grandmother Sabina Hugle with the help of our sponsor Ancestry. Dylan found out that much of Hugle's life took place not too far from where she lives with her family now.
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Dylan, who found out she is 67% German, learned through Ancestry family historian Lisa Elzey that Hugle was born in 1843 in Germany before coming to the United States with her family when she was about 8 years old.
The family entered the country at Battery Park in Manhattan, which also happens to be the area where Dylan lives now.
"It gives me chills just imagining meeting my great-great-great-grandmother," Dylan said.
Hugle and her family lived in the Lower East Side of Manhattan in what was then known as "Little Germany."
"I had no idea there was even ever a Little Germany in New York City before," Dylan said.
Records indicate the family likely lived in multifamily buildings known as tenement housing, and Hugle and her two older sisters worked as dressmakers.
Dylan, who grew up not too far away in New Jersey, paid a visit to the Lower East Side with Dave Favaloro of New York City's Tenement Museum to look at a building that remains one of the few traces of Little Germany that still exists. The tenement building was a common housing type in the 1860s in a neighborhood filled with signs written in different languages.
"This was really a German city unto itself," Favaloro said.
A building like that would've held 22 families living in apartments that were each only 325 square feet, according to Favaloro.
Dylan also visited another New York City site with special significance in her family's past. Hugle married Dylan's great-great-great-grandfather, pastry chef Franciscus Finer, at 20 years old at the Most Holy Redeemer church in Manhattan, which still exists.
During her visit, Dylan found the book containing their signatures as part of the original marriage record.
"I'm imagining my great-great-great-grandmother walking down the aisle, looking at the same exact things that I'm looking at right now," Dylan said.
The Hugles went on to have 12 children, extending the family tree to Dylan's mother, Linda Dreyer.
"A tough line of women, and I've inherited that, too," Dylan said.