Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Women's History Month 2015: What was her Maiden Name?

Swedish National Heritage Board. Three women, Lysekil, Sweden
Probably the most common question researchers ask about tracing female ancestors is "how do I find her maiden name?"

It's an important question, since without that piece of information you can't connect her to her parents. She becomes one of the endless women relegated to being referred to as "unknown."

So what are some sources that can help reveal her maiden name? Here's a few to think about:

  • Marriage Records
  • Child’s Birth Records
  • Death Records (hers and perhaps her children's)
  • Church Records (baptisms, christening, marriage, membership record)
  • School Records
  • Newspapers (articles about her marriage or the obituary of a sibling or parent)
  • Wills
  • Probate (for her parents)
  • Military Pension Record for husband
  • Family Bible
  • Manuscript Collection (diaries, journals, correspondence from those in her community)
  • Compilations like the Barbour Collection, the Draper Manuscripts, and Women in the Western Reserve.

Where have you found a maiden name?

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