Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Women's History Month 2016: Tip #28 What's HER Name???

Boy, there's nothing more irritating then not knowing a female ancestor's maiden name. In some cases it can seem impossible to find. Many genealogical writers have focused on this problem (see links at the bottom of this post) so I figured I would add my own thoughts.

1. Check her children and grandchildren's names. It's possible that a descendant's first or middle name is an ancestor's maiden name. Don't just look at her kids, try her grandchildren as well. Now am I saying everyone uses their maiden name when naming their kids, no. But that should be one of the first things to consider.

2. Study death records. I'm assuming here that her death certificate lists her father's name as "unknown" or is somehow incomplete (otherwise you'd know her maiden name). As you research her death, also check funeral home records and cemetery records. Don't forget obituaries that might list living brothers.

3. Newspapers, newspapers, newspapers! While you're looking for obituaries see if there is some mention of her engagement, wedding, or a milestone anniversary. Find the first two article types by searching on her husband's name. These articles  all may provide a maiden name.

Need more ideas? Here's a few online articles that may help.

Top Places to Find Maiden Names by Kimberly Powell

Five Tips for Learning Women's Maiden Names. FamilyTree Magazine

7 Little-Used Tricks for Finding That Missing Maiden Name. Family History Daily

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