There comes a time when someone is in search of the old family tree. Building a family tree can be daunting, especially if you are looking for a female member of your family who might have gotten married and changed her name. Nowadays, most states in the US have copies of marriage certificates which make sit easier to locate lost loved ones. It gets hard to locate the woman in question by their maiden name because most women leave their maiden names behind after they get married, and this makes it hard to track them. In a worst-case scenario, one can conclude that the woman is dead if the efforts of trying to find her do not bear any fruit. There are cases when there are no records, but some can be found on marriage or death certificates, in baptismal records of a child or in the census data.
Even though it is a challenging experience to find someone’s maiden name, there is still hope. We are going to look at some tips you can use in finding the maiden name of your loved one.
Check the middle names of her children and grandchildren
Most of the family traditions that exist today honor their loved ones through naming their children after their relatives. It does not only apply to the first names but surnames and middle names. You can find clues in the names of your female ancestor’s lineage. If you can find an ancestors maiden name or you can find the names of someone’s parents, you will be a step ahead. Check if the surname fits anywhere in your family tree, or if a surname is familiar. If the name does not match, use it to search records because there is a chance that she changed her maiden name to her middle name after getting married. As you progressively search for the names, be careful not to add an incorrect addition to the tree.
Look at other records that run in families
After checking all the normal records like birth certificates, death records and marriage certificates, check in the unusual records. These includes:
- A will.
- Burial records.
- Military pension records.
- Federal, cultural, local or religious records
- Obituaries of her spouse, children or your ancestors.
Perform a married surname search
It is common for some people to use their middle names in place of their first names throughout their lives. This means that if you are searching for “Jane” in a record that does not have a maiden name, and the search results using the name “Jane” does not yield any results, you could be searching for the wrong lady. There is a possibility that she could be listed as nickname/middle name and her married name, instead of her first name. Now, you will have to perform a search excluding her first name. The results that show up may bring up names where both the maiden name and someone’s married name are included.
Use social networks
LinkedIn and Facebook encourage users to place and alternate names on their accounts if it is different with what is recorded in their ID’s, like the nickname or maiden name. In case your family member has added her maiden name, then a simple search can showcase her profile on any social media platform. You can also find mothers maiden name USA when you search through social media accounts for clues.
Use the records of your neighbors in census records
There are very many family tree clues that are provided by census records, and the maiden name can be one of them. Even though most federal records do not contain maiden names, but clues can be provided by these records.
When you have access to these records, look a the list of people who are placed before and after your ancestor. The people who were on the same page, the next or the previous page are usually the neighbors of your ancestors, and they could probably be family. If you notice a matching surname to the house head, it is a good clue of family relations, because families used to live close to each other in the past. There might be no evidence of a surname, but it gives you a head start.
You can use these records to look for family heads that might be the same age as your ancestor. Look for connections between children who might have been mentioned in different documents; if there is any chance that there is a match, look into it and follow the avenues for a proof before any additions.
Hire a professional
If you find it hard to get ahead with the search, hire a private investigator who can access official records, maiden name search engines and government documents that are not publicly available. For basic searches, be ready to pay a search fee of between $40 and $200 per hour to a search firm. It might be a worthy expense if it can expedite the search for someone you consider important.
Always make sure that you verify every clue that you find and don’t just settle for a name because of a weak assumption. Use trusted sources like government records for facts that back up your findings. Consider checking through every resource you can find, and you may end up putting an end to the search.