7 Little-Used Tricks for Finding That Missing Maiden Name

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7 Little-Used Tricks for Finding That Missing Maiden Name

If you’re completely stuck trying to find the maiden name of one, or many, of your female ancestors you’re not alone. Because women often left their maiden names long behind when they got married they can be incredibly hard to uncover in some cases — and not being able to find one can often mean a complete dead end.

If we’re lucky, we can find a maiden name in one of the usual resources — on a marriage certificate or death record, in the census, or listed on the birth or baptismal record of a child. But very often this is simply not the case. Too often, informants on death records did not know, or bother to list, the maiden name of a woman, or married names were used in place of maiden names. Sometimes these records simply aren’t available, especially if you’re researching women before 1850.

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There is still hope, however, even if you have come up short in the past. Take a look at these 7 unique tips for finding a maiden name and see if you can apply them to your own research.

1. Look at the first and middle names of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

As most family historians recognize, families often honored their loved ones by naming their children after relatives. And this wasn’t only true for first names. Many families incorporated the surnames of women into first and middle names. Examine the names of your female ancestor’s children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren carefully for clues.


Do any names stand out to you as looking like a surname? Does that surname fit in anywhere else in your tree already? If not, you may be on to something.

Try temporarily ‘pretending’ that this is the woman’s maiden name and doing some new searchers for her using it. It may turn up records where none were before. Some women also tacked on their maiden names to their middle names when they got married, so look for clues there as well.

Just be careful not to make assumptions that can lead to incorrect additions to your tree. Use this trick, and all tricks in this article, as helpful tools only– always look for solid verification before adding any information to your files. Before adding a maiden name to your tree, make sure you find a connecting document (a document that lists both the woman’s known family, such as spouse and children, along with her maiden name or parents).

2. Look at informant last names.

An informant is someone who provided information about a person when they were unable to do so, usually after their death. If you can locate the death record for your female ancestor, and it doesn’t show the maiden name as it usually should, look at the last name of the informant. This person is very often related. Often, it is a child or spouse, but sometimes it can also be a sibling. If the person is a male sibling, or unmarried female sibling, you could be in luck.

As with the tip above, this is only a clue. Remember that this person could be completely unrelated, or the surname may be irrelevant. Some death records listed the relationship of the informant and some did not. But if you think there is a chance that the surname could be a match, try doing some new searches using this information and see what you come up with.

3. Look at neighbors in census records.

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Census records are a huge part of building most family trees since they provide so many valuable clues. A maiden name can be one of them, if you know how to look. Of course, the federal census did not ask for maiden names (wouldn’t that be lovely) but it can still provide clues.

Take a look at the people listed directly before and after your ancestor in the census — at least on the same page and the page before and after. These were your ancestor’s neighbors, and they could be family. Seeing a matching surname to the head of household is always a clue that this was an area of relations, of course, but since many families tended to stay close together any one of these people could be the parents of your female ancestor. They wouldn’t share a surname with her if she’s married, but there are other clues.

How can you know? Well, you probably can’t know for sure, but you can look for hints. Do you see a family where the head and/or spouse may be the right age to be the parents of your ancestor? Do you see children listed with them that you have seen mentioned elsewhere (ie a ‘Louise’ when a ‘Louise’ also informed at your ancestor’s death). These possible connections should be examined carefully. If you think there is any chance that this could be a match, look into it — it’s worth a shot. Follow every avenue, and always, always look for proof before adding anything to your tree.

4. Look for an elderly mother or father living with the family. 

This brings us to another way the census can help us locate maiden names. Very often, as a person aged and their spouse passed on they went to live with family. Make sure you look at every census record you can find for your female ancestor, right up until the end of her life, and see if you can find an older woman (or man) living with them (or next door). Check the census records of grown children too. This person would be listed as ‘mother,’ ‘mother-in-law’ or ‘grandmother,’ but not always. Sometimes enumerators mixed up relationships. Leave no stone unturned, this may be the break you’re looking for.

5. Leave out a surname completely when doing a record search. 

Often times, we feel like we need to have a surname to do a record search for a person. For those of us looking for a maiden name, we will often use the married name so that we can locate matching records. This is, of course, the best first step. But what happens when we continually fail to find what we need? It’s time to leave out the surname in our searches.

Try searching by first name only and add some other identifying information (such as a birth date or death date) or relationships (such as spouse or children). Removing that surname will allow whatever database you’re searching to explore new areas that may turn up records you haven’t seen. You might be surprised how well this can work.

This trick works especially well for women with uncommon first names — but can also work well for common names. Just make sure you don’t grab the records for the wrong “Ann” or “Elizabeth.” Unrelated people can have incredibly similar details, so always make sure the person you think might match actually does.

6. Search for the married surname only.

You probably already realize that some people tended to use their middle names (or nicknames) as their first names in parts of, or throughout, their lives. This could mean that if you’re searching for a woman listed as “Mary” in one record (that you have no maiden name for) and searches for that “Mary” plus the known married name have turned up no results, you could be looking for the ‘wrong’ person.

She could be listed as middle name/nickname plus married name instead — or under a misspelling of her first name. Avoid this by using the same strategy as above (include other identifying details) but exclude the first name in your search, or use a middle name or nickname if you have one. This may turn up records where both the married name and the maiden name are included and give you the break you need.

7. Look where you wouldn’t normally. 

You’ve checked all the normal suspects (marriage records, birth records of children, death records) but what about some more unusual sources? Many can be great places to find maiden name mentions.

These include:

— the birth records of ALL children of a female ancestor (just because you couldn’t locate the maiden name on a birth record for the child you descend from in your female ancestor’s line doesn’t mean you won’t find it on a record for one of her other children)

— an obituary for your ancestor or her spouse or children

— in a will

— in a burial record

— or in a military pension record.

— other special local, cultural, religious, military, federal or employment records

Check everything you can find very carefully and you may just put an end to that brick wall. Find many free resources here that can help.

As always, verify everything — use assumptions only as tools. Have a trustable source for every single fact.

Where have you located the maiden names of hard to find female ancestors?

By: Melanie Mayo | Editor, Family History Daily

Image: Ella A. Boole, Pres’t W.C.T.U. 1925, Library of Congress

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  • Joe F
    December 7, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    I just found a great Aunt who was born in Italy as Grazia Frontiera. She came to the US as a five year old and began her new life. She eventually got married to Gerlomo Ciarimitaro and they had seven children before 1920. She lost her husband and four of her children by the 1920 census (influenza outbreak of 1919 and one was a few days old in 1915). In the 1930’s her daughter became a Catholic nun. In 1951 she became a Catholic nun. In 1972 Grazia died and was interred at a Catholic cemetery near my home. I knew she was at the cemetery but in some attempts have never been able to find her. I look under all the possibilities Grazia, Grace, Gia, Frontiera, Frontera (our current spelling), Ciarimitaro….ect. Finally I ask the clerk at the cemetery to look for her religious name Sister Rita Lena. Bingo found the answer and visited my great Aunt. I also told her life history on facebook the next day through what I had found out about her through censuses, marriage certificates, birth certificate, death notices and certificates. You can learn a lot about someone you have never met by their records. Keep searching. If you want to read that account of her life you can find it on my facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/joe.frontera.3/posts/1636578849696532

  • El Jones
    April 21, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    Just found links to the little known 1885 Federal Censu. This is also a treasure trove for maiden names, as the father’s name is included for participants, specifically for married women this is a wonderful find.

    The Forgotten Federal Census of 1885 Can Be Found Online for Free

  • April 18, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    I discovered proof of a maiden name of my 2x great grandmother on her son’s marriage record. He was not my direct ancestor but the much younger brother. I love following all those siblings now for more family clues.

  • Sally Drummond
    April 17, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    I recently discovered Norht America, Family Histories Lineage 1500-2000. I think it is related to Daughters of the American Revolution. It has wives listed by maiden name.

  • Edadbert
    April 17, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    Sometimes maiden names, or clues to maiden names appear on tombstones.

  • Kelly
    October 19, 2016 at 8:30 am

    Chancery records are also a good source for making family connections. Many court cases involved land disputes around the estate of a deceased man and contain an amazing amount of family information. Unfortunately, these usually require a visit to the courthouse since most aren’t online yet (Virginia being the exception), but many are indexed and the case documents still intact (it’s fascinating to read a deposition given by an ancestor in 1800). If courthouse access is impossible, check the local newspapers for the time period, if they exist, as the cases sometimes required notices be published. Women might be listed by their married name, or their maiden name, ‘ wife of _______’ , so searching for her husband’s name or her sibling name(s) might be more necessary to find her. These records also include a surprising (to me, at least) number of divorce and bastardy cases.

  • Faye
    October 4, 2016 at 11:40 pm

    I have not got our fathers Birth Surname, he left home as a young man and had no further contact with his family. On his accidental death aged 48 we discovered he had called himself by another identity Eric Clarence William Mulford the same as the author of Hopalong Cassidy fame, since 1929. Our mother only ever new him by this alias name, met him in Auckland, New Zealand 1944 and married the following year. Details on the Marriage certificate of his fathers name, occupation, mothers name and maiden name have come to nothing on research, even his place of birth 25/4/1912 in Leichhardt Sydney Australia could be spurious. We have done Y-DNA tests but no repeated common surname has come to light apart from what we were led to believe, that is he was of Irish Descent
    Any suggestions please of what to do now ?

  • Beth
    September 29, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    Don’t give up on unlikely (or impossible) family stories. My grandfather visited us and kept us kids in stitches with some of his stories. Like he went to Mars every spring and spoke Martian to us. He (almost) claimed to have participated in “The ’45”, the battle at Culloden in 1745. And he told why his ancestors left the Outer Hebrides for Canada in 1772: the Laird had converted to Protestantism and started a school where the Roman Catholic kids had meat forced down their throats on Fridays. The Laird stood at the crossroads with his yellow cane and forced his Catholic tenants toward the Prot. rather than the Cath. church on Sundays. I was a young teen the last time I saw Grandpa; my younger siblings remember none of this. Should I try to make something of those memories?

    I’m stubborn – I did. On two trips to Scotland in the 1970s-80s, though not to the Outer Hebrides, I talked with anyone I could find who might know something. No, they all said. There were neither clearances or religious problems in that area at that time. Looking for info on a different Scottish ancestor in a different Canadian province, I found a mention in a book — maybe it was true? I happened to meet a man from Inverness who made business trips out there — he promised to ask around. He found a man who hand-wrote out the whole story for me in Gaelic and said the only error in my account was that it was a yellow stick, not a yellow cane!

    In the 1901 census, I learned that the family were Gaelic speakers. A-ha, there’s the Martian language Grandpa spoke, I’m willing to bet. Now, with the Internet, I’ve found more info such as the name of the Laird and his clan relationships as well as who sponsored the voyage to Canada. ADVICE: If you have a story you want to check out, first write down exactly what you remember of it before discussing it with others. I didn’t and I should have.

  • Sheila Pool
    September 15, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    I had a lady with a maiden name (according to other family researchers); however, I looked and looked and could find nothing on her at all….no census, nothing. So, using his name, I searched a county marriage book. In that I found where his wife’s name was listed as Mrs. (this was not how it showed with online records) so I knew then that the maiden name she had been given was actually the surname from her previous husband. Then I did a search in the same book and found her previous marriage record, searching first husband’s surname and there she was with her correct maiden name. Thanks goodness it was a small county with few entries in the first husband’s surname. With correct maiden name everything else just fell into place.

  • September 15, 2016 at 9:12 am

    My middle name is my mom’s maiden name. I have found persons mom because the same reason. I have one ancestor with an middle name that is a surname but in this case have not been able to find any connection. Might be honoring a friend. We discovered that my wife’s ancestor in 1650’s had a neighbor that named one of their kids first name the same as my wife’s maiden name. The Beebe’s were prominent founders of the area.

  • September 1, 2016 at 8:17 am

    Nice. Thanks for including the warnings along with the possibilities. One can never be too careful in connecting individuals to a family tree, especially when given and surnames are common and repetitive within communities or origin and extended families.

  • Kate Brown
    August 30, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    Sometimes the undelivered mail list in a newspaper can be useful

  • Susan Erickson
    May 21, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    I have found maiden names on the marriage records of their children, or on Social Security Card applications, which might also show if a woman has been married multiple times.

  • April 9, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    I was wondering if you have had any luck finding marriage records in Iowa? The part of the state that I have been researching seems to be devoid of any records around Wheeler’s Grove and Council Bluffs. The surrounding counties seem no better.

  • Colleen Kayter
    April 9, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    I found the maiden name of my 2nd great-grandmother in an unusual way… my great-grandmother was born in 1851 and her mother died in 1855. Her father sent several of his children to live with relatives, then remarried and had more children – all before the 1860 census. I found some of the older children (who had appeared in the 1850 census) in the 1860 census living with 3 families that all shared the same surname. I used that as my clue and, sure enough, was able to confirm they were maternal relatives, finding marriage records for parents.

    I would never have found any of this if I hadn’t reread a letter ten years after it made it’s way into my family documents. It was from my great-grandmother’s half brother, written in 1902, providing her with an update on all that had transpired in their hometown in the preceding 30 years (she was already in Iowa where she married my great-grandfather in 1873). He frequently used possessive pronouns in the letter, referring to “your” sister and “my” mother. He signed the letter “your brother” so I had originally presumed they had the same parents. Looking at it again with more experienced eyes helped me to realize the true nature of their connection.

  • Mary Moe
    March 25, 2016 at 6:46 pm

    I tried for years to find the maiden name of my grandfather’s mother. She was listed as living with my grandfather & his wife & son in 1900. No maiden name. I also cold not find the name of my grandfather’s father, although I knew the last name, the first name escaped me.
    I couldn’t find any information, all this is in Pennsylvania. I finally went on the social security website & paid $28 under the Freedom of Information Act, and received a copy of the original application for a social security number that my grandfather had completed in 1937. There listed was the information I was looking for.

  • Bonny
    March 22, 2016 at 11:13 am

    I’ve used all of these with good success. Also, check the witnesses on deeds and other documents. Quite often the wife is represented by the second witness. In my experience, however, I have found that the wife’s witness is, quite often, a brother-in-law so it does help if you have listed marriages for all her siblings. Also, read the biographies of all members of the family. Many times I have found the maiden name in a biography of a brother-in-law because it mentions his wife (the sister of your ancestor) and her parents.

  • Carrie Wingate
    March 21, 2016 at 9:05 pm

    After years of trying to discover my g grandmother’s maiden name, I tracked down information about her wayward son, the black sheep of the family. He had lived most of his life in another part of the country, and I knew nothing about him. I duly recorded what info I found. A couple of years later, on one of my “repeat” searches, which I do regularly for missing or difficult individuals, I found his death certificate. His bother, the informatant, had supplied their mother’s full name! With this one piece of information, I opened up an entire branch of the family and was soon able to present my elderly father with a tree for this side of his mother’s family going back over three additional generations, with scanned copies of birth, marriage, emigration, and death documents.

    You just never know where you’ll find the bit of essential information you need!

  • Barbara
    March 19, 2016 at 12:38 am

    I have used all of these ideas.
    Sometimes if you look up the husband’s name in the marriage indexes (in the UK) you can work out who they married. Make a note of all the female names who are on the same page and then find the husband on the next census.

  • Maurine
    March 2, 2016 at 5:19 am

    When my great grandmother remarried after the death of her first husband, she had to put her maiden name on her new marriage license.(in the state of PA but she was from Austria) She also had to put the maiden name of HER mother on the license, (and HER mother had never moved to the US so I didn’t have a clue as to her maiden name), so I got two maiden names on one document. Another time, I found the maiden name of a different great grandmother on one of her son’s German birth certificates , AND HER mother’s maiden name, also. It was exhilarating to find all those maiden names!!

  • March 1, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    Great advice! Some ‘less common’ sources where I’ve found maiden surnames of women include hospital admission registers; benevolent asylum records; Missing Friends records; Police Gazettes; inquest files; mental asylum files (especially the files about getting relatives to pay maintenance); annotations on ships’ passenger lists; Colonial Secretary’s Office correspondence; etc.

  • Patrick
    March 1, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    Great stuff, and I really like your emphasis on researching skeptically and reinforcing any new links. (I often find trees showing as certain connections that I know from primary-source work to be false.) I’d add two tricks that have worked for me: (1) in census records, looking for sore-thumb places of birth, in subject and parents, that may align with those in other households nearby, and (2) in passenger lists, checking passengers traveling with the subject and following up on the going-to-join and contact-in-home-country names. Everyone’s a suspect!

  • February 27, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    Be very careful. The mother-in-law in the census record could be listed by the name of her second husband. Don’t jump to conclusions.

  • Robyn Shafer
    February 24, 2016 at 7:37 am

    Thank you so much for this article and the comments from others. For me, I let the frustration of not having a last name get to me and I don’t always think about ALL the places to look for it. Now, I can refer to this document and find Catherine’s maiden name!

  • Angela Gordon
    February 23, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    Don’t neglect to ask older LIVING relatives. I got stumped trying to locate information on an elusive great grandfather, his brother and mother. Couldn’t find ANY record of his death and it wasn’t during wartime. A conversation with an 84 year old LIVING aunt reveled that family rumor has it that the great grandfather was thought to have been murdered and his body never found. Turns out he was a hot-tempered ne’er-do-well and his disappearance surprised no one. Still looking for his brother and the mother’s 2nd marriage which produced the boys. Apparantly, the US government built an air base right on top of the town where they lived and moved many cemeteries …. and didn’t bother to keep good records. So the search continues. P.S. have found clues in old church records …. meetings of deacons, minutes revealed some parishioners were called out for non-attendance of services. Found one relative that way!

    • February 23, 2016 at 8:57 pm

      These are good points. Sometimes going through church records, especially if they were Catholic will help find who you are looking for. I was looking for my husband’s relations and came to find out that the OLD church cemetery was used for the site of the new church! The headstones were pushed off the property into a gully and the church was built right over the graves. I was surprised that no list was prepared and a plaque made for those whose eternal rest was beneath the church.

  • Heather
    February 22, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    I had something similar with my paternal grandfather. He died in 1962 and was in WII. I kept getting no where until I purposely misspelled his last name. It was only then that I found marriage license, censuses and military documents.

  • Barb
    February 22, 2016 at 4:00 am

    Social news in small town newspapers are a goldmine. These were the Facebook’s and Twitters of their day and often commented on the little things in life, such as visits, out of two visitors and who is visiting who. Sometimes it is straightforward (“Mrs. Alice Curtis is in Birdsall visiting her mother, Mrs. Sarah Adams”) (which still needs to be investigated, since Sarah may be on her second or third marriage). I found a couple maiden names by looking at such announcements of frequent visits to the same people, and finding out it’s a sibling or a cousin. I’ve found them in family reunion announcements. Search their children’s names to find visits to aunts, uncles, cousins, or grandparents. It’s a huge help in cluster genealogy.

  • February 20, 2016 at 3:42 pm

    I have an email that was written to me about the subjects of slaves. Perhaps it will help you. Nearly all of these documents had not been seen since they were filed away by a legislative clerk. This applies mostly to Massachusetts, but it is a good place to start.

    Here are the links in the story. You can copy and paste them into a browser to see them.


    In broad categories, the project involves true petitions to government by women, African Americans, and Native Americans. The first phase of the project is uploaded, and the data are available for viewing. It includes abilities to search by keywords and high-res scanned images of the documents that can be zoomed in on.


    Only selected signatories on these petitions were transcribed and indexed (and names of historically notable people that were noticed, e.g., Sojourner Truth, William Lloyd Garrison) are indexed. Here’s one signed by Henry David Thoreau! (left column, 3rd sig up from bottom):


    The project hopes to have a crowd-sourcing feature, to have public volunteers participate to transcribe all the signatories. If you know of a Massachusetts town where ancestors lived, you might be able to find that they were the subject of a petition (those names are indexed) or had signed with others.

  • Patti Browning
    February 20, 2016 at 11:52 am

    I would also suggest that in addition to studying the neighbors around your ancestor, study the neighbor’s around your ancestor’s siblings — and if they were found on a census working somewhere on someone else’s farm, pay attention. This is how I cracked my missing maiden name.

    My ancestor’s brother Edward Alfred Browning married first to an unknown woman named Malissa A. ??? in Cumberland Co. IL c1861. She died in 1864 and was buried next to her child with Edward. I couldn’t locate her maiden name as Cumberland Co IL records prior to 1885 were lost in a fire. I despaired of ever finding out who she was.

    In the course of other research I noticed that in 1870 Edward’s older brother Ezra Browning and wife Amanda J. (nee Smith) were living with Genias James Spenser and his wife Hannah. I wanted to know why and quickly learned Hannah and Amanda were cousins. In 1880 Ezra and Amanda had moved and were living with Thomas Scott and his wife Lucinda (nee Smith). Why? Well, Lucinda and Amanda were sisters!

    Sooooo…I got to thinking. What if Edward’s first wife was also from the larger Smith/Scott clan?

    To test my theory I calculated Malissa’s age in 1850 and set to looking for her in the census. It didn’t take me long. In 1850 in Woodbury, Cumberland Co., IL, a 9-yr old named Melissa Scott was living near the Smith family that Amanda J., Ezra’s wife. Amanda’s sister Lucinda Smith had married Thomas Scott, Melissa’s cousin. Amanda’s cousin Harriet Smith had married Genias James Spenser!

    And Malissa’s father, James Uriah Scott? He had married Adaline Vails. Adaline’s sister Elizabeth Ann had married Thomas Scott and were the parents of Mariah Jane Scott, the wife of Edward Browning’s cousin John Minard Markee.

    So to summarize: Pay attention to the extended family. Get to know EACH member of a particular family, who they married, and who these people’s cousins are. It matters!

  • Linda Hansen
    February 20, 2016 at 9:29 am

    I am stumped on learning my 3X g grandmother’s siblings and parents. I am not able to locate information from before 1833. I am trying to find any records of brothers or sisters to learn about her parents. When she married my 3x g grandfather, she was 27. Which for the time was on the old side. I have looked at their children, and I believe the youngest daughter may be a clue-(actual surname in quotation marks) Lydia Ann Turner “Tuttle”. Yes, Ann Turner is my (however many times removed great aunt) the *middle name*. In 1860, there was a woman living with the family who may also be related but as of yet, I have not been able to tie them together.

  • B Boyce
    February 20, 2016 at 7:05 am

    I spent 20 years looking for something past my 2nd great grandmother. Her husband left her & 1 son in New York & went to PA. He remarried while Olive Collins Borthwick was still alive. I was researching online & punched in her maiden name hoping to find something, anything! Among the hits I got was the 1860 census showing Olive, son Helam, & her parents all using the maiden name! Of course a woman would be so ticked off after her bigamist husband abandoned their family she would go back to her maiden name! Tunnel vision can kill research efforts! At least it taught me a valuable lesson – look at all possibilities!

  • Felicity Janet Gilks
    February 20, 2016 at 12:12 am

    I was searching for the maiden name of my gt.gt.gt. grandmother Mary Ann for ages! She was described as a widow when she married my gt.gt.gt. grandfather John Hackwood in 1813 at Walsall, Staffordshire UK. Initial searches of the Staffordshire marriage records for a Mary Ann …….. wedding a ………. Hingley or Ingley drew a blank. The 1851 census entry gave her place of birth as Walsall and I calculated her year of birth would be 1789 or 1790. A trawl through the baptismal records for St. Matthew’s Walsall provided me with 13 possible candidates & by further investigations I narrowed it down to 2 possibles. A change in lifestyle meant I had little time for much research for a number of years, but the desire to find her maiden name was still strong. Given the date she could have been a war widow, but efforts to date have failed to find her first husband in the casualty lists – I’m still working on that. However whilst waiting for archives to be provided I glanced at a copy of a book on Wednesbury where she lived with second husband John Hackwood written by her grandson, F.W. Hackwood. In a section on local religious sects he mentioned Elizabeth Peacock as the second leader of the Southcotters. The next sentence was marvellous as it said her maiden name was Stone and she was the eldest sister of the late Mrs. J. Hackwood i.e. my gt.gt.gt.grandmother. My message is not to ignore local history books, articles etc nor local newpapers

  • KB
    February 19, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    It’s especially difficult to trace enslaved women, but I’ve been able to find maiden names for 3 of my relatives, using several of the records suggested in this article.

    I found the maiden name of my great-great-great grandmother, a former slave who died at age 87 in 1921. My great-grandfather was the informant on her death certificate. He also gave the name of her father. I don’t have any other records with her full name. Her nickname, “Tena” for “Christena,” was used in all of her Census records, which were the only other places where I could find her.

    The other two were freedwomen. I found the maiden name for one on the death certificate of one of her daughters in 1909. The other was included in the U.S. Colored Troops pension application for her husband.

  • February 19, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    These are all good ideas, most of which I have tried, but have come up with more mystery. I am looking for more information on a woman named Amanda who was married to a man named James Newberry in Wheeler’s Grove, IA. We knew he had married a fifth time, but finally found her first name on a quit claim deed. There are no marriage, death, or baptisms for children. She was barely and adult and he was an octogenarian. She left the Newberry/Winegar family before he died, so nothing more is found. I checked neighbors and found a girl fitting the description who was the right religious faith and it appeared that she was married quite young. The biggest clue is the religious affiliation and the turbulent history behind it all. We think that her name was Amanda Pack. Her family belonged to an offshoot of the LDS Church the RLDS, now known as the Community of Christ. Her mother a widow, eventually rejoined the LDS group in Utah and moved there leaving her daughter behind with her elderly husband. Most of what we have is supposition, but we do know that she left her first marriage and disappeared. Meanwhile the mother moved to Utah went with a younger son. Later this daughter shows up and marries a cousin of the same surname. They move to Montana and she supposedly dies there. The second husband moves back to Utah and remarries. It’s a very weird scenario and none of the descendants have ANY IDEA what really happened. So the mystery continues.

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