GenToday-L Archive

Rooting Female Ancestors

Start your search with the Federal and State Censuses. Work backwards through the censuses starting with her death, if known, then back to her birth. Note the date the census was taken, her age and her neighbors (they may be kinfolk). Seek out her children if she does not appear, as she may be a widow and live with her daughter or son. Since 1880, the federal census list the place of birth for the parents. Some censuses list the length of residence which helps in pinpointing migration. Check the civil death certificates for her and most importantly, for all of her children as these may give her maiden name.

Next, check civil and ecclesiastical marriage records as they often provide essential information. Perhaps the bride and groom were from the same town, county or state. If her maiden name is not there, check the witnesses, could be her relative.

Then go to birth/baptism records of all her children, her maiden name may appear. Often she may be a godmother to a relative's child, so check that also.

Be aware of naming practices and patterns among different ethnic groups. Sometimes a son's middle name came from the mother's maiden name. Sometimes an obituary will be listed with the maiden name as well as the tombstone inscription.

Land records are an excellent source of information that may hold the key to the maiden name. See the September issue for indepth information about this subject.

Check probate and guardianship papers which often have the wife's relatives listed. Naturalization and Declarations of Intent may have more information.

Military Pension claims frequently contain marriage dates and places and occasionally the maiden name of the bride.

Marriage and birth announcements in the early newspapers are a good source along with separations, divorce, etc. Often they contain notices of men deserted by their wives or visa-versa and they were refusing to pay for any credit offered to their former spouse. Remember, if you don't find the record in one newspaper, check others that cover that community or nearby communities.

Town and county histories should be included in your search for early ancestors and often provide details about the families of the area. Early ancestors tended to marry someone who lives within thirty miles of them.

Gradually your search will uncover all the pieces that will lead you to find your elusive women ancestors and their maiden names.

Suggested Reading

  • Discovering Your Female Ancestors
  • A Sourcebook for Women's Genealogy
  • Seven Brave Women
  • The Female Ancestors of Christ

    Family History Project for Kids

    There is a current family history project underway on the Internet that is combining teachers, genealogists and students (ages 10-15). This project is run through KIDLINK, which is a grassroots project aimed at getting as many children in the age group 10 - 15 as possible involved in a GLOBAL dialog. The work is supported by 31 public conferences (mailing lists), a private network for interactive dialog ("chat"), and an online art exhibition site. Included are lists in different languages as well as English.

    KIDPROJ is a part of KIDLINK, where teachers and youth group leaders from around the world plan activities and projects for students and other kids to take part in. They are a "family" who talk to each other, participate in many discussions and work together on many different activities and projects.

    This project will run as an open-ended project beginning in September of 997 and running until at least until the 20th of December 1997. The project could be extended due to the continued interest of participants. A new email list/forum as been created for this project called "KIDROOTS". Communication between and research volunteers will take place on

    Family history can be a long term project for these students and will over, at least, history, geography and map skills, language arts, math (working with unfamiliar dates and calculating ages) and science (lifestyle improvements due to inventions).

    The goal of this project is to bring history alive for students by assisting them in learning how their family participated in 'real' history, to learn how previous generations actually lived, the values they had, the customs they practices, etc., to promote creative writing skills, to develop research and note taking skills by 'digging' around in the family tree, to learn about other cultures by sharing with each other on the KIDROOTS list, to increase computer skills by using word processors, perhaps drawing or graphics programs, email, listservs and the WWW, and to learn more about community resources in individual geographical area.

    Teachers will introduce the project and ask the students to begin by interviewing family members. Students will be asking questions from the researchers who have volunteered to help guide them in this endeavor.

    Any interested person should contact Diane Smith at and check out the KIDLINK web pages for more information. KIDLINK attempts to provide a safe place for kids ages 10-15 to communicate so subscribing is ecessary to participate on any list. KIDLINK: Family History project:

    Tip of the Month

    How to order birth registration certificates from England and Wales: The centralized government registration of births began in July 1837. Parents were required to register within 6 weeks of the birth of their child. Copies of these registrations are available by mail from the General Register Office. You need to know your ancestor's name and approximate month and year. Remember, the indexes are in order based on the month and year the birth was registered, not by the actual birth date. If you don't find your ancestor registered in one month, look at the next several months.

    Always request a FULL birth registration certificate, include $19 (US money order payable to the General Register Office) and send to General Register Office, Smedly Hydro Trafalgar Rd, Southport Merseyside PR8 2HH, United Kingdom. Or email to

    SELF Family Newsletter

    It is our great pleasure to extend this cordial invitation for your subscribers to visit our site. Our site is dedicated to exchanging information and doing research on the Self family history. Tim Seawolf Self, - Self Family NetLetter


    LUECK,Herman & Emma (HINZ) immigrated Germany to US 1880 with sons, Henry(age 3) & Gustav(age 1-2). Daughter, Emma, born May 5, 1881 "at sea". Family in MN where Emil (1883) & Hattie (1885) born before going to WA. Need specific locals & dates. Phyllis Neville


    Seeking information on CARMICKLE/CARMICHAEL/KERMICHAEL in the Kentucky/Indiana/New Jersey areas, pre 1900s.

    Please send any HYATT surname, birthdate and place of birth and any other HYATT information you may have... Will return to you connecting information I have in file FREE.

    Need parents & marriage record Joseph Jacques of St. Pierre les Becquets(?). Joseph md Charlotte Paris ca1775-1785. Charlotte's parents are Pierre Charles Paris et Clotilde Brison/Brisson who md 23 Mar 1762 St. Pierre Les Becquets, Quebec.

    I am looking for Giuseppe DURSI, circa 1903. He lived on West 69th St. in New York City, USA. He was from Oriolo,

    I am looking for descendants of Elias & Nancy Overstreet(?) Tanner. Lived in Green County, MO in the 1850's childrens' names include Martha (Married Sliger) David, James I. Anna Beth (?) Stewart & Louisa.

    Searching for James BRANTON b.England m. Anna? Came to the US sometime around 1830. Son Thomas BRANTON b.3/26/1845 d.1/11/1907 Ks, m.Josephine RUSSELL b. 9/15/1847 d. 9/18/1937 Ks.

    Seeking info Adam Hoover b: Harrison co. Ohio 1844, parents unknown. Adam living w/Nancy Hoover age 68 in 1850,Liberty twp,Jackson co. Ohio. Adam's grandmother(?) Who was Nancy? What was her husband name, children?Adam living w/uncle Samuel in Pike co. Ohio in 1860. After war Adam return to stay w/ Samuel before going IL.1869.

    Isaac Hill & part of his family migrated White County, IL bef 1820 Census, from Rowan County, NC, traveling thru TN and KY. Wife is Mary Barnes, or Nancy?

    Seeking parents of Dock Rogers Texas 1878-1914. Dock md Etta Judkins 1897 Nacogdoches, Nacogdoches Texas. Family in East Texas only. Dock buried in Nacogdoches, Texas. Children: Marion, Charlie ,John, William, & Authur B. MY line is Charlie who d:1945 Dayton, Liberty co. Texas.

    FASSETT-RUSH-DUFFNER-ELLIS-COOK-REINART-WOOD-WYATT: researching in Missouri - Mercer, Sullivan & Grundy Counties as primary location. Many started in OHIO & some later moved to ILL. Anyone w/common names, pls contact me at

    Researching in Northeastern Ky for Clarks, Redmonds and Watsons from 1900 to 1950 e-mail

    Looking for birthplace and parents of TIMOTHY HOUSER who moved to DeWitt, IA about 1850-1865, m. LUCY USHER in 1867, and fathered 3 children before disappearing. TIA. Mona

    Rev. Jesse Arnett Love b. December 04, 1878 Cullman Co., Alabama. He was md to Minnie Maudeen McCaig of Omega, GA. He was pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church of Albany, Ga. & the organizer of Raleigh White Baptist Church.

    Seeking info Anthony RAGSDALE who md Anne WELLS 1793 Mecklenburg Co., VA, lived in Bullitt Co., KY in 1810 and in Union Co., KY from 1811 to 1814 where he died. Served in War of 1812 for KY. Possible son, Gabriel RAGSDALE.

    Timothy O'Brien/Bryant & Joanna (Hart) O'Brien/Bryant, both b. Munster,Ireland ca 1798/1800 Michael Cullen O'Brien/Bryant b: Munster, Ireland 1828 ALL emigrated England ca 1830 Daniel W.(Webster?) O'Brien b Essex, England ca 1832 ALL ABOVE emigrated Mass. ca 1837 Mary Emily & Ann Louisa O'Brien/Bryant b: in Georgetown, Essex, MA ca 1837/38

    Seeking info: Frank H. Johnson b. June 30, 1872 Hamilton Co. Ia. m. Anna May Rockofellow abt 1903. d. May 1967 in Hastings, Adams Co. Ne. Who was his mother? His father Otis Johnson b. Knoxvill Twp Marion co. Ia. (Mather Home)

    Looking for info on parents/siblings of David May. Md in Bates Co. Missouri Nov14, 1860 to Mildred Sarah Kirks. Settled as farmers near Middletown Mo. David d: Apr 19, 1921. No info on David beyond this. Have listing of all his children.

    DAVID HOWARD HOUSE m MARY ELIZABETH WILSON no dates or places BENJAMIN A. WOODARD b4-22-1819d20501881 NC>AR m3-04-1840 SALLY ANN BOYCE b2-18-1817

    I am looking for Sossong or Soissons. E mail me at


    GASS, Landon Turnan born Celina, Tennessee in 1857. Son of William Condra and Jane Boles Delk(Delp) GASS, any information?

    LINK, John, born Germany abt 1748, in Rev. War. Who was he md to? At least one son, William LINK born Va. died in Sumner Co. Tennessee.Any info?

    Is anyone out there who might have information the name SILCOX. Would be interested in any information on this name.

    Looking for data on HALL surname from Harrison Co, Oh. Sarah Jane HALL md Hiram Frank MCCONNELL & I can't seem to find anything on her family. I believe Sarah Jane from Harrison County bef marriage to Frank.

    I'll appreciate contact w/those researching:MEYER & SPANNAGEL (Germany only), TIPPIE, HOCK/HAWK, KOCH, CONNELL, RICE, MOFFITT.

    Where were deaths recorded for the Bronx in 1899? Augusta Klingner died 2-9-1899, is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, and lived near 150th St. in the Bronx. I wrote to NYC Archives but they cannot find the record. Who would have it?

    GABRIAU/GABRIAULT in Ontario. I would like to hear from anyone working on this name to see how it might connect to the descendants of Jean GABORIAU DIT LAPALME + Marguerite BOILEAU,1700's QC

    Ebner, Meeks, McMicken are query names. D. Glaze

    Looking for any info on JOSEPH BLANEY b. abt.1862, Charleston,S.C. SALLEY GORDON b. abt. 1878 S.C., county unknown.

    Searching for Wright's and James' in Bedford County, Virginia. Would like to exchange information with anyone intersted. Contact:

    Looking for any information on the family of James H. French, Sr., born in Gloucester, VA in 1911. Brothers: Norman and Landon. Please send info to

    Looking for info. on John F. Bennett Born 1803 in Arkansas. Dont know anything else. May have been Episcopal Minister. Have searched for a year.

    William DAVIS m Sarah Jane COLE children: Jesse; Elmina b 1871 NC d 1944 Cherokee Co, TX m Armond CARTWRIGHT 1898; Lou b 1875 m Bill BATES; Julie b 1879 m Enock LATHAM; & Jamima m ? Freeman. Need info on Wm & Sarah?

    In search of new information on my descendents from Pactolus Township, and Belvoir Township, in Pitt County, North Carolina. I would appreciate any and all replies. Thank you.

    In search of information on the Davis' Family line from Scotland Neck(Palmyra Township) in Halifax Cty.,NC. I would appreciate all replies. Thank you.

    Looking for Himes in the Everett/Bedford Pa. area, Simon born 1/22/1877, mother Mary E. Himes, grandparents Thomas and Catharine Himes.

    Seeking persons with the name LEFFERMAN. e-mail:

    HEISTERKAMP - I am doing a one name study on the name, HEISTERKAMP. If you are a Heisterkamp, know a Heisterkamp, or can help, please E-mail me at

    Looking for: Norris (Eng>Can abt 1910), Probst (Switz>PA abt 1840), Tallman (PA 1820 & B4), Dean (PA 1800 & B4), Thomas (PA 1860 & B4), Hall (Can>Roch., NY abt 1900), Hoard (Hastings Cty., Can abt 1860&B4, Blakeney or var(PA1820&B4)

    Searching BAUGHMAN, VANAMAN, BEAL, RARICK, KENNEL- Penn, Ohio, Md, also WHIGHAM, BROADSTREET, ROBERTS, MCFARLAND - TX, LA, GA. Please e-mail me if your have this surname. We can exchange details. Mrs G

    Looking for info on COOK,Arthur, Lillian LAUBENTHAL, SHEPLEY, SHAPLEY, SHAPLEIGH, WHITE,(changed from HAMILTON) ELLSWORTH, LONGLEY, MCDONALD. Thanks,Linda

    Looking for info on descendants of Mr. SHERRILL & Susan BRADSHAW bn 1854. Their children (?): Willie md Mr. CLEGHORN & lived in Goodnight, Armstrong Co, TX; Perry; Ettie md Mr. JONES; & Fannie M

    Parents(?) of Sherard/Sherod BRADSHAW (died abt1844 in Sevier Co, AR) md abt 1826 Frances "Frankey" (ROBINSON/ROBERSON/ROBERTSON) McCOWN (widow of Francis McCOWN).

    Looking for info& whereabouts of children of Irene LEONARD1868-1909 (d/o Peter F. LEONARD & Olive Whitney DAVIS) md to Andrew? ABRAHAMSON Racine Co, WI(?). Children: Lyle lived Racine Co, WI 1910, & in Dec. 1955 at 12321 Interlaken Dr., Tacoma, WA.; Edna lived Racine Co, WI 1910, & 1955-1957 known as Edna ANDREWS living San Antonio, TX. Lou Bradshaw,

    Looking for Elijah J. Perry ANYWHERE in the US, especially after 1863. Born 1840, m. Elizabeth Muth, 22 Nov 1863 in Hancock Co., IN; they had a daughter Vida 1865. Believe he had son (Charles) with Eliza White in Arkansas, 1872.

    Looking for John BRADSHAW, bn abt 1773 Cumberland Co, VA, s/o Field BRADSHAW (1726-c.1788) & Judith ROBINSON (b. c.1726). Field's parents William BRADSHAW & Judith SCRUGGS. Was this same John BRADSHAW who md Polley HUDGENS 1802 Christian Co, KY? Lou Bradshaw,

    Looking for James Mayberry White, Sion Jones and John Lloyd Newman (LINDA KAPS)

    Seeking any info leading to whereabouts of my grandfather dead or alive. Lewis or Louis Johnson Ledbetter Born Oct.31,1894 or 1896 in Crandall, Texas. His parents are Alvarado Ledbetter and Belle Kelley from Georgia. (Mathew & Cindy Bowers)

    Additional Articles:

  • Church Records
  • African-American Genealogy
  • Land Records

    The Genealogy Lady established the "Genealogy Today" newsletter in April 1997. She answers questions online at, and sells books at her Genealogy Book Store.

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