Maiden names are a helpful way to search for your family history, but they can sometimes be difficult to find due to the tradition of women assuming their husbands’ names once married. Combined with historical laws that make owning property or other items difficult for women, maiden names can be elusive, and records for female individuals are sparser than those of their male counterparts.
If you want to search by maiden name, you can follow the tips we discuss in our article below. These steps will help you understand why searching by maiden name can be useful and how to get started on this process.
What Is a Maiden Name?
A maiden name is the surname that a woman uses from birth until they are married; once they marry, women typically take on their partner’s surname as their own. This is considered traditional but depends on the culture, and while it is still a common practice, more and more women are choosing to keep their birth surname. Some even hyphenate their surname to show the joining of themselves and their partner.
Unfortunately, this tradition of women taking on their partner’s name throughout history leaves records of the female side of families somewhat sparse and difficult to find, especially regarding property ownership or records that are a century or two old. In most cases, it takes dedication and some patience to search by maiden name, but it is a very rewarding process as searching by maiden name can help you further trace the lineage of your family history.
Why Is Searching by Maiden Name Useful?
Searching by maiden name can be useful if you want to trace your family’s lineage or if you are interested in creating a family tree. When you search by maiden name, you are uncovering relatives that you may not have known about by only searching with someone’s married name. Searching by maiden name can also help you learn more about your ancestor’s history and personal information about the women in your life that may be otherwise lost to time.
The Best Ways To Search by Maiden Name
There are a few ways to discover a maiden name and search for other records using that name. Below, we list the best ways to start your maiden name searches.
Use a People Search
Using a people search like the one on Information.com can not only help you discover someone’s maiden name, but it can help you perform further searches and learn important information. To utilize this tool, enter the married name of the individual or their maiden name into the search bar.
The tool will perform a search and compile information from public records that helps you identify possible family members, friends, and associates of the person in question. This can help you narrow down a maiden name or expand your search based on the results after searching with a maiden name.
Speaking with relatives and close family friends, especially older ones, is a great way to discover maiden names and learn more information about someone by referencing their maiden names. Additionally, many families will have essential information about loved ones kept safe somewhere, such as marriage and death certificates, obituaries, census information, and written histories. Marriage certificates especially are a great way to discover someone’s maiden name and continue the search.
Check Social Media
Sometimes, people will put their information on public social media profiles and change that information as relationships in their life changes. For example, you can search by their married name on social media to discover an individual’s maiden name, or you can search by maiden name directly to pull up information about an individual.
The best website for this process is Facebook, but you may also have luck on LinkedIn or Instagram when it comes to searching for information about someone by their maiden name.
Keep in mind that you may also need an account on the social media website and may also need to be personally connected with the person to get effective search results.
Invest in a Genealogist
A professional genealogist may be quite the investment for some, but if you are interested in searching by maiden name and gaining significant information about your family’s history, you may want to meet with one to get an idea of where to start.
A genealogist is especially helpful if you already know the maiden name. They can help you select marriage and death records, courthouse records, and other important information that allows you to trace your family lineage or find more information about specific individuals.
Simple Maiden Name Searches
Searching by maiden name to discover your family history or trace back your genealogical roots can seem difficult, especially if you aren’t sure where to start. However, with a little effort and some understanding of the search tools available, you can easily search by maiden name and discover important information.
Make sure to utilize all the available search methods, and consider investing in a professional genealogist to deepen your search and trace your family history.