How do i look up my ancestors

By following a few basic research methods, with an added measure of patience and creativity, you'll soon be learning about all of the women who passed their genes down to you. Just remember, don't give up! If your female ancestors had given up, you might not be here today. Generally, the single best place to locate a maiden name for a female ancestor is on her marriage record. Marriage information can be found in a variety of records including marriage banns, marriage licenses, marriage bonds, marriage certificates, marriage announcements and civil registration vital records.

Marriage licenses are the least common form of marriage record to be found today because these were usually given to the couple being married and have been lost over time. The paperwork generated by the application for a marriage license has usually been preserved in church and public records, however, and may provide some clues as to your ancestor's identity. Marriage registers and vital records are usually the most common and complete records of marriage.

Find out which office holds the marriage records in the locality where the couple was living at the time of their marriage or, if they resided in different localities, in the bride's county or town of residence. Look for all records of a marriage including marriage certificates, applications, licenses, and bonds.

In some areas all documents generated by a marriage will be found combined into the same record, in others they will be listed in separate books with separate indexes. If you're researching African-American ancestors, some counties maintained separate marriage books for blacks and whites in the years following the Civil War. Civil marriages are often indexed on a national level, though it is very helpful if you know the province, region, parish, etc.

In the church, most couples were married by banns, rather than marriage licenses, mainly because licenses cost more than banns. Banns may be recorded in the marriage register or in a separate banns register. Earlier marriage records can usually be found in the church registers.


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If you find a record of the marriage for your female ancestor, then be sure to take note of all pertinent information, including the names of the bride and groom, places of residence, ages, occupations, date of the marriage, the person who performed the marriage, witnesses, etc. Every little detail can lead to new information.

Witnesses to a marriage, for example, are often related to the bride and groom. The name of the person who performed the marriage ceremony may help to identify a church, a lead to possible church records of the marriage, plus other church records for the family. If the couple was married at a residence, you may find a notation of the location.

This could provide a valuable clue to the bride's father's name since young ladies often married at home. Women who remarried were often listed by their previous married name rather than their maiden name. However, a maiden name can usually be ascertained from the father's surname. Prior the the 20th century divorces were often difficult and expensive to obtain, especially for women.


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  • They can, however, sometimes provide clues to maiden names when no other sources exist. Look for divorce decrees in the court in charge of administering divorce decrees for the area in question. Even if your female ancestor never received a divorce, that doesn't mean she didn't file for one. It was fairly common in earlier years for a woman to be denied a divorce, despite claims of cruelty or adultery - but the paperwork from the filing may still be found among the records of the court.

    The cemetery may be the only place where you will find proof of the existence of a female ancestor. It would be quite beneficial if the entire picture were painted, rather than try to make people look for records that may not be able to be located. So, again, these records are not going to help in finding parents names for anyone born before … Better luck finding a family Bible! My maternal great-grandfather had always clamed that his father had changed his last name when he immigrated to Canada and he never knew if his father changed it in Canada or before he left Scotland.

    The family is stumped. I enjoy your articles. He was one of the original settlers of very early Massachusetts. I can only go back to for the last ancestor I can find on Ancestry. Is there anyway to find the ancestors in between? From my mother who is the researcher in our family: surname Tanner often written or misread as Farmer on old handwritten censuses.

    Researching Your Family History Online For Dummies

    Who knew?! Only he had 3 kids that are my family. Please help if anyone can. After you get a name you can take it and delve in to google search. You can then use the records to find addresses and phone records, related people. Associated names etc. My paternal grandfather was well documented.

    The info I have posted is accurate since he actually lived with our family. The names of his parents-impossible for me to find. He was a British subject who was born in Frankfurt Germany according to list.

    Before booking that trip to find your roots, here's how to get started researching your genealogy.

    He was sent to London at the age of 10 years. He had no memory of his father and mother names. However in Germany he did recall to my father that the family name had the prefix Von added to Wight. As everything in Pinterest is American it would be nice to have genealogy that is Australian. Very hard to use these posts. Is there any place where you can enter your information and have it go out to other researchers to see if they have any insight? Some people may just post locally. Do you have a local genealogical society perhaps check with your library?

    There are sometimes people who volunteer to help you. Thanks and good luck!! Estimados: Quisiera comunicarme con descendientes de Nicolas Traico de origen Servio que vivio en el Chaco Argentino en las primersdecadas del I was adopted in New York which has the most restrictive adoption laws. Check with your state often because many states have enacted new laws easing restrictions. I would add probate records to this list as spouse and children are often named and relationships specified.

    Many of these mysteries will probably never be solved and it is frustrating!!! I agree! It is very frustrating to think I may never know about some of these people and what happened to them…. Great information! I have tried them all too, without success. So frustrating! Dulcina Thompson Farr lived with her son George Otsgeo county and the obit said she was widow. Dulcina and Daniel are on the census, so then you know that Daniel died between then and her death date, May 10th..

    I hunt for them at FoL sales, garage sales, flea markets, and used book stores.

    Tip 2: Family stories may be flawed, but you should collect as many as possible

    Several years ago, I published several bios on genealogy message boards for other researchers. Nonetheless, these can be a great springboard when you can find them. I have had luck by omitting letters in a surname or reversing letters. I searched for a couple of years for a marriage record. Armstrong was spelled Amstrong and finally I found my record. Your email address will not be published. Leave this field empty. Family History Daily. This site uses cookies to implement some features.

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    Imagine adding your family tree to a simple website and getting hundreds of new family history discoveries instantly. MyHeritage is offering 2 free weeks of access to their extensive collection of 9 billion historical records, as well as their matching technology that instantly connects you with new information about your ancestors. I'm from Australia and I'm having a lot of trouble finding some of my ancestors before they came to Australia. I'm ready to give up on certain family lines. Really disappointed. I have searched and searched. I even did my ancestry DNA. August 2, I contacted the Archdiocese this is not true.

    I got zero hints on ancestry for her side of Myour family.

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    Annie Mae Meriwether b died??? Last place she lived was birmingham, alabama and somewhere in nyc. I had one Scots lady who was emancipated by 14, thus, had only one census with her family. She then assumed a new surname; the only one in the family to select so. She moved to, married and was widowed in the US. Then she returned to Scotland with her married name.