Fifteen Ways to Find a Maiden Name
Richard A. Steele, former Clan Scott Society Genealogist

In many western european cultures, the woman's surname is dropped in favor of her new husband's when they marry.  This can drive the genealogist crazy.  Fortunately for those of us looking for female ancestors in Scotland, Scottish records often show the woman's name.

Below is a list of helpful advise on finding the maiden names of your ancestor's wives.  All of the following method probably won't work on the same person; it depends on the time, place, and where the person lived.  Try for three proofs, but get at least two.  You'll find that it is not as difficult as you many think.

1.    Ladies death certificates -- within last 100 years
2.    All children's death certificates, living into the 20th century
3.    Copy of her obituary (Check to see if father or any brother survived her; one out of five obituaries give clear indication of her maiden name.
4.    Marriage record; also check children's marriage certificates
5.    Printed Church records or printed marriage records.  (These may be called OPRs or Old Parish Records or Old Parochial Records in Scotland.)
6.    Unpublished Church record of marriage (The Church of Latter Day Saints or commonly called the Mormon Church) - has many on microfilm.
7.    International; Genealogical Index (IGI)
8.    Divorce papers.
9.    Newspapers indexes (especially ion burned counties)
10.  County Histories.
11.  Widows Military Pension.
12.  Locate a family genealogy of spouse.  (New York Public Library estimates 25% of their Family Genealogies are the only copies)
14.  Wills and Probate records.
15.  Queries
The number 13 was omitted in original - superstitions?!

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Last Updated 11March2006 dms        (c)2000-2006 Clan Scott Society, Inc.