How to Find Someone’s Maiden Name for Free

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How to Find Someone’s Maiden Name for Free

Performing a search on your ancestry can be such a daunting task as you try to gather all the information to put together the history of your family. In order to carry out any form of genealogy research and locate a person, you have to gather all information you will need. This can the names of your parents, maiden names, marriages, children, divorces and other details that you might consider useful.  This guide will assist you on how to find someone’s maiden name for free.

A maiden name is the last name allocated to a woman which she goes by all her life until she gets married. “Maiden” used to exclusively refer to young, unmarried women, during the middle ages in Europe. It was assumed that unmarried women were virgins.

The tradition or custom to adopt the last name of the husband when a woman marries dates back generations. When the women married, they took the husbands last name, and subsequently lost their virginity, and hence were no longer maidens.


In the 1800s the Married Woman’s Property Act was passed in most of the states in the United States allowing women to have a legal individual status. Even though that law was passed, many women still choose to take their husband’s last name. About 20 % of women who are married retain their birth last names in today’s society. This percentage is lower than in the 70s.

The tradition of taking up the last name of the husband when a woman marries still endures and has no sign that it will ever change any time soon.

You can find a maiden name from one of the usual resources such as marriage certificate, death records, census records, birth or baptismal records of a child, if you are lucky. In most instances people who give information on a death record don’t know or at times do not even bother to list the maiden name of a woman. So it is hard to find these records especially for women with records before 1850.

First and Middle Names

It was quite common for families to honor their loved ones by naming their children after their relatives. Some families would incorporate the last name of the woman into the first or at times the middle name of the child. In order to find that out, you will need to look closely at the names and middle names of your ancestors’ children, grandchildren and great grandchildren to find any clues.

Find out if there is any name that stands out as a last name and if it fits anywhere in your family tree. Try using it as a maiden name for the female relative and see on your search and see if it does not return any results. There are women who also incorporated their last name as middle name when they got married. Try searching with the first and middle name also to find out if this si not the case.

The Informant

Informant normally provide details on someone when they are dead. In a situation whereby you seem not to be able to locate the records of your female ancestor, you may try to find out who the informant was. Most of the time its someone who is related the deceased. This is normally the spouse, child, sibling, for example. If it happens that it’s a sibling, then you be lucky.

In some cases, the relationship between the deceased and the informant id mentioned. But if you suspect that they might be related, try a search and see what comes up.

Census Records

Another idea might be to consult with census records for the information. Go through the records and try to find out the names of the people listed just above and below on the same page as your ancestor. These people lived close to your ancestor and might be neighbors. They could also be relatives.


If there are matching surnames to that of your ancestors in the census records, it might mean that they lived in an area of relations. Maybe one of the people may be parents of your ancestor.

To find that out, you will need to find those people who have the right age to be your ancestor’s parents. Try to find out if they have children listed with them that are also listed somewhere else.

Search Without Last Name

It is usually the case that when we search, we incorporate the last name. this might prove problematic when you are looking to find maiden name on someone. This is because you be searching with last name of the husband.

You can try searching with first name only and include other details on the person. This can be date of birth, date of death, name of souse or children. This will allow you to search from records that you have never tried from and reveal new information.

Most genealogy websites and background check sites can help you with maiden name searches online. Examples can be Melissa Data, Ancestry, Family Search, My Life, Truth Finder, Been Verified to mention a few.

These are some of the ideas on how to find someone’s maiden name for free. Try these ideas and see if you are able to find information on your ancestor.

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