I think the following blog post from Christa Cowan, The Barefoot Genealogist, to mark National Women’s History Month on the Ancestry blog is informational, instructional and a good one to pass along, especially if you’re just starting your family history search. You can also view the Christa’s embedded video below:

Did you know that March is National Women’s History Month? This seems to fit so perfectly with what we do as genealogists. After all, half of our ancestors are women. In honor of this event, I would like to share what I plan on doing this month and invite you to join me.

Women Should Be Recorded With Their Maiden Names

I use Family Tree Maker (synced with my Ancestry Tree). In FTM there is a report called Data Errors. One of the options for that report is “wife’s surname same as husband’s surname.” This month I will run this report and check each of those to determine if the wife’s maiden name really is the same as her husband’s surname (which in some cases it should be). If it is not really the same I will remove the surname. For me, blank is better than wrong.

Find Women in My Tree Without Last Names

Using the index panel in Family Tree Maker I can quickly skim the list to find women without maiden names. These are the women I want to focus on this month – give them back their names!

Find Last Names of Women in My Tree

There are a lot of strategies for finding the maiden names of women.  First, a couple of quick tips from me about how I’ve done this in the past.

Finding the Maiden Names of Women

Second, I plan on watching Mary Penner’s webinar to refresh my memory about some research strategies and then applying them to some of the tougher challenges in my tree. You can access it by going to the Learning Center on Ancestry.com and clicking on Webinars.  Scroll down to “Finding Females in Your Family Tree” from May 2010.


Leave a Reply