Is there an easier way?

+6 votes
Is there an easier way to find the LNAB (Last Name at Birth) for the wife of dececed relatives or is it a big game of Rusian Roulette?
in Genealogy Help by Chris McCombs G2G6 Mach 5 (55.4k points)
As some of the answers already given have alluded to different countries and ethnicities have different practices/conventions.

In my experience the place you are most likely to find a wife's maiden name is on her marriage documents.

Many places, but not all, record the mother's maiden name on her children's vital records .

You can also look for clues in the surnames of witnesses to events involving the woman of interest as well as the surnames of the main participants of events she was a witness to - close family are often the witnesses of marriages, baptisms, etc.

Depending on the time and place you may also want to look at middle names - sometimes the mother's maiden name gets used as a 'middle name' for a child - Similarly a woman's maiden name may become used as her middle name after she is married.

As was already mentioned look for clues in the census records for other surnames in the same household - sometimes a sibling, in-law, or orphaned niece/nephew will give a clue. Similarly, a woman's will may mention siblings or other relatives as beneficiaries.

4 Answers

+1 vote
Hi Chris

Sometimes census information includes the spouse's LNAB.  I think it is hit and miss.

Often the birth record of a child lists the mother's LNAB.

I have found it on the marriage record of a child, also.

If you know a child's name and birthdate and the father's name you should be able to find something.  Try searching records at, searches are free and there are many records in the database.

Happy searching.
by Kristina Adams G2G6 Pilot (189k points)
I have been searching on for my ancestors and have not been able to find much. All the stuff i find I have had for sometime now. I am only able to find census records for my relatives and the only ones I can understand are the ones from 1850 to present day.
+2 votes
For the French Canadian it is fairly easy as long as you can find the marriage record, the maiden name and the parents of both the groom and the bride are spelled out, if it is a second marriage though only the name of the previous husband (or wife) will be stated.
by Claude Emond G2G6 Mach 1 (15.3k points)
+3 votes
Sometimes death certificates give parents' names, her death certificate could give her father's name, which would give her LNAB, or one of her children's death certificates could have her maiden name on it. Of course, this varies a lot by location and era.
by Leanne Cooper G2G6 Mach 3 (35.1k points)
+3 votes
Look carefully at census records.  The old person living in the family is almost always an in-law.  Younger people are often siblings or cousins; children with a different name are often children from a previous marriage.

Also, there's always google.  My 3rd-ggrandfather's mother's LNAB was a mystery, as were both his  inlaws; so I googled the names together, and turned up his Yale and Andover-Newton seminary obitiuaries, with just about everything I wanted on it.  Didn't even know he went either place, but there he was...
by Patricia Hawkins G2G6 Mach 2 (28.9k points)

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