It is almost always a challenge to know the maiden names of the femaies in your tree. Ask as many questions as you can, and pay attention to names of people in the family. Sometimes, the first names were the last names from a female. Here are some other avenues to travel
What’s in a Name?
The best place to locate a woman’s maiden name is on her marriage record. These can include not only the marriage license, but also the marriage certificate, marriage announcements, marriage banns, and marriage bonds. You will need to know the spouse’s name, marriage location and approximate marriage date to find these records.
2. Cemetery records
The cemetery may be the only place where you will find proof of the existence of a female ancestor. Tombstones may list women under their maiden names, with “wife of so and so” as the record of their married name, or may include the wife’s maiden name as a middle name or initial. For those with no mention of the female’s maiden name, check nearby plots for possible family members.
3. Census records
Check every census year available for your female ancestor, up until the year that she died. Young couples may be found living with the wife’s parents; an elderly parent may have been added to the household; or brothers, sisters, or other family members may be found living with the your ancestors’ family. Clues may also be found in the names of families living nearby.
If your female ancestor died recently enough to leave a death certificate, this is potentially one of the few places where her maiden name may appear. Since death certificates can often include inaccurate information, check the certificate for the name of the informant. The closeness of the relationship between informant and the deceased can help you assess the likely accuracy of the provided information.