Women's maiden names are often available in marriage, church and census records as well as newspapers and online resources. Probate records and wills also list maiden names for female children.
A marriage certificate is the most reliable place to obtain a woman's maiden name. This certificate is usually available in the state or county office where the marriage took place. If the certificate is not available, marriage returns and registers can provide such information. Individuals seeking maiden names from marriage records must know the groom's full name, the first name of the bride, and the date and location of the marriage. Church baptism and christening records also bear the maiden name of the child's mother. By providing the child's name and the name of the clergy appearing on the baptism or christening certificate, an individual can typically locate the maiden name of the mother.
Wedding and obituary announcements often contain a person's maiden name and picture. Old newspaper directories and the Online Computer Library Center available in most university and community libraries may provide these records as well. Veteran benefits records indicate the maiden names of women whose spouses served in the military. To obtain this information, individuals must provide the veteran's name and the branch or state of service. Distinct naming patterns within a family tree also help to identify a woman's maiden name.