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Mother's Maiden Name

Finding mother's maiden names can sometimes be very difficult but it can also be easier than you think if you know where to look. Even though most people think their mother's maiden name is secret and safe the truth is that it is not safe at all. Creditors (and others) are just now beginning to change their minds about just how secret a persons mother's maiden name really is. We actually suggest not using your mother's maiden name if your credit card company or other organization has other choices. This is especially true if you are divorced because your ex-spouse would know more than enough to cause you plenty of problems. Below are some ways that a mother's maiden name can be discovered.

Birth records - Since birth records typically contain the maiden name of the maternal parent, the information is not only not private, it's public record and easily accessible. Some states and local government, however, have started enacting new laws to help fight identity theft that limit who can access birth records. Some even require that you know the mother's maiden name already.

Marriage records - Another great place to search for someone's maiden name is on marriage records. These can include not only the marriage license, but also the marriage certificate,
marriage announcements, marriage banns, and marriage bonds. If you know the spouse's name, marriage location and approximate marriage date then marriage records is the best place to start looking for maiden names.

Cemetery - Another good place to locate mother's maiden names are in the cemetery. 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.

Churches - Churches are a good source for birth or christening records which usually include the names of both parents, including the maiden name of the mother. Church marriage records will usually include the spouse's maiden name, and are an alternate source for marriage information for periods where civil registration was not in effect.

Some other places to search for maiden names would be newspapers, military records, probate records and wills, death records, census records and land records.
If all else has failed then the maiden name of a mother can sometimes be found buried somewhere among the names of her children. Unusual middle names, among boys or girls, might be the maiden name of a mother or grandmother. Or the eldest daughter might be named for her maternal grandmother. Familiarize yourself with naming patterns for that culture to see if you can discover the mother's maiden name buried somewhere else as someone's middle name or possibly even first name.