“Maiden” names can be tricky in some families. That name a relative used on their first marriage application or marriage record may have been:
- the last name they were given when they were born;
- the last name of their step-father;
- the last name of the couple who adopted/fostered them;
- the last name of their own mother if the parents never married.
Those issues are compounded by spelling, interpretation, and transcription errors on the original document. And perhaps that first marriage wasn’t really the first marriage after all.
If there is no marriage record and one is relying on information children gave on death certificates and other records, a whole additional level of complication is thrown into the mix.