The Name is the Same, but is it?

When locating records and putting them in your files, make certain that just because the “name’s the same,” that you actually have the same person. Make certain age, location, implied social status and other information “match.” Sometimes records that you think are on the same person, are actually referring to two separate people with the same or similar names.

Last Name Could Be An Unmarried Mother’s Name

Our list of possible “maiden names” for a female ancestor neglected to include an unmarried mother’s maiden name as a possible source for the maiden name.

It’s very possible.

And it’s also possible that a man’s last name came from his unmarried mother’s maiden name as well.

Thanks to MR for reminding me of this.

Is that “Maiden” Name Really the Father’s Last Name?

A document may indicate a certain name is your female ancestor’s maiden name, but remember that depending upon the family situation and who is providing the information, that name could be:

  • a step-father’s last name
  • an adopted father’s last name
  • a foster father’s last name
  • a previous husband’s last name
  • or her biological father’s last name


Naturalization in the Newspaper?

Is it possible that your relative’s naturalization was published in the local newspaper? Not all newspapers published notices of this type–newspapers where my people lived unfortunately did not publish these notices.

But you never know. In locations where local records hanaturalization-in-newspaperve been destroyed, newspaper notices of legal activities can often be helpful.

Genealogy Search Tip of the Day is sponsored by GenealogyBank

Census Takers Sometimes Give More

It is always advised to search every record–even when you don’t think it will tell you anything you “don’t already know.” US census records are not supposed to be more specific than state or country of birth. In some instances they’ve put towns of birth or areas of Europe that are more specific than the country.

It never hurts to look–even when you know it all.

Write About Yourself

In all those genealogy files you have on deceased relatives, don’t neglect to include some biographical information on yourself. It’s not necessary to write a complete “tell-all,” but a discussion of some of your life experiences, what had an impact on you, mistakes you made that you feel comfortable telling, etc. are all good things to consider writing about.

Newspaper Notice of a Ship Arrival?


Is your ancestor’s ship mentioned in the newspaper on the day it arrived? The Weser landed in New York in November of 1873. It’s arrival is mentioned in a Philadelphia newspaper on 3 November. My ancestor Focke Goldenstein was on the boat.

Names of passengers rarely are mentioned, but you may be fortunate enough to get a weather report.

Genealogy Search Tip of the Day is sponsored by GenealogyBank

Variants for that New Name

Whenever you discover a “new” last name, make a list of all reasonable variants for that name. The little amount of time spent will be worth it. Sometimes when we are “hot on a research trail” with a name recently discovered, we don’t think of all the possible variations there are.