Maiden Name Search

Started by Private User on Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Showing all 13 posts
Private User
2/1/2011 at 2:06 PM

Is there any way to do a search for a person if you only know their first name and maiden name?

2/1/2011 at 3:19 PM

If you are Pro you can do an advanced search where you can specify to search the first name field and the maiden name field.

However not everyone uses the maiden name field the right way as there is disagreement about the purpose of the maiden name field.

Private User
2/1/2011 at 8:25 PM


I'm curious, what could possibly be a second purpose to the maiden name field other than childhood surname? Is it referring to cultures that don't inherit the father's last name as family surname?

that would be one of many examples yes. Also some so-called professional genealogists insist on putting the "childhood surname" in the last name field, completely ignoring the maiden name.

<private> Preller
2/2/2011 at 8:05 AM

Hi Shmuel.. .Who you calling a "so-called professional genealogists" ... ';-)

I did qualify that with a "SOME". :-D You're One of the Gang.

All too many "professionals", in pretty much ANY profession can get too stuffy and pompous. Especially the type (like Doctors) who invent their own "in-group language" to separate them from the laymen. What's nice about fields like genealogy is that there is no real "certification", so being a "so-called professional" is entirely subjective, or rather often defined by being one of the club. ;-)

<private> Preller
2/2/2011 at 12:55 PM

lol..mmm For being one of the gang I'm gonna let it past then....

..but I'm adding an additional piece in my writeup on why I think we should stick to the wisdom of geneaology in how we do things in Geni and how much time it would save us if we all did that... ;-)

and your right... an open mind is important here..


You don't need to worry about names for search to work.. Just put full name in partner name field. Works pretty well.

In our local geneaology we do not use married names at all and in a Geni area where people have abandoned using since we started advocated doing so, things are just so much easier.

Private User
2/2/2011 at 1:19 PM

@Stephen -

unless geni has changed its search recently - for us non-pros - will pull up a given person if you put the names in the search box, regardless if the last one you give is the one given on profile as "Last name" or the one given on profile as "Maiden Name" (which makes good sense to me!). [not sure - that may be what Mauritz is saying above - just not clear on term "partner name field" ].

As to other uses of Maiden name -- apparently some use maiden name for name after immigrated to US, before married and different from original birth name.

2/2/2011 at 2:30 PM

That is indeed correct, which is why my esteemed colleagues would ask Americans who use, surprisingly enough, American records & sources to find their ancestors, what would be easiest for them in an application.

After all I do this, as a paying customer, for the utility of the application. Not very useful to me if I can't use it to document what I know and search easily for what I want to find out.

2/2/2011 at 2:37 PM

There is a perfectly adequate piece of desktop freeware I use for my computer. I think it might be useful for people to understand why I want to see, in my tree, and also in search, both the maiden name and married surname. It might also be helpful to remember there is a place called Ellis Island.

But I'm just a paying customer seeking value for my USD.

Private User
2/4/2011 at 7:47 PM

@Erica -

I cannot for the life of me figure out what you are trying to communicate in the above two postings.

"That is indeed correct" -- refers to which statement? All of mine? One of mine? (and if so, which one?) All of everyone's?
And then it is followed by "which is why my esteemed colleagues would ask ..." -- what is this referring to? Are you saying they should ask? Or are you referring to some place where they are asking - and if so, where?

Are you saying if someone knows an ancestor's last name at birth and last name after immigrated and last name after married, they should have a place to put all down, or are you saying they should not or ??

"It might also be helpful to remember there is a place called Ellis Island." -- yes, I know there is such a place, but again, not what you are trying to convey. Name on this document often different from name on NY Arrival - and as far as I can tell, either one may be used on Petition for Naturalization - or perhaps yet another.

"There is a perfectly adequate piece of desktop freeware I use for my computer." - so will you tell us what it is, or is this just a tease??

2/4/2011 at 8:19 PM


Sorry for lack of detail, sprained wrist so typing one handed (which turns about to be quite slowly). Was hoping others could pick up the key points & expand the argument / scenarios for me.

- Everyone on geni are my esteemed colleagues. However I was more thinking of those from other countries.

- There has not been, in my opinion, enough explanation from Americans on what the available US records are, and how we build our family tress on geni.

- I built mine backwards from myself. So the documentation on death is the first event I can find (usually). Then the US Census Reports (with all their limitations). Then marriage records (many caveats). Then Naturalization records. Birth records? Oh, that's not always a fun one, and you may need to give up on destroyed primary sources, never written books, or never micro filmed records. So name at birth is often the last piece of the puzzle for me, not the first. Yet - my grandmother clearly existed and is documented.

Hope that helps.

2/4/2011 at 8:38 PM

Lois again,

Re: "There is a perfectly adequate piece of desktop freeware I use for my computer." - so will you tell us what it is, or is this just a tease??

The shareware I use is Personal Ancestry Writer ll For Macintosh OS. I export GED files from Geni to my computer.

My point is -- why do I use Geni? To learn more about my ancestors, faster, quicker, in richer detail, in historical context, and in global context.

In return, share what I learn with others.

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