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24 January 2014

Was It Really Great-Grandma's Maiden Name?

That last name you've located for your grandmother, was it really her maiden name? Is it possibly the last name of her step-father or of someone who might have adopted her, even unofficially? Always be open to the possibility that what you think is someone's last name might not be, especially if you have few sources or second-hand or ever third-hand information.

6 comments:

  1. That was my experience exactly! My Matilda Groppe was adopted by John Groppe, but her mother's maiden name was Schwertfeger. I could find a marriage record for a Matilda Ebbighausen and Joseph McNamara that matched my family in all particulars, except for that puzzling surname of Ebbig, dates and place were all good. I finally found them at CastleGarden traveling with her father, Carl Schwertfeger, Augusta and Matilda Ebbighausen. So Augusta was widowed, which I knew, I just didn't know that she reverted to her maiden name at some point. When I first got into genealogy, I was amazed at the number of widows, but after awhile I saw that it was fairly common for there to be several marriages due to the death of one spouse.

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  2. Or last name of a former husband you were't aware!

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  3. Have run into the problem before

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  4. Or you didn't save your source correctly and now you are unsure if it was just beginners eagerness that made you think you had the answer or it is true. And assuming a maidan name carried through the generations as a Christian name is not proof!

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  5. I found a reoccurring last name was used in Sweden for clergymen also. I traced a "Bolin" line from 1768 back to 1643 which connected to other clergy in the line back to Circa 1540. This was found in a history of Forsheda, Jonkoping, Sweden.

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  6. Yes - I went for years thinking my 2g-grandmother's maiden name was Powell, but could never find her family. A bit of "genealogy serendipity" (a/k/a blind luck) provided a piece of evidence - Powell was the name of her first husband, and her maiden name was Dunn! Another brick wall demolished.

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