Your Guide to Finding Female Ancestors

Everyone has an equal number of male and female ancestors... but it is much easier to find records that name the men. Even when you find a record that names the woman, it often gives only her married name. So it is harder to find the parents of your women ancestors than those of the men, just as it is more difficult to delve into the details of her life.

As we search for our women ancestors, we will be interested not just in their names and dates, but of the society in which they lived. How did the laws affect them? How common was it for them to work outside the home? What was home life like during the time they lived? Can we find letters or diaries kept by them or their relatives or neighbors? Is there mention of them in the local newspapers?


Books, articles, CD's, Tapes etc.
On the Web.


Carmack. A Genealogist's Guide to Discovering Your Female Ancestors (find in a library)

Notable Women Ancestors (a newsletter)

Schaeffer. The Hidden Half of the Family: A Sourcebook for Women's Genealogy (find in a library)

Ward. The Female Line: Researching Your Female Ancestors (U.K.) (not in print)


Murray. 15 Ways to Find a Maiden Name in Family Chronicle March/April 2008 p. 17


Tapes of lectures given at genealogy conferences with the word "female" in the title.

Tapes of lectures given at genealogy conferences with the word "women" in the title. Warning: some of these are non-genealogy tapes, given at other conferences also taped by this company.


* Carmack. Dear Diary: Discovering Your Female Ancestors.
* step by step: Maiden Names
* Krasner-Khait. Seeking My Female Ancestors
* McClure: Ladies Clubs and Lodges from the 1880's
* Meitzler. Finding Your Female Ancestors with Military Records
* Neil. Female Ancestors After the Marriage
*Powell. Invisible Women Ancestors: Tips for finding the women in your family tree (a multi-part guide on It may be loaded with advertising clutter).
* Prezecha. Finding Female Ancestors
* Price. Female Ancestors: Finding a Wife's Maiden Name
* Ptak. Finding the Elusive Women
* Researching Female Ancestors (at the Library of Michigan)
* Smith. Finding Female Ancestors is a Family Affair
* Women's History in America presented by the Women's International Center.

Libraries, Collections and Research Guides:

*American Women's History in America: A Research Guide (this is an excellent site -- take a few moments to explore all it offers.)
* The Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America collects manuscripts, books, and other materials essential for understanding women's lives and activities in the United States.
* National Women's History Project

More Links:
* A whole site devoted to the topic! Female Ancestors .com
* Genealinks. Female Ancestors
* Cyndi's List: Female Ancetors


Return to Bobbie's Genealogy Classroom
This page last updated March 14, 2008