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* Finding a maiden name with a marriage certificate

A marriage certificate is the best place to find a woman's maiden name. Marriage certificates are available from either the county or the state where the marriage took place, depending on the year of the marriage. If the marriage certificate is not available, many counties and states have similar vital records, such as marriage banns, marriage intentions, marriage bonds, marriage applications, marriage licenses, consent papers for marriage, marriage contracts, marriage returns, and marriage registers. In addition, you may find the maiden name on other vital records, such as a death certificate or a divorce certificate. To get the address where you must write to obtain any of these vital records, see the topic Resources by state.

When looking for marriage records, many people use computerized marriage records indexes to help them find the record that they need. Some libraries have computerized marriage records indexes and you can also purchase Family Archives containing marriage records from Genealogy.com, Inc.

The FamilyFinder Index, a feature of Family Tree Maker software and also available for searching at FamilyTreeMaker.com, is an index of over 220 million names from census records, marriage records, social security death records, actual family trees, and more. This feature can help you by telling you if your ancestor's name is actually listed on one of the marriage CDs Genealogy.com sells. Using the FamilyFinder Index couldn't be easier -- all you need to do is enter the names of your ancestors right into your own computer. If the FamilyFinder Index tells you that your ancestors are listed, then it's simple to locate your ancestor's record. For more information about FamilyFinder, or for information about purchasing CD-ROM indexes, see the topic All about FamilyFinder.

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