Finding Your Ancestor's Parents

Possible documents that might list the names of the parents of your ancestor

It is a common question in genealogy research to ask how to find the names of someone's parents.

Here are a few documents that might list the parents:

  • Birth record
  • Marriage record
  • Death record
  • Church record for baptism/christening
  • Church marriage record
  • Obituary
  • Civil War pension file
  • Census record of your ancestor listed as a child with parents
  • Census record of your ancestor in later years with an elderly parent living with them
  • Family bible
  • Written histories of your ancestor's family
  • Written histories of the town/county where your ancestor lived
  • All of the above records for your ancestor's siblings
  • Tracking your ancestor and their siblings through the census records and looking at the neighbors living nearby may give clues about who their family could be.
  • If you find a possible father for your ancestor, finding the probate/will record for him may give the names of his wife and children.

If your ancestor lived after 1900, these documents may also help:

  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate
  • Death certificate
  • Social Security application (SS-5)
  • World War I or World War II draft registration card
  • Naturalization papers

Need help finding more records? Try our genealogical records directory which has more than 850,000 sources to help you more easily locate the available records.

Have an ancestor you are having difficulty finding? Learn from examples of breaking down break walls in our brick wall ancestor series or request that your ancestor be included.

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