Finding Your Ancestor's Parents

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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 1.3 million sources to help you more easily locate the available records.

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