Unusual Sources for Finding Female Ancestors

Name changes and a society that emphasizes men in the records can make finding female ancestors tough. Note that I said "tough," not "impossible." Let's consider some valuable sources that we might be overlooking.

Unusual Sources for Finding Female Ancestors


Jane E. Wilcox of Forget Me Not Ancestry specializes in female research and researching in New York state. (That's a combination!) Both of those topics means that she has learned to get the most out of all available records. Here is her advice and some sources for finding female ancestors. 

(Click the "play" arrow to watch this short interview.)

Key Takeaways for Unusual Sources for Finding Female Ancestors:

  • Look at the ephemera (letters, diaries, journals, etc.) that you might already have
  • Look for records dealing with everyday life (doctors, midwives, store ledgers)
  • Research the men in their lives

You might also want to check out my post on "3 Practical Strategies for Finding Female Ancestors." 

The key is to keep looking and to learn about all of the records that are available in any given location where your ancestor lived. That includes going beyond just the "regular" records like vital records and church records. What else exists? Explore and dig. (Jane describes herself as a digger. It's a strategy that pays off!)

Have you used an unusual resource for your female research? Let me know in the comments.

4 thoughts on “Unusual Sources for Finding Female Ancestors

    • Historical societies and archives. Use a large catalog such as WorldCat or DPLA. Even the FamilySearch catalog can be useful.

  1. Pingback: Friday Finds 9 March 2018 – Copper Leaf Genealogy

  2. The minutes from the Keatchie Presbyterian Meeting held in 1863, extolled my 4th greatgrandmother for her support of the Pastor, providing food and funds to start the church and noted her death inthe record. So I know she suffered from severe arthritis for 6 weeks until she passed.

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