How to find your female ancestors on Ancestry

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02 February 2021
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Mill workers at Barrmill, Ayrshire
Uncover the records that will help you trace the remarkable stories of the women in your family tree with our top tips on finding female ancestors on Ancestry.

The past is filled with phenomenal women, both those whose names hit the headlines – such as the suffragettes – and those whose lives have left fewer clues on the paper trail, yet there is always more to discover.

By exploring the collections on Ancestry you will be able to piece together details about the women on your family tree, studying the records to dig deep and tell their stories.

Finding a maiden name on Ancestry

The coverage of women in family history records can provide access to one invaluable clue that is unique to researching women – maiden names.

It is possible that the maiden name can provide just the detail you need in order to verify that a record does belong to your ancestor. For instance, when searching on birth records.

Where the father’s details are absent from a birth or baptism record, then it is only the mother’s line that can be more readily traced through the traditional records.

Additionally, searching for a woman on the 1939 National Register you may spot details of her maiden name at the time the record was created (29 September 1939), and any subsequent married name(s).

Certain collections of records are particularly fruitful hunting ground for information about female ancestors – such as the collection of Nursing Registers on Ancestry. The step-by-step guide (right) shows the details you may uncover about the nurses in your family.

How to search the Nursing Registers

  1. Go to Ancestry and search by name (using either maiden or married surname)

  2. Note that there may be several entries, from different register years

  3. The scanned copies of the original pages give considerable detail, including date of registration and qualifications

QUICK LINK: 7 places to explore women's history in the UK