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Family Finder
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* Names of parents

An individual's parents' names can usually be found on any of the documents listed below. If you have the minimum information required to find one of these documents, select the name of that document. The items in the list are ordered from most to least important. If you do not have the minimum information required, read the paragraph below this list.

Census records

Beginning in 1850, the census recorded each individual's name. To find an individual's parents' names in census records, you must at least know the individual's name, the state, and the county in which the individual lived when the census was taken. If you are using census records for 1870 or earlier, you can probably use an index that only requires the state and surname.

Vital records

To find an individual's parents' names on a vital record, such as a birth, marriage, divorce, or death certificate, you must at least know the individual's full name or maiden name, depending on the event, the approximate year of the event, and the state or county of the event, depending on when the event took place.

Newspapers

To find an individual's parents' names in a wedding or engagement announcement, you must at least know the approximate marriage date, the individual's (bride's or groom's) full name at the time of the event, and the state and city or town where the marriage took place (or where the announcement was likely to have been published).

Church records

To find an individual's parents' names in church baptism or christening records, you must at least know the individual's name, and either the name of the church where the ceremony was performed or the name of the clergyman that appears on the certificate.

Social Security Death Records

To find an individual's parents' names on Social Security Death records, you must first find the individual in the Social Security Death Index. All you need to know is the individual's name. From the Social Security Death Index, you can get the individual's Social Security Number and then send away for the original Social Security application, which should contain the individual's parents' names.

Adoption records

To find the parents of an adopted individual, you must at least know the individual's birthplace and birth surname.

For a description of any of the records listed above, see the topic Genealogy dictionary.

To get help finding the minimum information required to locate any of the records listed above, select one of the following items:

Finding the minimum information for census records

Finding the minimum information for vital records

Finding the minimum information for newspapers

Finding the minimum information for church records

Finding the minimum information for the Social Security Death Index

Finding the minimum information for adoption records

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