Finding the minimum information for census records
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. If you do not have the minimum information to locate a census record, you can either:
Get help finding some of the minimum information by selecting one of the following items,
click the Back on your browser to return to the list of other places where you can find an individual's parents' names, or
read the paragraphs below for a few additional tips.
Finding census records
You may also want to check the information contained in state and local censuses. Not all states and localities took their own censuses and the contents vary from state to state. However, sometimes the information is quite valuable. Broderbund Software has a selection of state census records on CD-ROM, and you can also contact libraries, state archives, and genealogy societies in the area where your ancestors lived. They should be able to tell you if any exist and where you might find them. The Family History Library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is another possible source.
Finding parents' names
Try looking at obituaries for the children, as well as gravestones and cemetery records. They are likely places to find information about an individual's parents. For help locating cemeteries and cemetery records, see the topic Locating cemeteries and cemetery records.
Make sure to check photo albums, scrapbooks, diaries, and family Bibles at home. See the topic Finding information at home for more information. Also check for local histories. See the topic Finding previous research.
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