5 Ways to Find Your Ancestor’s Parents

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Are youtrying to move back one more generation on your family tree to identify yourancestor’s parents?  Here are a few placesthat you may find their names.


Trace your ancestor as far back on the census as youcan.  It is best to look at every census,moving back 10 years at a time, just in case your ancestor did not live in thesame place.  If you cannot find yourancestor, widen your search to include other areas. The census closest to theirdate of birth may show your ancestor living with their parents andsiblings. 

Death certificate

Sometimesthe informant on the death certificate was able to identify the parents of thedeceased person along with his or her full name and birth place.  Also check the death certificates of each ofyour ancestor’s children to see if it mentions the parent’s names.


If yourancestor died before deaths were recorded, you may find an obituary that listsparent’s names and other family members. Check the local library where your ancestor lived for an obituaryindex.  Our 350+ researchers workingaround the world can help you with this. Most of the time historical newspapers are on microfilm, and one of ourresearchers can send a copy of the obituary.

Funeral home records

Virginia Funeral Home Record
Created by Jeff Blaylock with help from Molly ForbesThe funeralhome record is another place you might discoverthe names of your ancestors’ parents and their birth places along with otheruseful information.  One of ourresearchers can visit the funeral home in person or you might be able tocall and ask them for assistance.  If thefuneral home no longer exists, check with other funeral homes or historicalsocieties in the area to find out who would have the records. 

Delayed birth record

In somestates, people who were born before births were recorded applied for delayedbirth certificates.  You can determinethe names of your ancestor’s parents and in some cases, their age at death fromthese delayed birth certificates.  Check orhave us check the vital records office in the state where your ancestor wasborn to find out if this record exists for that state.

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by Robin Foster © 2014, Genealogists.com. All rights reserved

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Written by


January 29, 2014
Wesley is the founder of hello@traceyourpast.com.

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