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So I finally got my hands on a copy of the
divorce case for my my third-great-grandparents, Thomas and Mary Frost (more later about how I got it). As I hoped, it has
her maiden name!
There’s just one problem—I can’t read it, exactly:
Alanis Morrisette would call this situation ironic.
I searched Ancestry.com for Mary Wol*am (the wildcard
* can stand in for more than one letter). Some of the possibilities are Wollam, Wolam,
Wolham, Woldham, Woltam and Wolfram.
I even found an 1850 census record for a Wollam family living in Ohio with a Mary
of the right age, born about 1840. But this family has no Matilda, one of Mary’s sisters,
who gives her name but not her age in a deposition for the divorce case. The same
family (I think) in later censuses doesn’t have a Matilda, either, and is no longer
in Ohio. (My third-great-grandparents married in Cincinnati in 1865.)
I can’t find a family in the census that fits Wolham, my first thought when I read
the name. And no luck yet in my search for a Wol-something-am (or a Frost) marriage
I’ve looked through the rest of the 103-page file for another maiden-name mention
and can’t find one, though the writing is really hard to make out in places. I need
to spend some quality time with the document.
Are you searching for a female ancestor’s maiden name? Check out our new Family Tree
University course Finding
Female Ancestors (I’m planning to!), which starts this week—it’s open for registration
through Friday. You’ll get help developing a research strategy for female ancestors,
teasing out maiden names and more.