|This is an earlier photo of "Gram Elaine" with her first daughter, Joan Vivian Mayne.|
Judging by Joan's age in this photo it was probably taken about 1932 in San Francisco.
When using the search engine at Ancestry.com, we find that women that have been married more than once are a particular challenge. My maternal grandmother, Elaine Blanche Coffman Mayne Kelly DeGuire Thomas is a case in point. "Gram Elaine" was married four times over the course of her 99 years on the planet. For 54 years [1937 to 1991] she was known as Elaine Kelly. For eighteen years, she was known as Elaine Coffman, her maiden name [1910-1928]. For eleven years she was known as Elaine Thomas [1999-2010]. For nine years she was known as Elaine Mayne [1928-1937]. For three years she was known as Elaine DeGuire 1994-1997].
Trying to search all of these names at once overwhelms the search engine at Ancestry.com. As can be seen from the following search, many extraneous records are included in the results when searching for all her surnames at once:
|Click on the "Edit Search" link to limit the search.|
I recommend that Ancestry.com users edit the search to include only one surname at a time. For example, let's try changing the surname to Elaine Kelly and delete the rest of the names. Since she was known as Elaine Kelly for the majority of her life, this will yield better search results. It is also helpful to choose only the databases which are most likely to include women under their married names such as the U.S. City Directories database. The following example shows several records for Elaine Kelly in the Sacramento City Directory:
|Search results for "Elaine Kelly" in the City Directory database|
The U.S. Public Records Database is an excellent source for searching your late 20th century females. Here is a record for Gram Elaine when she was known as Elaine Thomas in the Public Records Database as shown below:
|20th century females can be found in the U.S. Public Records Index|
Jumping back two generations to Gram Elaine's paternal grandmother, Harriett Anne Ketcham Coffman 1853-1938, we can see another example of choosing the right database to search. After performing a search for Harriett we see that one of the suggested databases is California Voter Registrations. Given that Harriett resided in California from 1880 to 1938, we can find her in the California Voter records under her married name as shown below:
I have many more tips on how to find female ancestors in my presentation entitled: How to Become an Ancestry.com Power User. Please contact me if you need assistance using Ancestry.com or if you would like me to review and edit your family tree on Ancestry.com.
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