I've been researching my own family tree for 30+ years, and now my 20yo niece wants to know about her father's side. I started a tree for her to get her interested in genealogy, and we're OK with her father's mother 's side, but we only know the names of her father & his father. That grandfather had some kind of serious falling-out with his own father, changed his name & never saw or spoke to him again. My BIL is not sure of his own ethnic background.
Seeing all the names & faces on my tree prompted my niece to start crying on my shoulder because she didn't know her own grandfather, his father, or her real surname. I assume that she would have to be the one to legally access any name change records. I'm trying to get her to really talk about this with her own dad & see what he can recall from his memory bank, but there has been a lot of family dysfunction & suicide, so he doesn't like to remember.
So if she wants to figure out who her grandfather & his family were, how does she start & what documents does she need? Thanks for any suggestions.