What if I know the married name of a wife but not her birth name?

+2 votes
Is it permissible to add a wife w/o the birth name? I've located a record for a grave stone for husband and wife but cannot find any information for the wife's maiden name. The record does not exist on WikiTree so I'd like to add it with the married name as birth name until I (or someone else) finds something that confirms her birth name.
in WikiTree Help by John Beschler G2G1 (1.0k points)
I agree with Marion's advice, below.  In addition, to allow us to help you better in finding the wife's last name, can you tell us the name of the husband, and where they were? Any guesses as to when they married?

Thanks to both of you for the answer.

The husband's profile is: https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Simpson-18025 and the records I found showing him and his spouse were both from findagrave.com:

1. His record: [https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/99380628]

2. Her record: [https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/198073019]

Both have only each one's birth, death and burial.

He is my maternal grandmother's sibling - the only one I have discovered so far.



Have you looked for a marriage record?  Presuming he was at least 18 years old (likely older), it'd be about the late 1940s, to the 1950s.

Have you looked for their SSI records?
I spent a good bit of time searching for any records at familysearch.org but can't find anything that relates to the both of them. I think I tried every combination I could think of. I even tried searching on just her first name with her birth and death years and gave that up when I realized there were over 7 million records! :)


over 7 million records! :)


surprise surprise surprise surprise surprise

Yeah .. I can understand that. 

Try adding the tag united_states to your question (be sure to use the underscore), so those better versed in American research than I will see it.

2 Answers

+4 votes
Best answer
That is not recommended. You can add a ==Research Notes == section immediately above the sources of the husband’s profile. Then put in everything you know about the wife until you find the actual LNAB.

There is an alternative, but I would advise against it. Make a profile with the spouse LNAB as Unknown. Which would mean changing LNAB once you find the correct one.
by Marion Poole G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
selected by John Beschler
+6 votes
Her LNAB might be Thorne.  I found her in an obituary index on Ancestry:  https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=7545&h=146983212&tid=&pid=&queryId=f2c214f8fbc42a4377579dc9f36db335&usePUB=true&_phsrc=FlM1170&_phstart=successSource

Helen E Simpson, died 3 Aug 2012, Elmira Heights, New York.  Spouse Ellsworth Simpson.  Sibling George Thorne.
by Herbert Tardy G2G6 Pilot (631k points)
I was also going to suggest looking for birth records of any children... those often list the maiden name of the mother

There is one tree on Ancestry which says that Ellsworth Simpson married Helen Elizabeth Thorne on 7 July 1945 in Elmira, Chemung, New York. The source attached is "New York State, Marriage Index, 1881-1967", but I don't have access to American records so I can't check the accuracy of the source.

Thanks, Paul!  I looked up that record.  It doesn't list the other party's name, but it has a certificate number (22864 or 22884) that should match the corresponding bride's entry.

Edit to add:  Simpson's entry is indexed as 22864, with first four letters of spouse's name (the column heading has no label) LEWI.  The corresponding entry is indexed as 22884, Theresa Lewis, spouse SIMP.

Thanks for this. That clicks all the checks that I have. The Simpson family did live in the Elmira, Elmira Heights, Horseheads area so that fits and the date of death matches as well; and, their grave is in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Elmira.

I'll enter her as such.

Many thanks,

Now you're just confusing me. Are you saying that Ellsworth has a spouse Theresa Lewis?



You're very welcome, John.

Yes, I'm saying the marriage record for Ellsworth Simpson, dated 7 Jul 1945, matches to a bride named Theresa Lewis. He must have married Helen at a later date, but I didn't find a record of it.  Or there might be more than one Ellsworth Simpson.

Here is a link to her obituary:  https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/star-gazette/obituary.aspx?n=helen-e-simpson&pid=158943286&fhid=7291

Please be careful discussing it, as some of the people named might still be alive.  The names suggest she might have had a previous marriage to a man named Wood.

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