is there any standard for how we name a woman who marries more than once?

+4 votes
145 views
is there any standard for how we name a woman who marries more than once?  in particular, i hope a standard can accommodate the woman not taking her husband's surname in one or more instances.  to further complicate the question, what about children born with one husband but raised with the next.
in WikiTree Help by Phil Howard G2G5 (5.6k points)
LNAB (last name at birth) is used to create the profile. LNAD (aka last name at death) goes in the Current Last Name field.  All other married names, or other names used, go under Other Last Names.
Or current last name is name they are now using if they are still alive. Although we won’t necessarily see it, it is best to use the standard way, so it becomes second nature.
I think its a mistake to apply one's familiar standard to all cases in all cultures, regardless of the norms and decisions made at the time. I encourage Phil to take Melanie's advice, and use the approach that is accurate in each case.

Its quite common in some cultures for a woman to retain her own name, and sometimes it was and is a conscious choice. If a woman didn't take her husband's name, then I wouldn't give it to her WT profile. She may also have chosen not to marry the father of her child, and wouldn't have his name then either.

Similarly, children are given a name at the time of their birth, and its not always associated with their father.  In my nephew's case, he was given his mother's last name when he was born, so that would be his LNAB.  If he is later adopted or legally changes his name for any other reason, it would also be as Melanie described.

3 Answers

+3 votes
The  LNAB is the birth or baptismal name.

The current name is the last married name; other married names are listed in the other name box,but perhaps it's best to explain it all in the her biography.
by David Hughey G2G Astronaut (1.6m points)
The Current Last Name isn't always the last married name.  Sometimes a woman will change her name after divorce, for professional reasons, or for personal reasons after the death of a spouse.

The Current Last Name is usually the one under which the person's death was registered, and / or under which they were buried.

I had a cousin who, after her divorce, changed her last name to the LNAB of her mother - which had never been one of the names she had been known by in her life until that time.

It is wrong to assume that the last name of the last husband is also the CLN.  Mine is not.
Melanie, I have a friend that did the same thing.

Cousin Grace's birth was registered under the name her parents were using at the time (her father's stepfather's last name), she grew up, and married, using her father's LNAB (which should have been HER LNAB but wasn't), she then divorced, and her last years, death, and burial were under the name she chose to use (her mother's LNAB).

So -  4 last names, two of which - including the "last married name" - are in the Other Last Names field.

(I'm not that bad!  (But I might have been. cheeky))

I have friends  who kept their father's last name after they were married. Still, that's not the standard way of doing things.
It is in some cultures.

Yes, Melanie. In France a woman, as a man, is named by her name at birth (called in French patronyme or nom de famille, it is sometimes the mother's name). It is the name used in all civil records since the Revolution, as it was before in the church records. Women are buried under their maiden name, followed or not by "épouse ..." to mention their husband.

[edited] to answer the original question: no, there is no "standard", just cultural variations. And the WikiTree data model is just providing a (slightly biased) view of those variations, with which everyone of us accomodates.

For profiles I manage, who are all from France, I always fill the Current Name by exactly the same value as the LNAB.

Otherwise said, if you ask me, if this field "Current Name" was deleted, it would simplify my life. Many genealogy software, including Geneanet, the most popular in France, has no such a field, and nobody complains about it.

Just saying angel

+5 votes

Only adjust the Current Last Name or the Other Last Name fields if you have proof that those names were used. Don't assume that because a person was married means that their name or their children's names were changed. There are some cultures where the Last name doesn't change after a couple gets together. 

To give an example I had a women who changed her last name to reflect her husband but changed it back to her LNAB after her husband died. I put the husbands last name in the Other Last Name field and put her LNAB in the Current Last Name field. 

I also had a Family where the husband died after one census, by the next census the Wife had remarried and she and her children by the first husband were using the second husband's name but by the next census after that the first husband's children were back using the first husband's name except for one who used a hyphenated name reflecting both father and step father. The last sourced name was put in the Current Last Name field and any other names were in the Other Last Name field.

by Darren Kellett G2G6 Pilot (165k points)
+4 votes
I think everything is possible.

As my brother married he and his wife both have kept their birth name.

Concerning the current law in Germany both spouses could decide for one name (the birth name of the bride or the birth name of the groom) or a double name (each of the two names can stand in front).

In the past it was also allowed to have a triple name. I remember a woman, who was called Blech-Schmidt-Broemme. But it is actual forbidden to create new triple names. That happened in the past if one spouse ha a double name and the other a single name.
by Dieter Lewerenz G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
what i am wanting to get a handle on is what we should use here, and how to go about it.  i presume that if we do not know that the couple did different and we know what their culture did then, we use what the culture did.  of course, that may not give a firm answer.

i've seen some strange names on a few profiles here and wondering if i should ask about them.

my mother's half-sister was raised using her mother's previous husband's surname.  her bio father is my mother's father.  she never used that last name but tells me she wishes she did.  she is married, now.  finding all her family is a challenge with how many husbands and affairs she went through.

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