Widow or not, husbands not really dead? [closed]

+6 votes
103 views
I am curious about some profiles I am working on before I add them all to the tree.

My problem is that the one lady is listed as married to the first husband and they had a couple kids. A couple years later it is just her and the kids, she is listed as a widow. A few years later she marries for a second time. They have a few kids and she is again, listed alone with the kids as a widow. Where the problem comes in is both of these men are found later getting married to someone else. Does that make sense to anyone?
closed with the note: Answered
in Genealogy Help by Lisa Murphy G2G6 Pilot (138k points)
closed by Lisa Murphy

3 Answers

+12 votes
 
Best answer
In some cases it may have been more socially acceptable to say Widowed instead of Divorced. It might have even been used for women who were abandoned or otherwise separated. Or, the person providing the information to the census taker really thought the woman was a widow. Could be any number of reasons.
by Sandra DeTora G2G6 Pilot (118k points)
selected by Lisa Murphy
I'll second that.  The 1930 census showed my 2nd GGM as widowed.  I assumed for a long time that her husband must have been dead until I found him in a neighboring state, alive and well, living near a couple of their kids.

Depending on location, some marriages "ended" by the husband selling his wife to another  man -- sometimes even with her consent and connivance.  (Divorce either required an Act  of Parliament, or was too costly for the middle and lower classes.)

+3 votes
Sometimes divorce was not an option, or too difficult, or too expensive. I am also struggling with profiles for a few ancestors who were clearly married previously, but perhaps not widowed or divorced when they remarried….
by Susan Stopford G2G6 (8.1k points)
+3 votes
I have someone in my tree where the wife marries and then a few years later is listed as a widow. The next census record she is married and again listed as a widow. Further research shows that she was only married once but her husband was in a mental hospital for many years.
by Virginia Fields G2G6 Pilot (720k points)

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