Should I add a spouse even if they are not legally married?

+5 votes
in Genealogy Help by Paul Albandoz G2G Rookie (280 points)

4 Answers

+8 votes
If there are children involved you can add both parents from the child's page without needing to list them as spouses.
by Chris Hoyt G2G6 Pilot (741k points)
+4 votes
I would be interested in what others on here think about that as well, vis a vis the purposes and goals of WikiTree.

I think the answer to that depends on the circumstances. It is possible that the parties were married under the laws of the state and the record, for a variety of reasons, doesn't exist anymore (the courthouse burned) or hasn't been located (those pesky relatives who were on the move when they got married). Also, I'm no expert on common law marriage, but it was a valid, legal marriage even though it wasn't performed in front of minister or justice of the peace. Then there will also be those cases where parties lived as man and wife and were not permitted legally to get married, such as under miscenegation laws or because one of the parties was unable to dissolve a prior marriage.

I would suggest that if "spouse" most accurately explains the family relationship, it would be okay to add them as that, but I would also explain, explain, explain in the biography section. As an example, although this profile is private, I have a living relative who has been in a long term (30+ year) relationship with a person who is, within the extended family, treated as her husband. They have no children. I am not sure how else but "spouse" they could be connected in WikiTree. I also have a relative, who died in the 1960s, who was in a long term relationship with a person of the same sex. I have chosen not to include that person's partner as a spouse because they chose not to acknowledge their relationship publicly during their lifetimes.

And because of how sensitive this could be, I would also suggest if it involves people in the recent past who may still have close living relatives, to tread very carefully.

What do others think?
by Ellen Curnes G2G6 Mach 6 (68.9k points)
I think you should be able to add a person to another person as a 'spouse 'ex-spouse' 'life-partner'.

I have a few cases where people didn't get married, and had no children, but were together for 40 odd years! I don't think it's fair they don't get to feature on each other's pages at all!
+4 votes
ABSOLUTELY!  Back in time, it was difficult for an illegimitate child to grow up.  I don't care whether they were legally married or not, they were the parents of a child.  Go ahead and put down the names parents of that child along with the legal wife and the child's half brothers and sisters as well as the child's parents' grandparents, and so forth!
by Patricia R G2G2 (2.1k points)
+1 vote
I like using the word "Consort" if it is really doubtful they were married.
by Sandy Edwards G2G6 Mach 7 (72.8k points)

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