How to treat a married woman's last name in Current Last Name field.

+7 votes
94 views

In a woman's profile, to accept or not her husband's family name as Current Last Name.

There is disagreement on this subject and I for one, sustain that it is correct to use it as such.

WikiTree :General Naming Conventions.

 Use their conventions instead of ours. We aim to use the names that people themselves would have known and that would have been recognized in their own time and place.

A woman's official and formal name was  and still is her Last Name At Birth. Most if not all were also know in their community as Mrs  Her Husband, My mother, grand-mothers, aunts and others that I have known were amongst those also known as such and most likely their relatives before. 

Going through church records back to the 17th century, I have often seen direct such identification. here is one just recent view: 

Veuve Lalime, Sainte-Marie-de-Beauce, Family Search image 8 (1821-1825) where she signed as a witness [https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L99Q-399S-1?i=7&wc=9RLN-L29%3A24386701%2C24386702%2C24803801%3Fcc%3D1321742&cc=1321742]

They were so well refered to by their husband's name that, at their funeral, they were routinely idendified by their Last Name At Birth but also by their husband's name. An exemple under hand: see Hélène Debelois veuve Louis Perron - sépulture Sainte-Marie-de-Beauce, image 212 (1839-1853)  [https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G99Q-39WD-2?i=211&wc=9RLN-RMS%3A24386701%2C24386702%2C25515903%3Fcc%3D1321742&cc=1321742]

WikiTree general naming convention is fairly clear in its guide line: "Use their conventions instead of ours. We aim to use the names that poeple themselves would have known and that would have been recognized in their own time and place." "Current last name should be the last name they were using at the time of their death."

In simple words: All our grand-mothers were known as Mrs first name Husband and there was no shame to that.

I can still recall when I was a young boy, my mother signing my school bulletin notes to prove that I had shown it to my parents. She always signed with: Mme Télesphore Tardif, my dad's name.

In WikiTree, using the husband's name for a wife as Current Last Name allows this name to appear with her Family Name At Birth on the lists; when searching such a list for matches, the husband's name is very useful to locate or disregard a profile.

It makes WikiTree more user friendly...although it is already!

I have seen other discution here on G2G but: Am I correct?

in Policy and Style by Gaston Tardif G2G6 Mach 1 (12.8k points)
I would say incorrect.  I see that as an informal address, a given so to say.  President Obama is known and called Mr. President to his face but I wouldn't say that is his name.  My mother was called Vincent's mother but that was not her name either.  A current last name is more akin to what a driver's license would have listed.

1 Answer

+5 votes
 
Best answer

For women who lived in a time and place where their official names for life were their birth names, but they were sometimes informally referred to by husband's names, I would use:

  • birth name in both the LNAB field and the Current Last Name field
  • husband's name(s) in the Other Last Names field, along with any variant spellings of the names -- if there are multiple "other last names," separate them with commas.
by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
selected by Ronald McDonald
Interesting. Thanks.

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