Should marriage end date only be for divorce?

+10 votes
222 views
When a person has multiple spouses due to earlier ones dying, should the marriage to the earlier spouse be given a Marriage End Date value of the date of death of spouse?  I thought this field was just for case of divorce, so I would think not, yet I see this done by others, so before removing, I'd like to hear what the style guide says on this.
WikiTree profile: Lucretia Harris
asked in Policy and Style by William Foster G2G6 Mach 6 (68.1k points)
retagged by Abby Glann
Hello, William!

I am a firm believer in "Till Death do we part," so I consider the death of one spouse to be the end of the marriage (I recognize divorce and annulment, too!). I don't always fill in the Marriage End Date for the profiles I manage, though.

I don't believe WikiTree currently has a set guideline for the Marriage End Date issue. The choice to use or not use that field, even regarding divorce/annulment, is currently left to the profile manager.
I think my mother would disagree with your first point, she's married to my dad but he just happens to now be dead (and cremated).

(added that last two words in case it made you think of Addams family values, lol.)
I was just stating my personal opinion, based on the traditional vows (or so I've been told!). Everyone else is free to disagree and have his/her own opinion. I just like to have opposing - even radical - viewpoints made available for everyone's perusal and/or amusement.

Regarding your last 2 words, Gillian: I'm not sure they make your post less Addams-family-values-like (which I wouldn't have thought if you had not mentioned it yourself; good entertainment - the comics, TV show, and movies - though)! They were a strangely wacky bunch, after all.

7 Answers

+8 votes
I checked the style guide and it did not mention the marriage end date..  I have used it between spouses when one has died.  Especially if the spouse had very small children and got remarried out of necessity within the same year.
answered by Laura Bozzay G2G6 Pilot (492k points)
Like Laura, I use it when a spouse dies leaving small children. Primarily for the wife dying to help distinguish which mother belongs to which children.

The other time I have used it is when I know the couple was married at the time of death but haven't been able to find a marriage record for the second marriage. I add the date of the first spouse dying as the end date and use after that date for the marriage on the second.
To that second point, if/when I find the second marriage data, I update as appropriate, then remove the marriage ended from the first marriage.
+7 votes
I have also listed the dates of death for spouses.  Some ancestors lost their spouses due to war or died at sea; the death date helps fill in the story of their lives.

Little-7745
answered by Janine Barber G2G6 Pilot (133k points)
+13 votes
I, on the other hand, only use it for divorces.
answered by Anne B G2G Astronaut (1m points)
me too.
Me three
Me four.  :-)
Me five.
+8 votes
I always thought it meant whatever a reason would be for a marriage to end, death of either spouse (husband or wife), divorce, or annulment etc. Good question, got us thinking!
answered by Dorothy Barry G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
+2 votes
I have found it really doesn't have to be filled in if it is 2 people only. But it really comes in handy if the surviving spouse gets remarried as it shows the dates in the profile. Otherwise you aren't totally sure. And if you know the death date of the first wife but not the marriage date of the second wife, don't put the death date of the first wife and then chose after. It will error Married to 2 women at once. Make it 1 day different.

At least in my experience.
answered by Steven Tibbetts G2G6 Pilot (189k points)
+1 vote
The only time I have considered putting the death date of a husband as the end of marriage is when the widow gives birth to a child more than 9 months after the death of her husband (and I have a few of those).
answered by Helmut Jungschaffer G2G6 Pilot (446k points)
Smile...
+2 votes
I use the Marriage End Date whenever one partner remarried for whatever reason (death, divorce, etc.) If the surviving partner did not remarry, I leave it blank. For those with multiple spouses, this makes the timing of marriages very clear at the top of the profile. And for the partner that died, it's an indication whether the surviving spouse did remarry or not.
answered by Kitty Linch G2G6 Mach 3 (39.9k points)

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