How to handle a voided marriage and tying up assorted loose ends

+2 votes

I asked a question about multiple mysteries a couple of days ago and, thanks to super sleuths Kay Sands and Emily Yaden, almost everything is resolved now, although it got even worse while it was getting better.  The remaining issues are:

  1. Lee's first marriage was "voided" (does this mean annulled, even though that's not the word that was used?).  I wrote a full explanation in the bio, but am not happy with the way I handled it in the data section.  I entered a marriage end date and appended " - MARRIAGE VOIDED" to the location, which is probably going to result in an error for not being a valid location.  What is the best way to deal with this?
  2. I need source citations (which will probably be pay sites) for:
    1. Lee's child (or twins) with wife Margie (seen on an unsourced ancestry family tree)
    2. the newspaper article about the death of Lee's wife Margie
    3. Lee's four middle children with wife Bessie
  3. I need either a source for a possible final marriage (4th if you count the voided 1st one) to a Sarah Davison - or maybe should I just forget the whole thing???


WikiTree profile: Lee Weatherley
in Genealogy Help by Gaile Connolly G2G6 Pilot (978k points)
Turned into a very interesting profile, although I don't need to go back down this rabbit hole. I suspect he was called Lee to distinguish from his father also James. Maybe the first Bessie wasn't really 18 or backed out at the altar.
That was my first thought, too, Kay - that Bessie was underage, but I have her 1910 census that shows she should have been 19 on that marriage license (census was in May and marriage license was July).

EDITED - By the way, his next wife, Margie definitely was underage.  Her age was given as 18 on the marriage record and she was still 18 in the census 2 years later.

Lee's first marriage was "voided" (does this mean annulled, even though that's not the word that was used?).

No, it would not be the same as a marriage being annulled.

A voided marriage is where the marriage was not legal to begin with, and is not recognized. It is like the marriage never happened to begin with. This is common in marriages involving incest, misrepresentation of age (minors cannot enter into contracts in most places), or where one of the parties is already married.

Well, Steven, there isn't incest (unless there was a non-paternal event in Bessie's family that we don't know about) and she wasn't a minor.  She's only 18 or 19, so I don't think she would have been married previously, nor is there any record of such a thing and I'm sure that this is Lee's first marriage ... or should I say attempt at marriage.

So ... what do you think I should do about the profiles for both Lee and Bessie?  Should I not enter the marriage at all or should I enter it the way I did or should I make the end date the same as the start date (there are 4 days intervening between the certificate and the void note on the document) ... and what about my technically incorrect use of the location field??????

Henry V111's marriages to Katherine of Aragon , Anne Boleyn and Anne of Cleves were all legally declared void i.e. they  never happened . Legally, he only had 3 wives. I think we would be remiss not to include them on his profile.

(another place where following the 'rules' would not be reflective of reality)

I would include the marriage and date it was declared null in the marriage end date. If she was under 21, perhaps they hadn't got parental consent ( This would be true in this period in England and Wales but might not be the case in Arkansas)
If it were me, I would personally remove the connection and explain it in the Biography. Now, on the best course of action that you should do? I would probably suggest leaving the connection, editing the dates as you mentioned, then waiting until you can find a better source or evidence that something else may have transpired.
Thank you, Helen - that certainly makes a lot of sense!  Now, the question is how to include them - should they be listed as marriages in the data section (since legally, although after the fact, they never occurred) or only explained in the biography?  To list them in the data section becomes a question of how ... with a start and end date, but what should go in the end date?  I also think that, without ability in the data section to identify a marriage as subsequently voided, it creates a serious problem.
THANX, Steve, but I'm going to follow Helen's advice ... for now, at least ... which means leaving the start and end dates as they are.  After all, the marriage did legally exist for the 4 days from when it occurred until when it was voided ... it's only after the void date that it ceased to exist and retroactively changing the fact of its existence is way beyond WikiTree's capability or even - probably - any reasonable desire for expansion of capability!  Looking at what I just wrote makes me scratch my head and think that what I just described is probably more like annulled, but I'm neither a lawyer nor an English major, plus this isn't my family and I plan to orphan all these profiles after I finish what I can do for them, so I'm not going to bother my silly head about it anymore.

Helen, why oh why didn't you make your comment an answer so that I could select it??????

PS  I'm also going to leave the non-conforming use of the location field with the appended identification of the marriage as voided.  Someone else is more than welcome to come behind me and change it and I can well understand the rationale for doing so - I did put the correct location in there, as well as tack on the void piece at the end of it, plus I explained the situation fully in the biography.

2 Answers

+4 votes
imho I don't think how a relationship ended needs to be in the data field.  for the period they were married, they were married. We don't put "widowed" or "divorced" in a data field, we use the bio for that.
by H Husted G2G6 Mach 6 (66.5k points)
Heather, I quite agree about putting things like widowed or divorced in the data and I only put an end date in for divorce, normally.  This situation is way out of normal, though.  Even using an end date doesn't seem right - see Steven Harris' comment above where he says "it is like the marriage never happened to begin with".

It is the complete abnormality of this situation that caused me to ask the question.
+3 votes
See about discussion on putting non-location information in the location field.
by Doug McCallum G2G6 Pilot (447k points)
Doug, I am well aware of the purpose of location fields and the advice of what belongs in them.  Please note that my question includes saying that I "am not happy with the way I handled it in the data section".  Please also note that I stated my awareness of the intent for location fields to contain only location data.  I will spare you the full explanation of the reasons for this intent, which includes (among other functionality)allowance for future use of GPS coordinates for locations if the technology for recognizing now defunct locations ever becomes available.
Just wanted to point you at the heated discussion going on.

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