Should unmarried significant others be listed?

+8 votes
104 views
Should any major relationships (IE lived together or were engaged but not married) be listed? Thinking of modern day profiles especially as this happens a lot. Many people live together for years but never marry, and/or are common law married. I have tried searching to see if anyone else has asked this, but can't seem to find the correct terms. Trying to figure out how to handle this for a few people on my tree.
in Policy and Style by Anonymous Younger G2G6 Mach 1 (13.2k points)
I have seen mention of “significant others” in obituaries, so if you are trying to write a comprehensive biography, why not?
George, I suspect that the question might be referring to the data section, rather than the biography, since Janettee used the word "listed".  Of course, I fully agree with including this in the biography.

If my assumption that the question is about the data section is correct, then it is one of whether these relationships should be entered as marriages.  As it stands now, I believe (but am far from an authority on this) the policy is to only list legal marriages in the data.

My personal preference would require a change to the data section that permits a partnership to be entered and adds a field to indicate the sort of partnership - marriage, living together, etc. but I gather that's not too likely to happen anytime soon.
Thank you, George and Gaile.

I was referring to in the biography, although with common law marriages I do wonder if they should be listed as spouses. For example, my sister went to get married and found out she was apparently already married as far as the state was concerned, because she and her ex had been considered to be common law married and had to divorce before she could marry her now husband. My assumption is that anything that's a legal marriage in the state's eyes would qualify for linking as a spouse here.
Common law marriage is a legal marriage. What it takes to become married by common law varies by state. In some, it takes a bit of effort to not be considered married and you have to always make a correction if someone refers to you as married to not be.
Gotcha.
You may be interested to read this:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common-law_marriage

3 Answers

+5 votes
Good question!  I would say a spouse should be listed only if there is a legal commitment such as any form of marriage, common law included.  If a couple prefer not to make it legal or they are not ready to commit, I don't think we should list them as spouses.

If they have children together, the fathers and mothers should be attached to the children as appropriate, but I don't think we should attach the fathers and mothers as spouses, unless they really are in a marriage commitment of some sort.

Edit:  They can be mentioned in the biography section, of course.
by Kitty Smith G2G6 Pilot (557k points)
Oh I just asked that question before seeing your answer, oops! Yes that makes sense. And yes, I was asking about in the biography ;)
Not being married does not mean not being committed. It could mean many things. Not being able to lawfully marry as in people of opposite races at recent times in history, having a disability that doesn't allow you to marry - epilepsy at one time, same sex marriages, first cousin marriages, polyamorous marriages, between undocumented immigrants, people who live too far from a source of legalizing it (think American frontier)
+5 votes
I concur with Georg! I have an Unknown Man (a GF from the area of Frankfurt am Main or of Karlsruhe, both in Germany. After years of looking and sone were years focused on that little problem, I think I should give up or find someone to help me understand how to use Jewishgen program. The days go on and I'm aware I'll slip past the point with met leaky MEMORY of being able to keep my genealogy searches current. So the HELP THAT I NEED is still very current.

Further back in time, I have a Franz Metzger who was the lover of Christina Paulina (von) Berg, used only once in the records as having a dau with Christina. I infer (always skeptical here) that he could have been the father of all three others of her children.

And, btw, does anyone know the definition of "forester," a word given me by an archivist who helped in the long gone past with establishing my Karlsruhe families? I've conjured up everything from someone in the Von Berg line (This man of mine is a Carl von Berg) who is a person who owns a densely forested region of the Black Forest territory and moves along to someone who cuts down trees. What a spread of logical inferences? And it has not been forthcoming from any other source with any helpful hints to know that.
by Anonymous Burnett G2G6 Mach 2 (27.6k points)
I wish that I could offer assistance, but I don't know how to handle that one at all :( Perhaps someone will take a DNA test proving that line at some point. You might ask a new question of this one, as well.
JANETTE--HI AND YES I have taken a ff-DNA test already (Sorry I forgot to mention it.) That's how I became connected to the family of three people and their outlying relatives. But only one of these BERMAN family members is living at this time. Of the other two, the woman had Alzheimers and the man died at 93. I visited them on the 2 coasts of the USA. I did really LOVE her brother, the 3rd and the 2nd elder of that family. Others are scattered throughout the USA. They hailed from the area of Vilnius, Lithuania.
Well shoot, hoped that would have helped. Although it is nice you got to meet them :)

Janette, you reminded me of having to SAY I had a DNA test. Only the very psychic can see it as registered in my brain pool. wink  kiss

+1 vote
Unless there are children (over the age of 13) who have joined wikitree, then NO I dont see the point of adding the SO as an SO, if they were not married.

If they can be added in order to add their family tree to the global tree,  then sure, by all means.

But no they dont need to be added as part of the family UNLESS they have children who are older than 13 and can become members on WT - thereby keeping their profile "alive" rather than unlisted.

Does that make sense?
by Robynne Lozier G2G6 Pilot (928k points)
My sense of it is that only a few people cling to their DNA RESULTS.

I wouldn't know if the younger members of the Berman family are into DNA or Genealogy.
I was thinking that it might help when photos, letters, or other memorabilia are discovered, so that descendants can make a connection. It helps both families to have that connected, right?

In any case, in at least two of the cases I'm thinking of, both parties have children who may one day take over their profiles.
True. Perhaps the SO can be mentioned in the Bio....

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