in late 1800's if woman became widow did she usually keep her husbands name?

+2 votes
in late 1800's if woman became widow did she usually keep her husbands name? or go back to using her maiden name?

I have a situation where she had a son with the last name jackson in 1890 but then married in 1893 a man with the name Lewis and she is listed by her LNAB Stults and not as Jackson.

So what I am wondering is if this means she never married the father of her first son with the last name jackson. Or if she could have been married to him but went back to using her maiden name?
WikiTree profile: Emeline Holcomb
in Genealogy Help by Stephanie Stults G2G6 Mach 3 (37.8k points)

I see this person is from eastern Tennessee, which is culturally similar to eastern Kentucky, where my mother's family comes from.

My experience is that hill people do what they want, rules be disregarded! 


4 Answers

+5 votes
All of my female ancestors who became widowed kept their married surnames. If they married again, of course they took the new husband’s name. A couple who outlived both kept the second’s surname.
by Pip Sheppard G2G Astronaut (2.2m points)
+4 votes
Never say never, but it's a big red flag.  If a woman marries in what is known to be her maiden name, you'd normally take it as a fact that she hadn't been married before (unless her late husband had the same surname).  Having a child might cast a slight doubt, but of course it's not particularly unusual.
by Anonymous Horace G2G6 Pilot (568k points)
+2 votes
If the source is a census, consider that someone giving the information
may have had a senior moment and used her maiden name.  I often find myself using the name of a family who lived in a home for many years, while I was a child, to identify that house no matter who owns it now.  The
grandchildren just roll their eyes if they know the current occupants.  One
will gladly correct me.
by Beulah Cramer G2G6 Pilot (306k points)
+2 votes
The original death cert of S.W. Jackson is shown on Findagrave.  The father's name is Geo Jackson and the mother's name is Miss M. E. Stultz.  The mother's name  shown as "Miss" indicates to me that she was not married to Geo Jackson.
by Patricia Stockley G2G6 Pilot (124k points)
While you may be correct that she was never married to Geo Jackson.  The use of the word "Miss" on her son's death certificate is not evidence to say she was or wasn't married to Mr. Jackson.  I believe, during this period it was far more likely that they were married, as it was far more unusual to have a child out of wedlock. In my tree I have one of my 2nd ggf's who was given his mother last name rather than the father, whom she never married.

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