Profile issues for name changing bigamists.

+6 votes
My partners G Grandmother got married on 23 December 1911 to James Henry Chapman using the name Lillian Harris, she was approximately 21 at the time.

On May 22 1926 she married again to Colin Bissett Sr using the name Vilda Henwood stating her age as 26.  There was no divorce after the first marriage.

There were four children from the first marriage and one from the second.  I have a number of sources all with conflicting information.  Everytime I look at this person my head starts hurting.

Before people start jumping up and down saying that it's obviously two different people,  it's not.

What I guess my question How do I get all of this on to the profile without it looking like a dogs breakfast?
WikiTree profile:
in Policy and Style by Suzanne Sheridan G2G1 (1.6k points)
edited by Suzanne Sheridan

2 Answers

+8 votes
Best answer

Either give a simple explanation of the alias in the text or in an explanatory footnote along with the source(s) for the information - it shouldn't create a dog's breakfast (BTW my dog had steak for breakfast ;) )

I would however 'clean up' the marriage to the actual facts and get rid of the extra data from the gedcom import. For example (and please note I have taken much creative liberty just to give you an idea how it might look):


Vilda, under the alias Lillian Harris, first married James Henry Chapman on 23 Dec 1911 at the Congregational Church, Wollongong. <ref> The use of the alias Lillian Harris is based on the personal knowledge of her daughter Daphne as communicated to [[Sheridan-356|Suzie Sheridan]]. The date and location are given in the Australia Marriage Index under that name</ref> To this union were born:

  1. Norman James;
  2. Daphne Florence;
  3. Thelma May; and,
  4. Gladys;

Vilda, using the name Vilda Henwood, married Colin Bissett Sr. on 22 May 1926 at Glebe, New South Wales. <ref>Australia Marriage Index</ref> No records of a divorce or annulment of the first marriage have been found and family tradition holds that this second marriage was an act of bigamy. Vilda and Colin had one child:

  1. John Doe

One available source <ref>The Index of Rumours and Half-truths</ref> claims a fifth child was born to the first marriage however no further evidence has been found to support that claim, and it is likely that Vilda's daughter Daphne would have mentioned having another sibling when she was interviewed.

by Rob Ton G2G6 Pilot (275k points)
selected by Suzanne Sheridan
GREAT answer Rob. I'd only add that the First and Last name fields should be filled with her name at birth. And other last name field should include the alias.
Both answers to this question have been really helpful.  The only problem is that it seems that her mother also used both of the names Henwood and Harris as well, so I'm not 100% sure about what the birth name was.

The son from the second marriage is still alive, but understanably he dosen't want to talk about it and I think because of my digging I know more than he does.

I suspect that the later identity (Vilda Henwood) would be entirely fictitous and the earlier one the real identity. My reasoning:

First, Lillian had no discernable reason to lie when she was first married, but a person hiding an act of bigamy so they could be married (and to avoid prosecution) would have reason to lie about every detail to avoid any chance of being discovered.

Second, a 36 year old Vilda passing herself off as being 26 years old seems more believable than 11 year old Lillian passing herself off as 21.

Third, the image of the Vilda Henwood marriage certificate you have posted on Ancestry gives birth as Toronto, CANADA (not Australia) - if you are making up an identity, making yourself foreign born, with both parents deceased is a convenient way to avoid anyone looking into your past. Also if the details Vilda gave are accurate there would probably be more of a paper trail - at least a 1901 Census entry in Canada, as well as a birth registration, and names on passenger lists or immigration documents somewhere.

Fourth, on a quick search I cannot find any records of a Vilda M. Henwood prior to the 1926 marriage - she seems to appear out of nowhere.

I also looked up the residence given for Vilda on the marriage certificate: 131 St. John's Rd., Glebe, in the Sand's Directory. In 1925 and earlier years that house was in the name of a Mrs. Beatrice Gough. in 1926 when Vilda was married the house was not listed, and in 1927 and later the house was in the name of C. Gilbert.

With that said, the marriage record already cited and the death record 26367/1953 agree on Vilda's parents names as William Henry and Ellen. It would be interesting to see the death record for Lilian (Harris) Chapman that reputedly died the same day at Camperdown, Victoria.
+5 votes

It's kind of similar to the European Aristocrats. IMO... just state her names (alias if you like) in the body copy of the wiki profile (see style guide for more info).


You could also use the 'other last names' field to put other last names... and the 'nickname field' for alternate first names.

by Unknown Unknown G2G6 Mach 2 (29.5k points)

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