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How to deal with names for women married multiple times?

names marriage

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#1 pbarney


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Posted 09 May 2017 - 08:28 AM

Hello everyone, I'm new to Rootsmagic, and going through the arduous but engrossing process of entering everyone.


I'm wondering how to deal with a woman who has been through this process:

  1. Named Susan Smith
  2. Marries John Jones, becoming Susan Jones
  3. Divorces John Jones
  4. Keeps name as Susan Jones
  5. Marries Paul Johnson, becoming Susan Johnson.

When I'm entering this person, what do I use as the surname? Are the others alternative names? If so, what should the primary name be?


How have you dealt with this?


Thanks for any advice!



Columbus, Ohio

#2 KFN


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Posted 09 May 2017 - 08:55 AM

I always use birth name as the primary name and any other name (male or female) as alternate names.

#3 zhangrau


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Posted 09 May 2017 - 10:57 AM

I use the birth name (as I understand it to have been) as the primary (display) name.


I create an Alternate Name fact for every variation that I find for that person, documented with source citations. Then I add Sort Dates to the Alternate Names to place them at the end of the person's fact list, and in this order:


given middle surname (preferred spelling)

given middle surname (alternate spelling)

given m.i. surname

given surname

nickname surname

given middle (maiden) married #1

given middle married

given m.i. married


given middle (maiden) married #2



That general outline gets modified as appropriate for the various spellings and marriages. I have some well-documented individual's with over a dozen Alternate Name facts. It doesn't read like Pulitzer-winning prose in the narrative reports, but my readers have told me that they find all of that documentation to be impressive.

#4 pbarney


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Posted 11 May 2017 - 05:20 PM

Thanks, that's exactly what I'll do!