When a husband sells property and is married, there should be an acknowledgment by the wife that she knows about the sale and releases her dower interest in the property. Pay attention to these acknowledgments. The absence of one usually indicates the wife is deceased–a potential clue. And a “new name” appearing on the dower release likely means that the previous wife has died and that the husband has remarried. Although keep nicknames and diminutives in mind when drawing these conclusions, however. A 1800 wife named Sarah may be referred to as Sally in 1820.