Is There a Hidden Wife?

If all records indicate the wife of your ancestor is “Mary,” keep yourself open to the possibility that the ancestor could have been married twice to women with the same first name. If other details about the Marys are very inconsistent, it could be that there were two Marys instead of one.

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9 thoughts on “Is There a Hidden Wife?

  1. T R

    Had that happen with 4gUncle — wife #2 and wife#3 were BOTH named Clarissa — I finally figured it out when I found marriage info that happened well after the birth of his children, all of his children….

  2. Barbara Chapman

    I have 2 Mary’s with one man.
    First child cannot find her birth.
    Second and third child born to Mary Smith
    All the others born to Mary Parish
    No Marriage for either!

  3. Claudia Rose Aguilar

    One way to explore this possibility is to check names of children. The mother (mothers) may have named a child after one of her parents. Also, look for wills or “gifts”, i.e. land, slave, etc.

  4. Stephanie

    I had a problem with a gg grandfather. He had hidden himself. Abandoned his first wife Frances to marry another Rose, without divorcing the first. I have the marriage records for the both. I was told it was more common that thought.

  5. Anita

    My first day of online research began with a visit to a person who introduced me to Ancestry. For some reason, she happened to tell me that when people were coming over to USA only so many people of one surname were allowed per ship, so people sometimes changed surname. (I’ve never heard that since!).

    So, I came home to look for my gr-grandfather, whose parents came over form Germany. Sure enough, I found him, in Pittsburgh, in 1880. And the parents first names were correct, they just had a different last name. I accepted that, because of what I had been told earlier that day; although the father’s birthday was different than my Grandma had given me. I did think it odd that the children still had the ‘real’ last name.

    Well, I eventually discovered that his father (Christian) had died, and his mother had married again – to another ‘Christian’ – just a different last name!

    I’ve since learned that if it seems odd, I better not just accept it!!

  6. Linda Murphy

    This is especially true if that female ancestor is of French or French Canadian descent. Many put Marie first in most of their girl child’s names and often Joseph for boys or Jean Baptiste. So I was aware
    there can be multiple Mary’s in the same family but they would use Mary for one daughter and then the middle name for subsequent daughters. One of my gr grandmothers was Marie Levesque. Later on that grandfather was married to a Mary Bishop. I thought it was a second wife. I eventually figured out that Levesque translates to Bishop in English. So in this case, it was the same Mary. I had another instance (French Canadian, of course) where an obituary of a gr aunt’s huband gave his wife maiden name. It was not the same maiden name as my gr aunt. This was a mind boggle that I eventually figured out. They were using a “dit” name and for some reason some of them alternated between the two names. They were Seymour dit Couture. In her husband’s obituary, she was Couture but in her obituary, she was Seymour. Same gr aunt. This name swapping occurred with a few of her siblings as well. (Just to make things confusing, haha) Never a dull moment with genealogy!


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