Re: Mother in laws

D. Stussy wrote (after all the other posts ... )

I have several situations where a person listed as a mother in law
is living with her son.
Jim Jones B 1803;
Mary Jones B:1780 mother-in-law.

Since her maiden name probably is not Jones, What name do you
enter as the name of her husband?

Keith Nuttle <keith_nuttle@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>

We've had this discussion may times -
what name to use for someone whose
last name is unknown.

I use Unknown.

We are told that the accepted practice for a person with no last
name is to enter it as [--?--] or something similar. Apparently,
some genealogy programs will do this automatically when a last name
is missing.

People do all kinds of things to identify the person
as being part of Jim Jones' family like
Mary [Motherinlaw of Jim Jones]

If you only have one Jim Jones, this might work for
you, but I have not found that to be much of an improvement,
since I have many people of the same name in my tree, so
it doesn't help me much.

The simplest way is to give her the last name of unknown.
That way, you know you have to find her name, and you
also know that you didn't omit her name by accident when
you were entering your data.

Lisa <llepore@xxxxxxxxxxx>

Thank you for the responses to my question. This answers my question in
the since there is no standard answer.

As the database gains more families, I was trying to avoid several Marys
in the index that are not traceable to a family. Same problem if I
identify Mary as Mary Unknown.

I like the idea of tying in the family to the unknown an as in the
example above of Mary motherofJimjones. Maybe I will try Mary
JonemotherofJim, as that would tie Mary to the Jones family
specifically Jim.

I have found incidences where two unrelated people with the same last
name have married. It keeps genealogy interesting.

Keith Nuttle <keith_nuttle@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>

Keith, if you can stand one more response, several years ago I
adopted a method suggested by another user of my genealogy program
to indicate women with an unknown maiden name.

For her surname, I would put ______ (Jones) [I always use 6
underlines to keep it consistent.] The person suggesting it said
that, when she took her data to a family reunion or mailed it to
someone, they could see immediately that the person's maiden name
was missing and often filled it in. This has worked very well for
me until I found the woman's surname.

Laurie Nelson

Oh, Lord, PLEASE don't use (parens) on anything but the maiden name!

The (parens) for maiden name was the standard or norm or preferred
practice back in the 1950s (well before I started my genealogy), and
far's I know still is. Using it for anything else is guaranteed to
confuse someone somewhere down the line. And future generations
seem to be easy enough to confuse even when we go out of our way to
KISS it for them!

"Cheryl Singhals" <singhals@xxxxxxxxx>

Since all women are supposed be listed by maiden name* in any given
database, why would this yield a problem?

Because Mary --?-- (Jones) is ambiguous to a newbie. A newbie
probably won't notice the difference between ( [ and { either. My
personal genie program has a suffix field; I use it for things like
DD MD DDS and the like, but I know people who put married names in
there...and I think it's ambiguous.

Let's say that Mary --?-- married (1) Jim Johnstone and had issue,
(2) Sam Smith, and had issue, and (3) Bob Jones, no issue. And the
print-out says she's Mary (Jones). Sam and Jim and their
descendants are out in the cold gloom of night and well out of sight
of any searchers.

I am quite aware that genealogy books will print maiden names in
parentheses to separate and distinguish them from married names, but
that's not quite the same thing as they LACKED the database format
that is used today.

But, lacking an electronic database format doesn't mean
they lacked filing systems and databases of a sort.

* - Actually, all people should be listed under their birth name as
their main entry. All other names are merely alternates (or

A smidge ethnocentric, isn't it? AmerInds apparently changed their
name rather frequently as they went through life. No point in
showing that Gurgling Brave died at the age of 103, when he was
known as Silver Wolf at the time of his death. Then, wandering back
to European traditions, the birth name of an adopted child might not
be known since she used her adoptive name all her life.


singhals <singhals@xxxxxxxxx>