Options for marriage data
Janice Byington said: There is a place for relationship notes in the marriage area for each person.0
joe martel said: I'm not sure there is a precise definition for common-law but there are a number of genealogical discussions about it on the web. Wikipedia says "The original concept of a "common-law marriage" is a marriage that is
considered valid by both partners, but has not been formally recorded
with a state or religious registry, or celebrated in a formal religious
service." I recall there were times and jurisdictions that caused impediments to formal marriage.0
Venitar said: There was a law in most states that allowed a couple who lived together for at least seven years and was raising children to claim to be married and it would become legal. There wasn't always clergy available to perform a ceremony. A tradition of "hand-fasting" was also common in several countries for the same reason.0
Janice Byington said: My g-grandfather was the only minister/school teacher in the Ozark area where he lived. So when he and g-grandma wanted to get married, they jumped the broom. It was not civilly recorded, only by the local church, but they had a great marriage with 9 children. I love history.0
Venitar said: There you go, Janice! I love that story.0
W. Allan Levorsen said: I am in favor of the "Never married" designation, not only as a means of preventing needless research, but also to prevent unwanted sealing ordinance work. I request (1) that the software engineers consider means to provide a method to indicate patron's selection of (undesired/inappropriate for marriage sealing) for parents of illegitimate children who never married, (2) provide appropriate restrictions for sealings of such couples, and (3) refrain from generating and sending hints to patrons towards identifying such parents (who may be poorly identified) such as for my ancestor Ane Hals PID KWJX-WPL , who with difficult to identify Henrich Olsen Løren PID 27DM-9FW had a child out of wedlock and never married him but later married my ancestor, Peter Rasmussen.0
joe martel said: W., "never married" : read my comment above (Dec 4, 2015)0
W. Allan Levorsen said: As a supplementary comment, I also have an ancestor born out of wedlock, for which someone requested and obtained a sealing be performed of her mother to her natural father, who never married her mother, which mother later married and had several other children (to whom my ancestor is sealed). It might have been nice to have had means to prevent an unwanted sealing to such an unwed and never wed couple. Instead, it appears that FamilySearch will always display my ancestor's illegitimate as well as legitimate parentage, with no possiblilty to select otherwise, such as the former "perferred" parentage previously allowed.0
Janice Byington said: I used to sweat the small stuff, but now....I think I'm just getting to old...grins. To me the "not married" or "never married" is just for accurate clarification. I am but proxy for saving ordinances and I do it out of love for my ancestors. Personally the way I see it, all temple ordinances for my dead are either accepted or rejected by them. It is up to them decide to whom they prefer to be sealed to for eternity. That is an extremely long time to live with my actions alone because I presume to know their feelings or understanding on any matter. From their side of the veil I figure my loved ones see everything differently and perhaps much clearer than I do or perhaps they did while living. Several members of my family both living and not, will have decisions to make.... but to me, it is their decision alone. I only provide the ordinances, ALL of the ordinances, to everyone. So I vote not to include any action in FamilySearch that will prevent any sealing ordinances. God bless you and all that you do.0
Marla Raquel Neff said: "Never married" option under marriage. I have several family members (Some dead and some alive) who have a child together, but have never lived together or been married. It would be nice to have an option to choose for those who were never married and never intended to get married. Example1: My great great-uncle's fiancé died on their wedding day. They were never married, but they are listed as married on other sites. Example 2: As unfortunate as this is.....a "one night stand" resulting in a child. Thank you!0
Tom Huber said: This discussion was started six years ago! It keeps being resurrected -- there is nothing wrong with that.
In my opinion, and I've expressed this on several occasions, is that the couple relationship area is woefully inadequate.
A couple is formed when they produce offspring, whether they actually live together or not. For that child to tie into the family of mankind (which is what FamilySearch FamilyTree is about), that child needs both his parents listed. The parents can be biological, adopted, guardians, and foster (or one of several other legal definitions).
The relationship of any set of parents (biological or otherwise) to each other can vary, but in a traditional "Western" relationship, it starts with the couple's announcement or intention to marry (engagement). The current system makes no allowance for that, except as a note.
Within some religious groups, the couple's intention is read before the congregation, often in successive weeks, so that any objection can be raised. Again, the current arrangement makes no allowance for that.
To marry in the United States, the couple must obtain a license, authorizing them by the jurisdiction to marry and form a family relationship. Again, the current system makes no allowance for that.
There are numerous events and happenings that happen with the couple, not as individuals, but as a couple. Only four are currently covered: Annulment (happens after a couple is officially married), Divorce (similar to annulment, but different circumstances), Common Law (very specific legal situation) and Marriage. The current system makes no allowance for any other kind of couple relationship change.
In addition to a license being issued, affidavits are often required before a couple can obtain a license. In some instance, blood work must be obtained. The blood work, affidavits, license, and other documents can happen on dates other than when the marriage is actually takes place.
My request is and always has been, to provide an "other information" section in the couple relationship page, so that any additional events and/or facts can be documented. Tagging should be extended to include sources of the conclusions of the events/facts so that sources can be tied to those conclusions.
We really do not want more explanation for the way things are -- they have been that way for a long time. And to simply tell us to include the information in notes and or discussions does not properly set up any event or fact.
What I want to know is are their any plans to expand the couple relationship area. I recognize that FS will seldom announce the release (with dates) of new features, but it would be nice to know that at least the issues are being considered and that a means to resolve those concerns are "in the works" (somewhere between discussion and testing/release).0
Venitar said: I have been in this conversation since the beginning. Here are my definitions of common marriage situations:
Married: Man and woman have a church or civil event performed in public after which they live together and usually produce children.
Not married: Man and woman do not have the event described above, but produce one or more children together.
Never Married: A person reached the marriageable age, but never married.
I suggest that a checkbox and "Never married" be placed next to the "Add Spouse" option, and a "Not married" option be included in the list of "Marriage Events."
While we are at it, it would be lovely to find a "No children" option under a married couple to be checked when it applies. Not every marriage produces children, as we all know.0
Paul said: I'm afraid my attitude will never change on this issue - I do not believe "Never married" or "No Children" indicators should be introduced. How can we ever prove some past relatives were never married or had children?
I have previously conceded we probably would know the facts when it came to recently deceased relatives, but a recent finding has shown even assumptions about them can be wrong. An uncle was divorced and later married another divorced person. Quite by accident, last week I stumbled across a record of a son born to her by her first husband. Nobody in my family (except, perhaps, my uncle) had ever been aware of this child - who must have been brought up by his father or grandparents.
Since the release of a new online index of births and deaths for England & Wales I have been amazed at the amount of children, of whom I had been previously unaware, I have been able to add to relatives / parents in Family Tree. They had usually died in infancy so had never featured in census returns or other records. Likewise, an individual could have been married briefly without any clear trace of the marriage being found a few generations later.
I have other examples (involving misleading marital status remarks in records - "single" instead of "widowed " or "married" when there is no evidence for this) so, no, my own research has led me to believe such markers - rather than saving time for fellow researchers looking at the same individuals - could actually prevent them from finding missing events and family members.
If somebody has a serious enough interest in one of the individuals you have added to Family Tree they will view the full details on the relevant person page. There is plenty of opportunity there (Life Sketch, Discussions, Notes) to state your evidence regarding marital status and why you believe they had no children.0
Adrian Bruce said: Re "I do not believe "Never married" or "No Children" indicators should be introduced"
Until recently, I would have agreed with you, Paul. However, the (recently highlighted) issue comes for me with children who die before reaching "adulthood". I'm currently looking at a child who died at the age of 2 or 3. Despite this, the Person page invites me to "Add Spouse" and "Add Child".
The child is sufficiently far from me for my reaction to be one of bemusement at the stupidity of the invitations - others might be closer to the user and such invitations might be distressing.
It is possible for really young (at death) children to have such messages suppressed automatically. (Which amounts to automatic "Never married" and "No Children" indicators).
Once you get past - what, 10, 12? years old - the software can't make such automatic decisions and, to avoid distressing or distasteful invitations, any marker would need to be manually entered. Or people live with the invitations.
If we ever had such markers, then we would need to have the text carefully chosen, such as:
- "No children known yet"
- "No spouse known yet".
But I have to say that I am less than hopeful that the User Interface designers would code this - too often they abbreviate and simplify under the impression that simpler is always better.0
Venitar said: On the other hand, there are often times when the record says an individual never married or a couple never had children. As of now, when I find either of these situations in my ancestors, I create a note for that person, explaining it. It would be much more efficient if I could just check a box. That tells the other descendants of that family that they don't need to search for a spouse or children.
There is an individual who has done a lot of research on some of my ancestral lines. Many times, when he has not been sure of a spouse or children belonging to someone, he has created them as Mrs. Surname for the wife and Miss Surname for a girl and Mr. Surname for a boy. Somehow ordinance work has been done for these imaginary people! That is just as wrong as creating further generations back by adding undiscovered parents. He did this work several years ago, and I don't think he is still living. I have never met him, just found his work, which is mostly helpful.
Marital relationships and child relationships shouldn't be guessed at, so if the situation is known, it should be recorded. I simple check in a box could prevent hours of unnecessary research.
As for children who died as a child, the age at death should be a clue that there was never a marriage and certainly no children. However, there are situations, especially among royalty in the middle ages, where children are married as children, but don't live as husband and wife until they come of age. If you find that situation, you should explain it in a note.0
Paul said: Adrian and Venitar
You both make good points in favour of being able to have these features. In the majority of cases, yes, you can be 99.99% certain of the situation (never married / never had children), as you illustrate. However, there are still many cases where FT users will come to perfectly reasonable conclusions, which still won't be the correct ones. It is in these cases that I believe the introduction of such markers would help prevent marriage and birth events being found.
In the case I quoted above, another close relative found it difficult to accept that for over 50 years (until she died) her sister in law (to whom she had been very close) had not told her of a child by her first husband. If an FT user, I'm sure this relative would have had no hesitation in checking a "No Children" box against the couple, when my research has proved this was not the case!0
Melinda Silver said: In Latin America, particularly in Colombia, there are many illegitimate children who know who their father is -- but the parents were never married, nor did they live together in Common-Law marriage. The children are true bastards. See your own article: https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/.... Unfortunately, church policy states that parents who were not common law, nor were never married cannot have their child sealed to them. If we include the name of the father as it appears on the baptismal certificate, despite the fact that from the record it is clear that the child was illegitimate. There is no way to express NOT MARRIED in a relationship, only Married, Divorced, Annulment, Common Law. It would be helpful to change this. I know that parents who never lived together cannot be sealed without First Presidency approval. THIS IS EXACTLY THE PROBLEM!!! There is NO OPTION for putting NOT MARRIED on the Marriage Line in FamilySearch. This is a big need. The four current options are all incorrect and leave room for inappropriate sealings to be performed. There really needs to be a way to reflect NEVER MARRIED in the program and when that option is used, the Green Temple needs to disappear and ORDINANCES NEED TO BE UNAVAILABLE. Every time I ask this question I get the same two articles. I know how to seal and not seal. The presumption in FamilySearch is that all parents were either married, common law, annulled or divorced. This concept is very Victorian and does not reflect the reality of what has happened throughout time in countries that are not English speaking. A NEVER MARRIED option would also be great to use for the MOTHER of a **** child - I think that they had those in English too??!! Why does it not exist???0
Janeen Lambert said: I deal with these situations by listing the parents in Family Tree, but not having them be linked as a couple.When you are looking at the child's record, you have the option to add a parent. Add father and mother separately and they will not show up as a couple.
Here is the link to my grandfather Thomas Edward Rudolph whose parents were never married:
Besides showing his parents not as a couple, I have linked him to his grandmother and step-grandfather who raised him.0
Brett said: Totally agree.0
Janice Byington said: Thank you. That is one of the things I love about FamilySearch, more than one parent connections. I have an uncle who was left with my grandma, who was his babysitter, from birth in the mid 1940s. His mother never came back. My grandma raised him with her own children. Grandma never reported the incident and there was never anything legally done to keep him, so he doesn't fit any of the child to parent relationships. The closest I could use was "guardianship".0
Janice Byington said: I originally felt the need to have relationship definitions. But now I feel the issue is solved when it is actually the deceased persons accepting or rejecting the sealing. Most earthly relationships can not be determined by us. Also we are not able to understand the relationships and emotions that exist after they pass, i.e. forgiveness. So I do all sealings and let them decide for themselves under the guidance of those in authority in the hereafter. Just running on faith on most everything we do is sometimes the best we can do.0
Adrian Bruce said: Would adoption not work for you? That would be what I'd use in my desktop database because adoption in England and Wales was never formalised legally until the 1920s, but the concept was perfectly recognized.0
Adrian Bruce said: I did that once but thought it misleading. To me, you are losing the fact that you know that George and Hilda were his parents. It looks more like someone has said that Hilda was his mother, and someone else thinks that George was his father but either way, there is no indication that George even knew Hilda. Now you know the truth of the matter, but someone else just glancing at the data might come to the conclusion that no one actually knows who his parents are.
Having set my GG-GM up as you have done Thomas, I altered it so that she does have a mother and a father, and the 2 are together in the same box because I know that the 2 of them were her biological parents. I just have to ensure that there are no couple relationship events between the two of them.0
Venitar said: I have been standing on this soapbox for years, and you can find my opinions above, if you want to.
Recently I have been creating a "Custom Event" under "Other Information" when the child was born out of wedlock, when the parents were never married but produced one or more children, and when the couple was married but never produced children.
If you have "blue-blood" ancestors, you will find that the majority of the men produced multiple "natural" children in addition to the children borne by his wife. Usually, the mothers of those "natural" children were afterwards married to other men, possibly chosen by the father of the natural child, and then had a normal family.
It is naive to think that all families were created in the "normal" way, i.e., a marriage, then children. Just look at the world we are living in today.0
Janeen Lambert said: Thank you for your comment. It had not occurred to me that someone might misinterpret what I did like you suggested. I did it that way so the program would not keep telling me the sealing was available for George and Hilda.
This is just another case showing why we need "not married" as an option. I have seen people type "not married" in the marriage field but then they get a message about the date not being standard.
I hope Ron Tanner and his minions are paying attention to this discussion. It has been going on for 7 (seven) years.0
Adrian Bruce said: " I did it that way so the program would not keep telling me the sealing was available for George and Hilda."
OK - if you're getting that suggestion then I understand your annoyance if it's not supposed to happen. But then why is the software making that suggestion if it's not supposed to be possible?
(I'll bet an LDS member - I'm not - is now going to say, "It's not quite as simple as that...")0
Tom Huber said: Where no legal activity (as in an adoption) has taken place, "guardian" is the best selection, in my opinion.0
Adrian Bruce said: Hmm - that probably is another thing where it would be nice to get agreement. Or maybe it doesn't matter?
In England & Wales, the term "adoption" was used way before any legally based activity was formalised around it. Whereas I've always imagined "guardianship" to be both more formal (e.g. laid down in a will) and not necessarily indicative of a substitute for a parent. So - sounds like the opposite way round to your suggestion!
(Guardians to me always sound like the wicked uncle in a Charles Dickens story who never sees his ward from one year to the next but controls her every move. Apologies to American Guardians who are obviously much nicer! )
Maybe it doesn't actually matter which term gets used so long as the relationship is created - if so, use the one that seems best fitted to your culture(?)0
Janice Byington said: Loved your analogy. LOL Thank you. It is always wonderful to see ideas from other countries or cultures. Thought provoking.
It reminds of the term "stillborn". I have seen that term used on certificates for children who have lived up to 6 months old. Different places have different definitions for the same term. Always good to share what we have found.0
Janice Byington said: So true Venitar and it is getting worse....grins. Thank Goodness we are all loved so much no matter our faith, culture, or anything else.0