Friday, April 24, 2015

U is for Unknown

always on the lookout for those maiden names
I have 250 females in my Legacy family file with an unknown surname. These are the women who we find in the census or city directory or voting rolls or newspaper articles listed with their married surname. These women are the "married-ins" or the mothers of "married-ins." Oftentimes in newspaper articles they were referred to as Mrs. Harry Smith (not even their own first names were used!). For most of these women, I have not yet found a marriage record or any indication of their maiden name.

I know that many genealogists leave the surname entry blank but I prefer to use Unknown - I know I don't have the surname yet, but I am always on the lookout. I have also made a general note in my Legacy family file that I use Unknown intentionally (and for those whom I don't have a surname) - I would not want anyone to think that Unknown is an actual surname or that all my Unknowns are related (I once heard a presenter tell that story but I really hope she was joking!).

Do you use Unknown to indicate an unknown surname or do you leave the space blank?

See you back here tomorrow for the letter V.

1 comment:

  1. I leave the surname blank - for me the blank space is still a signifier that work needs to be done and blank = unknown :)


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