View Full Version : Bride described as 'spinster' instead of 'widow'
12-11-2004, 11:14 PM
We've obtained a marriage certificate and the bride is described as a 'spinster'. However, this was supposed to be her second marriage, so it should say 'widow'.
It is likely (or possible) that a mistake was made? Were people free to lie if they chose? Or is it more likely that the first marriage (which we are having a lot of difficulty finding!!) never actually took place?
13-11-2004, 1:58 AM
Yes it is likely that people lied - my husband's great grandmother added 3 years to her age when she got married - probably so that she didn't have to get her father to give his consent. so calling herself a spinster instead of a widow is possible. the other possibility is that the first marriage didn't actually take place - an interesting thing to have to sort out.
Then there are those who go the other way and say they are a widow, when they never married in the first place. That can get equally confusing....!
13-11-2004, 7:57 AM
Where was the marriage? Church? By banns? Locality? These are all clues which will help to narrow down the possibilities.
13-11-2004, 9:07 AM
I had a similar thing, where the husband claimed he was a bachelor, but was in fact still married. His first wife lived for another twenty years, and on her gravestone it's engraved "wife of..." the bigamous husband!
13-11-2004, 9:38 PM
Yes people lied about anything it was possible to lie about, however one must be very careful with spinster.
It may be the female's occupation rather than her maritial condition.
Also, given that marriage is "until death do us part", it makes very little difference really between being a "widow" and a "spinster". Perhaps some people decided that after a suitable period as a widow, then they reverted to spinster. Maybe some didn't know the difference, or didn't care.
Depends too whether they re-married using their first marriage surname, or their maiden name. Of course the bride's father's name is often recorded too, and the witness names might prove useful (sometimes).
Even more confusing, I have one lady who married first using the surname she'd been brought up with, but who then re-married using her real maiden name presumably after she'd discovered that her parents were really her maternal grandparents. And although she put widow on the second marriage, she wasn't as her first husband also remarried around the same time. Now that really makes it confusing.
Also a divorcee might also put "spinster" or "batchelor" too as legally the first marriage has been annulled, and therefore they might decide that "divorcee" is not what they want recorded for their subsequent children to see.
13-11-2004, 11:32 PM
Yes, well... thanks everyone! We'll keep an open mind then! |banghead|
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