Sponsored By GenealogyBank

23 March 2013

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.


  1. This happens more often than one would think. At least the husband won't make the mistake of using the "wrong" name!

  2. My father-n-law married twice: Irene Elizabeth and Irene Opal.We called both of them "Mom".

  3. I found that to be very true in my own line. I had a death record for my gg-grandmother from 1861 but then showed a woman by the same name living with my great-grandparents on the 1880 federal census listed as "mother". I couldn't reconcile the two documents until I came across a marriage record for my gg-grandfather from 1864 marrying another woman by the same first name and he was listed as a widower. Both women were named "Mary" and also went by "Polly".