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19 September 2013

Did the Women Change Their Name at Marriage--or Not?

In some cultures and societies, women will be listed with their new last name (their husband's last name) in records created after their marriage. In others, women are almost always listed with their original surname--even after their marriage. Records in Sweden, Belgium, and other parts of Europe frequently list women with the surname they had at birth, even after their marriage. Find out what the practice was in your specific areas of research before making conclusions.

It is always wise to remember that cultural practices and record-keeping norms can vary from one ethnic region to another.


  1. Good advice. Also more American women are keeping their maiden names, especially for professional reasons. Keep in mind, too, that women married men of the same surname.

  2. While a Quebec wife was known socially as Madame Deau [wife of John Doe]. But genealogists are happy to find that on most church, notarial, burial and even on census records, she was recorded under her maiden name, such as Marie Forgeron [Mary Smith]. So French-Canadian research is often so much fun, even for those unfamiliar with the French language.