Friday, August 25, 2017

Tip: Finding how many times an ancestor married with census notes

When an ancestor marries multiple times there can often be a lot of confusion if you are unaware of more than one marriage. When tracing the lineage of a female ancestor it can mean the difference between finding her real maiden name and running into a brick wall. Census Notes were small notations census takers made to make counting various statistics later easier. Most of these are pretty useless, but occasionally there are notes that provide valuable information. I have been noticing on several different censuses that sometimes the census taker would note down the number of marriages the person has had. This isn't true for all censuses of course but it's certainly something to look out for.

The way the number of marriages is notated is a number after the "M" (standing for 'married') in the census sections about whether a person is single, married, widowed, or divorced. Here are some examples:
Picture of an 'M1' on a census page

This one is listed as 'M1' indicating the person is on their first marriage.

'M2' tells you that the person is on their second marriage.

'M4' means that this person was on their 4th marriage.

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