My father Alan Arthur Dear married my mother in Jaffa in 1946. Her name was Ruth Schonberg. I have however found 2 records of marriage for him in Jaffa in 1946. One to Ruth Schonberg and one to Ruth Sborowitzova. How can I find out why this should be?

I found both entries on Findmypast. They just showed a marriage record to Alan Arthur Dear in Jaffa 1946. I have no knowledge of my mother having been married before but this could well be an explanation. I can't find any info on Sborowitzova

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    Hello, Dierdre and welcome. We have a policy on this site not to name living people to protect their privacy so for the benefit of others reading this I'll confirm I've found death for both individuals named. I also note that Schonberg is a German (Jewish) name and Sborowitzova seems to be Czech.
    – user104
    Aug 31, 2016 at 15:55
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    Might she have married before she married your father -- that's the usual explanation for a woman having two names at marriage.
    – user104
    Aug 31, 2016 at 15:59
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    If you could tell us what records you've actually consulted, or better still post images so we can assess them ourselves, that will be very helpful. There's an edit button under your question that will let you make changes.
    – user104
    Aug 31, 2016 at 16:15
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    Zborovice (Sborowitz in German) is a place (now) in the Czech Republic. Sborowtzova would (I think, but I'm hoping an expert will come along) the female version of a surname based on the place name.
    – user104
    Sep 1, 2016 at 12:00

2 Answers 2


I presume when you say "2 records of marriage" you mean two entries in a marriage index; there is almost certainly only one record, and purchasing it (which can be done directly through the GRO; going through third parties only adds to the cost) would tell you exactly what the situation was.

The way that bmd records, including consular registrations, were indexed only allows for a single surname to be listed per 'entry'. So if a person is described as having/using more than one surname, there is no way to reflect than in the index except repeating the index entry multiple times, one for each name.

I'm also presuming the two entries have the same reference (volume/page) numbers, if they do not then something more out of the ordinary is going on.

Why is she listed twice, then?

It is unlikely in my opinion that it was because married before and widowed. Previous married names may be listed on the certificate, but widows are normally only indexed under their 'current' name at marriage.

In cases like this, there are two main potential reasons: one, that she was divorced, as divorcees usually appear under both married and maiden names on the index. Two, and probably the most likely in this case, that she was simply known by both names, Sborowitzova perhaps being her family's original name and Schonberg a Germanised variant, for example.

  • Hello. This seems to be a logical explanation. Much appreciated Sep 1, 2016 at 6:16
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    @DeirdreDear I'm not totally convinced by this explanation of a Germanised surname, as she was born in Stuttgart in 1916? I see the marriage appears in both the GRO Index of Army Marriages (where she is indexed as Sborowitzova) and the Index of GRO Consular Marriages, where she is indexed as both. Do you have copies of both certificates, as they may throw a different light. Also, I think it worth asking a separate question about the possibility of one name being a germanised version of the other. I still think a previous marriage is more likely.
    – user104
    Sep 1, 2016 at 10:59
  • Hi. Yes she was born in Stutgart in1916. I only have a birth certificate in the name Schonberg. Father Schulem Feiwel and mother Schneindel Matel nee Buch. I have been unable to trace any info on them either? Sep 1, 2016 at 16:09

It may be worth mentioning that whether a widow remarrying is indexed under both her maiden name and her current (pre 2nd marriage) name depends on the custom and practice of the people compiling the index. It may well be the case that the standard GRO index for England and Wales indexes only once (I've never checked!) but I know that my 4G-GM is indexed twice on Staffordshire BMD when she remarried as a widow. But this is a locally compiled index, not the GRO one.

I have always felt that Consular BMD records are a law unto themselves so their indexing practice might be different.

The only way to find out is to send for the certificate but send for the one that has two names in the index. You may need to read up carefully how to do this - my guess would be that you go through the GRO ordering screens but don't use the normal option.

Somehow you need to specify that you need the Consular marriage not the Army marriage.

  • Will do. I would like to understand the reason for the double entry. Sep 5, 2016 at 16:15

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