In England, if a widow remarries, is the marriage record more likely to show her maiden name, or the married name from her previous marriage (circa 1820)?. From what I understand, in Scotland, a widow would use her maiden name, but I don't know the practice in England.

Specifically, I have this record showing that a widow, Maria Morgan, married James Marshall in 1822. I'm trying to determine if it is more likely that "Morgan" is her maiden name, or the last name of her deceased husband.

4 Answers 4


So far as I remember in my data, it's always her current name prior to the marriage about to take place. NB I haven't constructed a query to check this out but that's how it seems to go. I definitely tweaked the text schemes on my diagrams to cope with this.

I'd rephrase your comment about Scots marriages, by the way. It's not that they explicitly record her maiden name on a 2nd marriage, rather that her "official" name throughout her life, was her maiden name. Or even after her life on her gravestone.

As in all cases, there are exceptions, I'm sure and I wouldn't care to be at all pedantic in Scotland about whether it's a birth name or maiden name that gets used.


I'd agree with @AdrianB38's answer: in my experience, the current name tends to be used. It's certainly possible that a woman might revert to her maiden name after being widowed, but I don't recall seeing it happen (yet, in admittedly limited experience). So I'd expect that "Morgan" was the surname of Maria's deceased husband.

As an example, there is a woman in my tree (born Phoebe Crawley) who married three times:

  1. Phoebe Crawley married Samuel Williams
  2. Phoebe Williams married George Parry
  3. Phoebe Parry married Henry Butler

The third record includes Phoebe's father's name (John Crawley), which can be a helpful way to trace a multiply-married woman back to her maiden name. Many records don't have it, though.

An image of James Marshall and Maria Morgan's marriage record is in fact available on FindMyPast, but it does not include the fathers' names. The witness names are hard to read, but I think are "Mary Noake" and something like "James Sligo" in case that helps.


I have two of these and both their marriage certificates show the married with the surname of their husband BUT they have previously .... showing their maiden name.

So, for example Georgina Squelch previously Copping.

I have another who married three times and that has formerly ..... as well.

So all three of mine do list the maiden name as well but they married using their previously married surname.


No, it would not list the Maiden name of the woman. From 1837 onwards it would be likely to list the name, trade or profession of the father of both parties on the marriage certificate. However that would be too late in this instance. If you would care to let me have the basics of the information on the case that are already known to you. So that I do not cover any of same ground as already known to you I could try to see, if I can extend back the coverage on your behalf.

  • 1
    I think the "basics of the information on the case" have already been provided by the asker in their question.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Oct 26, 2016 at 2:16

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