I would like to write a narrative sentence describing the names and birth and death dates of a given individual. Would it be acceptable to put the wife's maiden name, followed by the dates, within one set of parentheses? Example: John Smith was the son of Robert (1702-1758) and Jane (Baker, 1705-1750) Smith. What about italics for the maiden name?

3 Answers 3


What you do comes down to personal preference but I think it would be better to write your sentence like this:

John Smith was the son of Robert (1702-1758) and Jane (née Baker; 1705-1750) Smith.

The word "née" just means "born".


I find the bare name, e.g. "Baker", a bit jarring as its presence is unexpected and sometimes could be taken as something else, such as an occupation. Using "née", "maiden name", or perhaps "born", can help smooth this over.

An alternative I often use is this:

John Smith was the son of Jane Baker (1705-1750) and Robert Smith (1702-1758).


I normally record all my information like this:

John Smith 
Father: Robert Smith, born 1702, died 1758 
Mother: Jane (Baker) Smith, born 1705, died 1750.

I put the birth/maiden name in parenthesis. Nothing is in italics. You might want to use bold for the surnames.

Doing it this way allows for additional information, e.g. the place they were born or died, spouses, children, other events in their life, etc.

If I was going to phrase it as a sentence, then I'd say:

John Smith's father was Robert Smith who was born in 1702 and died in 1758. John's mother was Jane (Baker) Smith who was born in 1705 and died in 1750.

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