Looking at a Baptism transcript I came across this:

Mother Late Spinster

Does it mean she is married or that her husband has died (which would be a worry as she has had 8 children since then!)

  • It didn't include as in quotes.... It said Mother Late Spinster
    – Angie B
    May 24, 2019 at 17:13
  • Welcome to G&FH SE! As a new user be sure to take the Tour to learn about our focussed Q&A format which is quite different from bulletin boards, discussion forums and other Q&A sites you may be used to. Where and when was this written? Was the name of the child and/or the mother likely to be a non-unique name in that area at that time? A reference/link to and an image of that entry would be useful to see.
    – PolyGeo
    May 24, 2019 at 20:30
  • 2
    What is the location and date for this baptism? Can you see any other entries in the register that have a notation like this?
    – Jan Murphy
    May 25, 2019 at 3:13

2 Answers 2


The word late can just mean "previously" as in Wiktionary's sense 7 of the word:

Existing or holding some position not long ago, but not now; departed, or gone out of office.

It is sometimes seen on a certificate where somebody (usually a women) has had multiple names, for example "Jane Smith late Jones formerly Wheeler" so I would guess that is the meaning we are dealing with here.

That said "late Spinster" would appear to be a statement of the obvious in that all married women were once spinsters... Is it perhaps trying to say that the child being baptised was born before the marriage?


I would interpret that as telling me that the Mother had died (was Late) and was unmarried before she died. But that doesn't fit if she subsequently has 8 children -- are you sure that this is a child of the same mother?

Another possibility is that the child was conceived or even born while the mother was still a Spinster -- how close is the baptism to the marriage?

  • That's what I thought but the father is on Baptism record and there is also a record of their marriage. Thanks for quick reply
    – Angie B
    May 24, 2019 at 17:30
  • I will keep digging and double check.... As always you find something and then cant find it again - smh
    – Angie B
    May 24, 2019 at 17:42

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