What could an "X" under 'Spouse's Previous Husband's Name' mean?


In this marriage record on FamilySearch, there is an "X" for 'Spouse's Previous Husband's Name'. What makes this significant is that the groom, Daniel Gebhard(t?), might have been married twice. If the X has any meaning, it could shed some light on whether he was actually married twice and how the first marriage ended, among other information.

My first thought was that it could be a 'N/A' type mark. However, after finding the death certificate, I'm starting to think it might have been to protect privacy or something else. What could the X mean?

American Luke

Posted 2013-10-04T00:59:28.717

Reputation: 2 447

Note that the X is in a field relating to the bride of this record, not the groom. – bgwiehle – 2013-10-04T13:13:49.843

Looking over my evidence again, I think Rob was right. Elisabetha was likely married twice, not Daniel. Right now, I'm trying to find evidence of a first marriage. – American Luke – 2013-10-04T16:02:24.767



This "Spouse's Previous Husband's Name" is a standard field in FamilySearch marriage index records so it presumably has a standard interpretation. Unfortunately that doesn't seem to be documented, at least as far as I could find. I have never noticed a nonblank entry there and looking through some records, including from the same source as Gebhardt's, found no others.

I would interpret the "X" as a "check" meaning "Yes, the spouse's surname is that of a previous husband of hers (and thus not her maiden surname)". How that fact is known from the source record is not clear. If you are interested, I'd suggest ordering the microfilm (1187116) of the record to view at a local Family History Center.


Posted 2013-10-04T00:59:28.717

Reputation: 3 808


Given the fact that this source is a conglomeration of other records, I wouldn't put much stock in a single "X".

Sometimes, the proper meaning of a value is "lost in translation" when mapped from one data source, with its own fields, to another.

Without seeing the original record, there is no telling where the X came from, or even if it represents something on the original form.

It could be something as simple as someone's "mark" that got transcribed to the wrong field because it was "under" their printed name.


Posted 2013-10-04T00:59:28.717

Reputation: 794