Parents not married

There are several women in my database who did not marry the father of their child. RM and most other gen programs insist on calling them an “Unknown Spouse.” This is a misnomer because they were never married. Is there a way to remove the “unknown spouse” designation and create another designation such as “unknown Father?” Or just leave it blank. I’d prefer to put something in that slot, but not something that will cause people to think they need to find a husband for the poor girl. Also, why does the marriage fact only go to the husband on the family view screen? I have Win10Pro and RM9. Thanks for your consideration.

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@martisiq – you can actually leave the father blank-- to do this, you have to add the child first, then add mother–select existing person if already in database-- then if the mother had more than one child, you would add additional kids to her page-- When done this way, the only place UNKNOWN SPOUSE shows up is in the descendant view…
Reports will say Sally Smith had the following kids and then it will list the kids…

You can also name the unknown spouse something such as Given name ???/Unknown Surname ???/Unknown ( father of Joe Smith)-- if you use ??? for the surname, it will show up in the beginning of your index–if you use UNKNOWN, it will show up near the end of the index. Lots of people do this lots of ways, so just play with it and decide what you like as there is no right or wrong–it’s your database…

you can choose alternate relationships for parents-- - it doesn’t get you anything as RM does NOT support the other relationships and the use of step-father/ step-mother/ adoptive parents etc BUT it will transfer up to Ancestry…
You have to add the unknown spouse however you like as far as name goes then open the edit screen for the unknown spouse or the mother-- pick spouse at top of screen left side --on right side you will see near the top where it says FATHER THEN MOTHER— you can click on the down arrow by Father and change to Husband, Partner or Other-- Hit okay

Have no idea why marriage only shows up under hubby-- maybe it has to do with the reports as the report will list the info for the first person then the couple info and then the spouse info–marriage is a shared fact and the good news is that in RM 9, you can add a marriage to either the hubby or the wife and it will show up on the hubby’s info-- that didn’t always happen in previous versions…

As for your Unknown Father and marriage,- there are 2 ways to handle it
Mom using NO SPOUSE LISTED— you have to create a custom fact NEVER MARRIED – it won’t show on her family page BUT will on reports and on her edit page, so you and others will know for sure she NEVER MARRIED the father of this child…
Other way–again list the unknown spouse as you wish, pick Marriage fact and then customize it at bottom of page and add NEVER in front of marriage-- then using the description to add birth of son John Smith, you will have a sentence that reads
Unknown ?? ( father of John Smith) and Sally Smith were never married in May 1899 in London England before the birth of son John…

Thanks for your reply. I will have to read through it several times before I try to change anything. I’m new to Roots Magic. I used Family Origins v.8 until it refused to export a gedcom correctly. Broke my heart. I’m not sure how I feel about RM yet. Seems a little cumbersome. Anyway. I’m surprised RM does not support other forms of parental relationships i.e., step, adopted, foster. That’s crazy! Thanks again for your help.

Don’t be surprised. There is some logic behind what RM does or doesn’t do. It is logic you may not like, but it never the less exists. Rootsmagic is genealogical software. Genealogy is blood focused, not family focused. Step, adopted and foster are family relationships, not blood relationships. In the past, RM didn’t even allow for same sex marriages for this reason (and possibly other reasons too).

At this point, while not supported to the extent people might want, you can still enter the family relationships, they just don’t get used in certain reports. Again, this may be due to the blood vs. family situation. Certain RM reports are based on report standards by certain genealogy focused organizations. I am not overly certain that those organizations have allowed for the inclusion of family (not blood) to the extent we might want.

I take no sides on this argument, I am just giving a possible explanation as to why there is something you might see as a deficiency in the program and that argument is simply a strict interpretation of genealogy as opposed to family history, since they are not the same thing.

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Thanks for a good reminder that RM is genealogy versus family oriented!

You could use a genogram program to do that. One is located at this site. This one is not free but there are several free ones available. At any rate, this site has some nice examples of what genograms look like.

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Seems like not being able to show how parents and children other than natural born are related would fly in the face of a true “genealogy” program. Since genealogy is the study of ancestry or family history, the child whose biology is not dependent upon the parents shown, should be listed correctly as someone other than their biological child. That’s just my take on the topic so don’t feel the need to justify RM’s position any further. Different strokes. Thanks for responding.

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It is behaving as a true “genealogy” program. You are confusing genealogy for family history. As I previously mentioned, they are NOT the same.

I also stated that I am not favoring either side here so it does no good to snark at me.

I simply have read this battle being played out several times over the years and across many versions of RM. It hasn’t changed so far, nor do I expect it to in the near future.

Sorry @martisiq I forgot to say to make a backup of your file BEFORE doing anything… if you have any problems with what I said, you can always send me a personal message --click on my name and you will see message or post on here again…

@kfunk Sorry, I didn’t think I was snarking. I was just stating my reaction to RM’s choice not to include other parent-child relationship choices in the program. Its a shame; but I also wonder if it has to do with some of the online gen sites and whether they actually allow different choices. Whatever the reason, it’s their program and who are we to say what they should or should not include or exclude. Cheers!

@nkess Thanks for the heads-up! I will backup before I mess with it.

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Genealogy is one discipline that makes up the broader discipline of family history. They are not the same thing.

Sort of like the years and years of historical research that Shelby Foote undertook before he could write his three-volume history of the US Civil War. Doing the research and writing the story are two separate things.

For what its worth in the UK, they would be known as ‘common law’ husband and wife.

Same goes for the US in the earlier times-- actually common law was recognized as valid until at least the 1980s in the US-- not so anymore as I understand…

There are 7 states and DC that fully recognize common law marriage with full spousal rights in US; there are 14 other states that recognize common law marriage but with limited spousal rights.

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I created a fact that “Never Married”, but it still shows up as spouse #… , under description, I put whatever facts, like only high school sweethearts, or UNKNOWN

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Your understanding is incorrect. There are 8 or 9 states that do recognize it in some form. My state, Iowa, is among them. However in many cases, just living together does not constitute a common law marriage. If I recall correctly, Iowa requires cohabitation, representing yourself publicly as married and something else. I used to have a landlord that was a lawyer way back in the day. She clued me in on it.

In Norway, it has for a long time become more and more common for a couple to live together without being married, some marry after a few years of cohabitation. To cover it up, I established two facts many years ago.

Cohabitation: [Person] <and [Spouse] entered> into cohabitation<[Date]> <[Place]. [Desc]

Cohabitation ceased: [Person] <and [Spouse] ceased their cohabitation. <[Date]> <[Place]> [Desc]

t doesn’t matter how long you and your partner have been together, your cohabitation arrangement cannot be considered a marriage under common law because common law marriage does not exist in England and Wales. You do not have same rights as married couples particularly around finances, property and children Consider making a will and getting a cohabitation agreement to protect your interests.