Relationship in RM9

How do you solve the following case? Mary gave birth to a child out of wedlock, which was acknowledged by Paul, but Mary later married Franz. How should this be indicated to clarify the relationships?

This is an interesting scenario, and I have been grappling with this precise situation. So my thinking thus far:

  1. Record the “child” as a child of Paul & Mary - no marriage event. This captures the biological parental relationship, acknowledging Paul & Mary are not married. Thus this is family “1”.
  2. Have a separate family “2” recording marriage relationship of Mary & Franz.
  3. Two choices for relationship between “child” and Franz.
    a) Implied step-father - relationship is not explicitly captured - obviously not what you want.
    b) explicit step-father - use new association feature for individual “child” to record relationship of step-father / adopting father / guardian (whichever description appropriate), and link to individual record for Franz.

I’d be interested to know if there is another way to do it?

[Side note, in gedcom v7, it is defined that an association can be defined for a family structure (i.e. husband/wife couple relationship). So potentially, that may be another way for relationship between "child & Franz to be captured. However, I’m not aware that RM9 currently supports family associations?

To me, it will depend on whether Paul or Mary is the one related to me. If it is Paul, then add Mary as a ‘spouse’ with no date of marriage. Remember that RM refers to all couples as spouses when you create the relationship. I then add the child to the relationship and add a note to Mary stating that she later married Franz X and the date if known. I do this so that if in the future, the child is referred to by Franz’s surname, I know where it came from. I don’t do anything further in regards to Mary.

If Mary is my relative, then I add Paul as the ‘spouse’ and add the child. Franz gets added as a spouse and any children of Franz and Mary would be added as normal. If Paul later has more children that I find out about, then I add them to a a note for Paul. I do this so if I find an obituary or something for the child and it references survived by siblings, then I know who those people are.


At this point in time, RM does NOT support other family relationships such as ADOPTION, PARTNERS, GUARDIANS ( nor Godparents for anybody wondering)…

As far as Association in RM 9, you could make a CUSTOMIZED ASSOCIATION EVENT for step-child/ step-parent using the Godparent Association as a guide and changing a few words BUT Associations are NOT included in a regular gedcom nor a drag and drop – I have no idea IF it would work for familysearch since they are using gedcom v 7 which I am told does support associations— as for as RM 9, there are a lot of reports that Associations will show up in as long as you have the OPTION to check a box that says Include Associations in the report-- While I am seriously interested in using Associations, I think I will wait until RM updates it so that it can be imported thru a gedcom/ drop and drag…

As for another way to do this, you can make a CUSTOMIZED FACT for Step-Parent/ Step/Child–(or even Step-Father/ Step-Son etc if you so desire)–it’s just a little tricky to get it right–need help-- let me know.

As for drawbacks on Custom Facts especially since you would be using SHARED FACTS on this–if I understand right, some say that Shared Facts and Custom Facts can be lost when using a gedcom–I have never had any loss of data for custom or shared facts using a gedcom–whether it be from another genealogy software to RM or from RM 9 going back to RM 7 or 8–if however I used description on a basic fact such as marriage/witness, then I have to go in after creating the new file in RM 7 or RM 8 check mark description then edit my sentences and then the info magically appears…

That said Ancestry is a whole different thing–I don’t know abt Ancestry Tree Share, but if you upload a gedcom to Ancestry SHARED FACTS are NOT uploaded-- CUSTOM FACTS will upload on the ORIGINAL person ( such as step-dau in step-dau/step-mom) —if the info is under description such as Sue and Bob witnessed the marriage of? ( or you messed up and put it under PLACE such as lived 2521 Oregon Ave) that info will also upload to the ORIGINAL person BUT there does seem to be a limit of abt 100 words…

hope it helps

Thank you for providing a thorough, helpful explanation on option of using Custom Facts.

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@Simon @Handy --As far as RM goes, kfunk is correct that no matter what you do, RM will always show Mother/Father BUT there are several things you can do…

In my example Mel and Yoyo Doppler had a dau named Sue --Mel then married Sissy — so I added Sue to both couples-- then highlight Mel and Sissy Acorn and on the right side you can change the relationship of Sissy to Sue ( make sure you check the original parents afterwards are still marked as birth parents).

Then go to the family page for Mel and Sissy- on Mel’s edit page and highlight spouse Sissy-- and you can specify Sissy as WIFE and leave Yoyo on Mother–hit close
You can use the exact same techniques for an ADOPTION or any other family situation BUT since RM does NOT support any other type of family situation–it basically gets you nothing-- all reports would show Sissy as the MOTHER of Sue ( including kinship and relationship) EXCEPT for the Individual Summary REPORT
One other note Simon since you know that Paul and Mary never married–you could change Paul from husband to PARTNER on Mary’s page-THAT IS THE ONLY PLACE IT WILL SHOW UP but I like it as a reminder that I KNOW THEY WERE NEVER MARRIED–if you don’t know the name of the child’s other parent, you can leave it blank instead of UNKNOWN SPOUSE and the only report that will use UNKNOWN SPOUSE is the descendant view.
So why mess with it if RM doesn’t support other family situations? – because if you open a gedcom in RM 7/ RM 8, the same info will be there EXCEPT PARTNERS in RM 7-- if you upload a gedcom to ANCESTRY— it will show on Sue’s family page that Sissy is her STEP- parent and on an adopted child, it will show Adoptive parents…

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Thank you again for going above and beyond with your generous feedback. Really appreciate it, awesome!

Per your response to my original post, about RM does not support family associations at this point in time. Further scrutiny into the Gedcom v7 standard has revealed that associations are also defined for fact/event level as well. So, until RM supports Gedcom v7, it’s a wait and see on whether we will get to use marriage and event associations.

It appears that recent addition of association capability in RM is basically a catch up with Gedcom v5.5.1 standard, associations for individuals only.

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