A-Z Challenge Surnames X

No surprise we have no X surnames….

What starts with X?  Well…sounds like X?


I’ve been pretty lucky with this one. We really don’t have any ex-spouses in our tree believe it or not! We have some spouses who just took off and left, some who died, some who disappeared, some who took off and remarried without divorcing too!

When it comes to putting together your family tree, where do you put ex-spouses?

I would think that they are still a part of that family, but in some cases it may be a case where it was a nasty or messy break up and the person is persona non grata (or unwelcome).

If the ex-spouse is the parent of children in the tree than I would most definitely think they should be included in my report if I were making one up for a client. I would have a frank chat with the client and ask if this would be ok of course. There could be a case of abuse or neglect and the ex is someone no one wants to remember…then what do you do? I would defer to the client.

I had a situation where a spouse tried to kill his wife, and it made the papers. She survived and he ended up taking his own life. It was a very, very tragic story of depression, despair and mental illness. However, this occurred in the mid 1800s and all parties, including children, grandchildren and great grandchildren were deceased. The client was informed and she told me to include this “ex” (even though they were not officially divorced as this was very rare in these days) because, as she put it, “all families are made up of nuts and bolts and this was over 200 years ago so go for it!”.

I went ahead and put together the family tree report which was a gift for each of her grown sons who live all around the world. Three of the sons were very intrigued and thought it was a fascinating bit of family history. One son contacted me to tell me that it was indeed fascinating BUT he was not ever going to show it to HIS children. He didn’t want them to know they had a potential murderer in their family history!

So you see, it really is all about perception. I did the right thing by asking the client what she wished I should do and I still ended up hurting someone’s sensibilities. It’s a fine line!

Do you have any situations in your family history that could make this a difficult decision?

About tiesthatbindsite

I'm a genealogist with a passion for Scottish and English ancestry. I'm trilingual so I can also do research in French Canadian records and Italian records. My love for family history began 35 years ago and continues to grow every day. My family is very important to me and I hope to instill in them a love for "where they came from" so that they can better understand who they are. I also want to share my love of family history with anyone who understands how important it is to not lose site of their ancestors. They all have a story to tell.
This entry was posted in April 2016- A-Z Challenge and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to A-Z Challenge Surnames X

  1. ScotSue says:

    A very interesting post for the tricky X letter. I had never thought abut the issue of Ex Spouses before and the ethical issues that can arise in presenting research.

    Family History Fun

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I hadn’t considered ex-spouses and whether they should be included in family trees.

    Thank you for sharing this very interesting post. Good luck with the rest of the challenge. Almost there!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very interesting. I can see how that could be a dilemma — to tell or not to tell about the past. I’m not aware of any such situations in my family, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole truth was kept under wraps. 🙂
    Great article, enjoyed reading it. And good choice for X.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s