Record unmarried mothers

For my research I am wanting to record unmarried mothers and the number of children they had in a meaningful way.

  • I started to register these with a ‘General’ event, enter a date (if known) and enter a description ‘was unmarried when child was born’
    This has as a side-effect that I can not re-use the event for other mothers because the date is fixed now.
    -I made a custom event ‘unmarried when child was born’. Which I found unsatisfactory bc being unmarried is not really an event. Although this in the end seemed to be the most meaningful way to record this information. But the question rose 'am I recording one person (the mother) with all her children (being born when she was unmarried) in one go? In other words those mother get one event if she has multiple children out of wedlock? OR do I give her however many events she needs? I tend to the first (this mom had x children out of wedlock), This would mean several separate events. One for each number of children to record…
    -I also tried using a single reference (to be shared by all unmarried mums) adding the date not in the shared information but in the reference-information. Which makes it harder to easily group and sort on date. And does leave out the number of born children.

So there we are. I have not decided yet which way to go. All have pro’s and cons. If any of you has a creative idea (or what ever you’d like to share on this) I would like to know.

Gramps AIO64-5.1.6-1, Win10

I have an unmarried great-great-grandmother, for whom hearsay says that her children were from her landlord, and for me the context says all, meaning that I don’t use any special attributes or events, but simply register her relation to him as unmarried, which is a valid relationship type in Gramps.

And with context I mean, that in her case, all known children have her surname, so the situation is quite clear.

This is her profile on FamilySearch:

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Oh thanks, that’s very simple and effective. Just not thought about that

One of my great-great-grandmothers was unmarried when her first child was born, but later she married the father of the child and then they had several more children together.

A problem with the family type of “Unmarried”, “Married”, “Divorced” is that it cannot tell you what it was at the time of each child’s birth. For that, you would have to compare marriage dates and birth dates. Another potential complication could be that the parents were married, but not to each other, or that they were married but the husband was not the father.

Many historical birth or baptism records indicate whether the child’s birth was “legitimate”. You could store that as an attribute on the birth event. A custom filter could find the parents of children having a birth event with that attribute.

But all of that can be accounted for by using the standard record keeping in Gramps. Even with unknown marriage and birth, you can use estimates (e.g., marriage date = “est after Apr 1890”, birth date = “est betw 1885 and Feb 1890” ) for the marriage. And you can specify which relationships were biological as opposed to social conventions.

If Gramps cannot implicitly resolve these kinds of (common) questions of legitimacy, it is better to ask for a core enhancement rather then create band-aids with an explicit event. Workaronds should be temporary.

So now I add a child only to the mum (birth) and further down drag the child into the marriage and at the same time register the legal name change… I’ll try that out and see what happens, at least Gramps will let me do that (I tried)

Ok that was not a perfect idea.
It did work, showing the child having two families. One for the mother at birth and one for after the mother got married. Which is not very intuitive.
BUT the child is now also shown as having two set of parents
Mother and unknown father
Mother and her husband.
Which looks very confusing to me. Back to the drawing board

I think that a lot depends on the actual context. What I mean is, that if the biological father is known, and later married the mother, the easiest way is to attach the child to that couple, one time. And then, you can see that the marriage date is later than the child’s birth. Same if they never married.

If the father is not known, you can attach the child to a 1 person family, with the mother, and is she married another man later, attach it to that family too, with a relation type adopted to the husband in that marriage.

There may be more situations, like a known biological father, in which case I use two families, one for the formal parents, and another for the biological ones.

This person has the most interesting and complex story attached to her out of all my research. She elopes young with a man 23 yrs her senior. After a long journey (nearly through the whole of our country) she finally arrives still unmarried in Rotterdam and has a baby boy who dies after a year. 4 more children follow during the next 10 yrs, all without known father. Along the way two men are mentioned, but she doesn’t marry. Then finally she marries a tailor who acknowledges all four children. Together they get an additional five children. So we have 1 boy attached just to mum, 4 children firstly to mum, then attached to the new family when she marries. And added a further 5 to this same marriage.

I think that there are so many possible combinations that it will be hard to find a process that works for all

Just found a couple that had 3 children. The husband is sent to Australia as an inmate and 3 years later the woman has a child who she gives the last name of the husband. I believe the father was the boarder living with her at the time. The Baptism record shows no father. And it could not be her husband as he marries a woman in Australia that year. I have not discovered any divorce record. I wounded if she believed she was still married and he became a bigamist.

Personaly, I create one family by child with an unknow father. We are not supposed to say they have the same father.
You will get the following: