Lidija Sambunjak, professional genealogist

Be careful not to miss a widower

A family from the US contacted me, and asked if I could do the research on their great grandfather from Croatia. They didn’t know much about him, but they had an unconfirmed piece of information that great grandfather’s marriage from which their branch of the family came into existence wasn’t the only one he had. They also suspected that his wife was also married before.

When I looked into the records, I realized that they were mistaken about their great grandmother. She got married when she was 24, and was not a widow, let alone divorced. (Divorces were unheard of before 1900’s, so she must have been a virgin.) But her husband was sixty two, and the record clearly stated that he had been married before.

Careful examination

So I looked further. When had his previous marriage taken place? Only two years prior to that! Poor man, his previous wife died soon after they got married. But the interesting thing is that that was not the end of my research. I realized that he was married twice more, first time at the age of twenty one, and the second at the age of 53! He had eleven children from four marriages. This was a wonderful news for my client!

So, as we do the genealogical research, we should carefully examine each of the records. If I haven’t paid attention to the fact that next to the person’s name was a note written that he had been a widower, I would have not looked deeper down into his family tree.

Sincerely yours,

Lidija Sambunjak
professional genealogist