2.5.1 Married Women Not Primarily Known As Authors


This policy gives guidance for establishing the names of married women not primarily known as authors. It was formulated to address the problem of establishing the names of married women from early Mormon history who are often known to their descendants by their birth names. However it can be applied to any married woman not primarily known as an author.


  1. The authorized forms of names are chosen on the basis of the preferred name for the person (RDA 9.2.2). For persons not primarily known as authors (i.e., nearly all the names in the digital library), evidence of this form is gathered from reference sources. (RDA A published reference source is preferred, but in the absence of this, familysearch.org and ancestry.com are also acceptable reference sources.
  2. In the case of married women, the assumption is that her (final) married name is the most commonly known form, so that name will be used in the absence of evidence to the contrary.

Based on these two principles, if an explicit form is found using the last married name (e.g., in a reference source, a census, a diary, etc.), that form will be used as the basis for the authorized form. If no such form is found, the name will be constructed as outlined below.


  1. Try to find information about the woman in a published source such as LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, Pioneer Women of Faith and Fortitude, or Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah. Use the form found in such a reference source if it exists. If not found there, but a form using the last married name has been found in another source (such as a diary or census), use that form. (Note: extensive research is not required or encouraged beyond the published sources, but if you already happen to know about a form in these other sources, use it.)
  2. In the absence of such evidence, look up the person in ancestry.com or familysearch.org. (You can also search here even if you already found something in step 1, if you need dates)
  3. Assume the last married name is the preferred name unless other evidence is found (e.g., the form found in LDS Biographical Encyclopedia or another published source, or a census, etc.).
  4. In the absence of other evidence, establish the name as follows:
    [Married surname], [Birth name in direct order as found in ancestry.com or familysearch.org], [dates if available]
  5. Give a reference (400) based on the exact form of her birth name found.
  6. Do not give references from intervening married names (i.e., if the woman was married more than once), unless there is strong reason to believe that library users might try to find her using this form.


Elizabeth Brown is not found in a standard reference source. Ancestry.com gives her form ( birth name) as follows: Elizabeth Crosby. It also informs us that she was married to John Brown. We also learn her dates are 1822-1906. Her name would be formed:

100 1- Brown, Elizabeth Crosby, ǂd 1822-1906

with a reference from

400 1- Crosby, Elizabeth, ǂd 1822-1906 [note this is taken from the exact form found in ancestry.com]

Inger Hatton is not found in a standard reference source. Ancestry.com gives her form (birth name) as follows: Inger Julia Johnson. It also informs us that she was married to Hyrum Edward Hatton and that her dates were 1875-1959. Her name is formed:

100 1- Hatton, Inger Julia Johnson, ǂd 1875-1959

with a reference from

400 1- Johnson, Inger Julia, ǂd 1875-1959 [note this is taken from the exact form found in ancestry.com]

Ruby Birch is not found in a standard reference source. Familysearch gives her form (birth name) as follows: Ruby Wilhelmina Brydson. It also informs us that she was married to Ralph Birch. In addition, ancestry.com gives the form “Ruby Birch” in various censuses. In this case, there is evidence (the censuses) that she was known as “Ruby Birch.” Therefore, because we have evidence for the form of her name with her married surname, we won’t piece together the name as we did in the previous two examples. Her authority record will be formed:

100 1- Birch, Ruby, ǂd 1882-1966 [note this form is taken from the form found in the census]

400 1- Brydson, Ruby Wilhelmina, ǂd 1882-1966 [note this is taken from the exact form found in familysearch]


Evidence used to construct the authority record should be given in 670 fields. Here are some examples of notes based on sources that might typically be used for names in the digital library:

670 ancestry.com, February 2, 2019 ǂb (Zella K. Johnson; Lozella Kirby; born April 26, 1897 in Huntington, Utah; died September 4, 1954 in Vernal, Utah; married Rolla Virgil Johnson on April 8, 1914)

670 LDS biographical encyclopedia, 1901: ǂb page 469 (Godfrey, Fannie A., married James Godfrey Dec. 23, 1880; born Dec. 9, 1856 at Powick Worcestershire, England; daughter of James Jones and Ann Brooks; dressmaker; emigrated to America in 1879; [still alive at time of publication])

670 FamilySearch.org, January 26, 2019 ǂb (Harriet Elizabeth Laney; born 4 October 1883 in Lee’s Ferry, Coconino, Arizona, United States; died 9 August 1947 in Phoenix, Maricopa, Arizona, United States; married to Arthur Hardin Slaughter)

Maintained by: Elizabeth Tobiasson

Location / Hours

The Catalog Department is located on Level 6 of the Harold B. Lee Library. The Department is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.