Still a Man’s World

I just read a blog post about mothers in England and Wales finally being listed on their children’s marriage certificates.

All I could think was, “Really? Mothers carry their children inside them for ten months (average pregnancy is 38-42 weeks = 10 months by my math), labor for hours (sometimes days) to bring them into the world, and they are only just now being included on the record when that child marries?”

I’m not even going to touch the fact that frequently most of the heavy lifting of raising a child is done by the mother.

In the eyes of the law, it appears we have remained, at least in England and Wales, mere vessels for a man’s progeny.

Leaving such misogyny aside, it’s irresponsible and shortsighted to only record half the information. As a genealogist, I regularly experience firsthand the difficulty of finding records for the women in a family tree. A certificate that lists a woman’s full maiden name can the key to another generation of ancestors

I just checked my parent’s marriage certificate. It lists both parents on both sides (including my grandmas’ maiden names).

Then I looked at my grandparents’ records. For my paternal grandma and grandpa, I have only a copy of the marriage register, and the only names listed are theirs. For my mom’s parents, I have three certificates, all in different formats. Not one lists Grandma and Grandpa’s parents.

My guess is this lack of information has more to do with differences in location and time than anything. Here in the US, we are nothing if not inconsistent in our record keeping. 🙄

I know this is a bit of a rant, but this sort of thing sets me off.

Especially since it came immediately after I spent twenty minutes at the grocery store behind a man who spent the whole time yelling at his wife. And while I admit I can, at times, be prone to exaggeration, this is not one of those times.

I happened to walk in behind them, and he immediately began shouting at her to hurry up.

The store was crowded so I was stuck behind them all the way around it and in the sole open register line.

The guy never stopped haranguing her.

She said she liked something.

Nobody likes that,” was his loud reply.

At one point, she replied just as nastily that he should shut up.

Still, he was a constant aggressor making me hope I would be gone before they left and wouldn’t be on the road with him (making the short leap to assuming he was the type of guy who would insist on being in control of the car).

If that’s how they are in public, how are they at home? And how on earth can anyone live like that?


End of rant.

Your reward for reading it is this picture of a gorgeous Redbud tree I saw on yesterday’s walk.

12 thoughts on “Still a Man’s World

  1. Rant fully justified. If they can put the information on the birth certificate, why not the marriage certificate?
    By the way, I’m going to try referring to myself as a Mere Vessel for a bit, to see how much rude cackling I can provoke from the feisty ladies in my Tai Chi class….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The change is loooonnnngggg overdue. I never understood why the mother’s name wasn’t recorded on the marriage certificate. I’m sure I am not the only researcher who has found cases where the father turns out not to be the biological father. There is usually less doubt about the mother, yet there is no record. This will help future researchers, but not those of us who have brick walls due to the lack of a mother’s name on the marriage certificate.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know. I couldn’t believe this was a new thing, and not only from a genealogical perspective, though heaven knows it’s hard enough to trace female ancestors (lots of brick walls in my own tree because of this). It’s like reading the Swiss Army is now going to issue the female soldiers with women’s underwear ( Until now, they’ve had to wear men’s. Apparently, they want to attract more female recruits. I have to admit I’d still be reluctant to join a service where it wasn’t obvious from the start that women should be able to wear women’s underwear.

      I do my genealogy, and I piece together my ancestors’ lives, and I think how much my life is different from the women (and men) who came before me. Then I come across news articles like these, and I think, “Some things haven’t changed at all.”

      Liked by 2 people

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