Jersey Names, Personal
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Jersey law has always treated the surname of a wife in the following fashion:
- Jeanne Renouf, wife of Francois Le Sueur
This is in no small part due to the fact that until relatively recently, there were a very small number of forenames and surnames in common use, and the likelihood of there being (say) more than one Jeanne Renouf was very high indeed!
The way that this is actually recorded is somewhat variable:
- Parish registers of burials follow the convention.
- Subsequently to 1842, when deaths are registered, registration is indexed in the wife's maiden name, her surname at the tme of her death, and any other surname(s) by which she has been known. To put it mildly, for a family historian this is an absolute Godsend.
- Official records of court (eg contracts of property, wills) followed the convention until very recently, but in modern times the formulation is more likely to be married name, née maiden name (and formerly former surname where this is applicable).
- The one place where the wife's surname is almost guaranteed to be her husband's is in the 1841-1911 Censuses. Even there, in some cases the wife gives her maiden name, and the enumerator records it as such.