Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Sometimes Marriage Is Not Easy to Recognize

Michele Forsten reminds us that "S" on an official document can stand for "single" or "something else."

When I located my maternal grandfather in the 1920 federal census, I was puzzled by the "S" that clearly appeared in the box for his marital status; I had his marriage certificate to prove that he had been married to my grandma for about eight years by then.
Was the "S" simply a mistake? Or was there another reason it had been checked?

Questions with nobody left to answer them, but that "S" still lingers on as a historical record; its significance all too apparent in my own life. I've had to check off "single" on all kinds of official documents, even though I haven't been single for decades. [Link]
Forsten was married last summer to a person of the (gasp!) same sex, but her marriage is not recognized by the federal government. That means her marital status will not be recorded in the 2010 census.

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