Recording Children in Complex Families


This article was prompted by, among others, a query in Rootsweb.

“George is married to Anne and they have children. Anne dies and George then marries Jane. Jane already has two children but their father is unknown. George and Jane then have two children of their own. How do I show this in Family Historian?”

(Although the screenshots below are from an earlier version the process is still valid.)

The Family Historian Sample Project illustrates multiple partnerships of Anthony Edward MUNRO who is married to both Julia Amanda FISH and Susan Isabel DOWLING, who is also married to Nigel ANDERSON.

See the ƒh book Getting the Most From Family Historian in Chapter 2. Editing Records with the Property Box on about pages 23-25 where it says Spouse Tabs and Add Spouse, etc.

Procedure for entering all people involved

Enter George and Anne as per normal. The properties dialogue box should be showing your George married to Anne on 1st tab and their children underneath.


Clink on the tab next to Anne and add Jane’s details on 2nd tab.

Click on Jane’s tab (the chevron button to the right) to open her dialogue box.

Now enter Jane’s previous husband/partner under Spouse, simply leave it blank if unknown or a dummy entry such as “Male /(Unknown)/” dependant on your preferences.


Jane’s box should now also show two tabs, one for her previous husband/partner and one for George. Ensuring that the tab open is Jane’s and previous partner (or Jane alone) enter the children of that relationship.

They will not show up as George’s.

The chronological order of the partners can be amended through use of the arrows at the right hand side above the spouses.

Finally, it may be that you do not wish to create records for non-blood relatives (e.g. Jane’s previous children) in which case it might suit you to enter the children in a Note field.

Although any of the couples may have no Marriage Event, some Reports still say they did marry. The correction is to change the Status on the appropriate Spouse tab to Unmarried Couple or Never Married, then the Report will just say they had a relationship.

Last update: 22 Feb 2024