How to List Maiden Names in an Obituary + Examples


An obituary is not a required legal document, so there aren’t any official guidelines of how they should be written or where they should be published. However, this doesn’t mean that writing an obituary for a loved one (or having one written) should be a task that is overlooked. 

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We know that there’s a lot to do when someone dies. We also understand that not everyone is comfortable with their writing skills. However, take the necessary steps to ensure that an obituary gets written to honor the life of your loved one. We made it easy for you by providing our readers with free obituary templates.

Are you not sure how to include a loved one’s maiden name in their obituary? Here are some tips and examples on how to include maiden names in the text of an obituary. Please remember that these are simply general recommendations as there aren’t any specific legal requirements for this type of article.

Are Maiden Names Typically Included in an Obituary?

Yes, maiden names are typically included in an obituary. Even though it is not required, it is done so for a variety of reasons.

First, including the maiden name of those listed in an obituary helps identify the deceased, especially if the name is common to the area. For example, four Lisa Marie Smiths may live in one community, but there may be only one Lisa Marie (Carmicheal) Smith. Including the maiden name of the individual may reduce the amount of confusion that could occur without using this additional identifier.

Next, including the deceased’s maiden name in an obituary honors the person’s family of origin (or birth family). Adding the deceased’s maiden name may also help readers quickly identify the next of kin so that they can issue condolences to the family. 

Finally, even though modern audiences don’t view obituaries as historical documents, that’s one purpose for such a document. Future generations who are trying to understand complex family relationships may be assisted if maiden names are used in the obituary. 

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Examples of How to List a Maiden Name in an Obituary

Again, there’s no right or wrong way to write an obituary, so whether you include the women’s maiden names is up to the family. Also, individual circumstances may dictate whether the information is included. 

There are various methods used to list a maiden name in an obituary, including the use of parentheses or the term “née.” Here are some examples of how to list maiden names in obituaries. 

Example for a loved one who was a parent or grandparent

Sally Marie (Smith) Porter, 88, passed away Sunday, April 24, 2021, at her home in Denver, Colorado. Sally was the fourth daughter of Frederick and Fredricka (Brown) Smith . . . 

Sally Marie Porter (née Smith) passed away on Sunday, April 24, 2021. She was 88 years old. Sally was the fourth daughter of Frederick and Fredricka (née Brown) Smith . . . 

It’s worth noting that including the maiden name of previous generations may help those who are attempting to understand the familial relationships of the deceased.

Example for a loved one who was remarried

Sally is survived by her loving husband, Mark, and her daughter, Renee (Thompson) Reeves. She is also survived by her previous husband and father of her children, Steve Thompson.

Sally Marie Porter (née Smith), previously Sally Marie Thompson, passed away . . .  

There’s a great deal of etiquette involved when writing an obituary. For example, sometimes families do not include the names of previous spouses in the obituary if the divorce happened long ago or the marriage did not end amicably. 

However, you may find it necessary to include the maiden name of the deceased as well as her previous married name to help with identification purposes. This is especially true if the deceased was known longer by her previous married name than either her maiden name or last name from her current marriage.

Example for a loved one who did not have children

Sally is survived by her loving husband, Mark, her sister Susie Ann Krump, and her cat Sprinkles. 

Whether the deceased had children or didn’t should not affect whether you include her maiden name in the obituary. 

Example for a loved one whose ex-spouse died

Sally was preceded in death by her parents Sam and Sharon (Horn) Smith and her ex-husband Steve Thompson. 

Whether the deceased had a deceased ex-spouse should not affect whether you include her maiden name in the obituary. 

Where Can You Post a Completed Obituary?

Once you have written the obituary with the deceased’s maiden name and discussed all matters of etiquette with the rest of the family, it’s time to post or publish the completed article. However, this part of the process isn’t as cut and dried as you may think.

While you can certainly post any text you desire on your own social media account, you can’t publish an obituary in a newspaper or some online memorial site without going through the proper channels. This keeps false information regarding the death of an individual from being posted. 

Here are some ideas on where to post or publish a completed obituary. 

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Newspapers will not publish an obituary in the paper’s print version or on the website without the article coming from a funeral home or cremation provider. Typically, there is a per-word fee for printing the obit. Therefore, printing the obituary of your loved one may cost hundreds of dollars.

Prepare to be charged an additional fee if you include a photograph with the obituary.

Some families publish the obituary of the deceased in several different newspapers. For example, you might publish the obituary in a newspaper where the person lived immediately before they died. You may also print the article in a newspaper where the person spent most of their life or where many family members and friends live. 

Online memorial website

There are several online memorial websites. However, most require you to pay a fee or have the memorial submitted by a funeral home or cremation provider. 

Social media

Most online memorial websites have links that make it easy to post your loved one’s obituary to your social media account. Of course, if you want to bypass the related fees of publishing or posting your loved one’s obituary, you can simply share the text of the obituary through your social media account. 

One caveat for going this route is that the obituary will not be easily found by interested parties not included in your inner circle. The obituary will also not be available in perpetuity for genealogical research. 

Take Care When Writing an Obituary for Your Loved One

Whether you publish or post your loved one’s obituary, take care when writing this article. After all, you only get one shot to do it right.

This means that you should take extra care to include all the necessary details to identify your loved one. This includes adding the maiden name of the deceased, their occupation or place of employment, the names of those who died before, as well as the names of their survivors.

As you include these details, take care to ensure that all names are spelled correctly. Misspelling a person’s name is a sure way to hurt the feelings of your family members.

If you can, sleep on it before you submit the obituary to the funeral home, cremation provider, or online memorial website. People tend to experience “brain fog” when experiencing a traumatic event. So, make sure you review the document after you are well-rested to make sure the details are accurate and complete.


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