Providing practical, down-to-earth advice for family historians since 1995, online since 1985.
From: Tee email@example.com
"If a couple had children together but never married, you must still create a marriage record to link children to their parents. You can choose to leave the Marriage screen blank, or you can type Not Married instead of the date."
I think it should be called a "union" rather than a "marriage record," but the latter is the term the PAF program uses. Since we're trying to associate children with their blood line parents, you will:
This will create 2 distinct family groups, which accurately reflects the relationships.
Regardless of the genealogy software program being used, I personally would type "not married" instead of the date. That would confirm what I knew to be true, and save someone else from going on a wild goose chase trying to find a marriage record where none exists.
Try not to worry about any stigmas. We are attempting to accurately document our ancestors' lives. Co-habitation may have been acceptable in the community at the time. For all we know, this couple could have lived in an area where preachers only came through every 4-5 years. In such cases, marriages were solemnized and christenings took place on the same day for a couple and 3-4 of their children. The first time I saw this, I was a little startled.
Although "unusual" situations crop up in everyone's family tree, we are trying not to be judgmental. Attempting to look at things through 21st century eyepieces can cloud our understanding of an ancestor's life and times.
Happy family tree climbing!