A widow could be using her first name for a variety of reasons.
There were many instances in Eastern Europe where the couple had a
Jewish marriage, but did not have a "legal" or civil marriage, for a
variety of reasons.
In this case, the Jewish wife would still carry the maiden name. In
some cases, the couple got their marriage legally registered after they
had children, making it appear that the children were born in wedlock.
In addition, some couples were first cousins who had the same last name.
Another more recent reason for using a maiden name was the immigration
situation in the US. My father, who came to the US in 1920, brought his
parents here in 1928, when the immigration laws were in effect. My
grandfather then applied to bring his children to the US. He was able to
bring his daughter (my aunt), in 1938 >from Poland, as a single child. He
could not have brought her as a married woman, so she carried her maiden
name. (Her husband was supposed to go to the Dominican
Republic where she would meet him, but he never got out)
So there are a number of ways that our ancestors could be using last
names that have left us future genealogists confused. I'm sure that
there are other explanations as well.
Avivah R. Z. Pinski
near Philadelphia, USA
Researching: Zuchman in Sarnaki, Karczew, and Warsaw Poland
Reznik in Drohiczyn, Siemiatische, Poland
Kopekin & Rifczes in Lemberg, Vienna, Polatsk, and Besonkovich
Familiant and Koifman in Bessarabia and Ukraine
Sondak in Vitebsk, Belarus and Rehitza, Latvia
Aginsky and Slonimsky in Minsk