My Marriage Record Story

We asked our volunteers (you!) how a marriage record has helped in your family history work, and you have shared over 400 stories with us. Each one of them is inspirational and testifies to the great work you are doing. You can add your own story of how a marriage record has helped you here.


“Often as I go through the marriage records I feel that I get a glimpse of those who I work for. sometimes I get to visualize those people and feel like in some way I connect to them as though they are part of my family. It makes it hard for me to stop because I want to see more and know that at some point the will be connected to there families for ever.”



“The marriage record has helped me verify information about my ancestors but also it has shown me where the registry happened and with that, I've been able to track the children belonging to that marriage, because often the children where baptized in the same catholic church where the parents got married. It's blessed me with the knowledge that they did started this life together and now I can help to the work so they can be together for all the eternities.”



“The first experience that I had with marriage records happened back in the early 1970s. No one seemed to know much about my great-grandpa,Thomas King. I finally sent for his marriage record, expecting to get just the names, date and place. But when the record arrived in the mail, it was the application for the marriage record and I was thrilled - It included his parents names, which no one seemed to know! So I knew how valuable those records were right from the start.. In those days it required letter writing and waiting or traveling to court houses and hoping you could find the record.. But now, with indexing, I have been able to find records in seconds with a push of a button. How exciting! I love to index the marriage records today.”



“Once while searching for a marriage record in a Quebec parish, I discovered that there were two couples with nearly identical names, marrying in the right time period. I had no way to figure out which couple was mine. As I was working my way backwards, through the records, I had already found the baptismal records for the children because the differences in the father's names made that clear. Unfortunately, their names were not clearly different in the marriage records, and hence I had no way to identify their parents' names. As I read through those baptismal records, I realized that the godmother in one record was identified as the wife of the godfather in another one-and that the godfather was the brother of the man whose marriage I was seeking. I simply searched for the marriage of the godparents to figure out who the paternal parents were, and then I could easily identify the correct marriage record."



“I have been excited when I have found a marriage certificate that listed the maiden name of the mother! Also, when it lists that the person has been married before, and whether the marriage ended by death or divorce. This happened the other day, and I found out that the woman I was working on had been married twice before marrying into our family line. I haven't been able to find the marriage date of the second marriage, but (because of the marriage record) I had a divorce date and place.”



“The best ‘marriage story’ in my research was actually from a deed record. My daughter and I research Deed Records of any county we are in and record the records which mention slaves or free persons of color. We were in Waco, MacLennan County, Texas for that purpose, but since my hunband’s family were from that area, I had a sudden feeling I should check the index for any surnames that might connect to him. We had never found them in property records before. They were always sharecroppers. I found there a listing for a Mrs S E Scott. Charlie’s great-grandmother had married a man named Scott before her death, and her given names were Sarah Elizabeth. When I opened the book which held the deed record I almost fainted. There I found not just her name as seller, but an affidavit which was to prove her ownership as widow of her third husband. It gave us her maiden name (which we did not have), the name of a first husband (whom we hadn’t known about) with the dates of marriage and the year she became a widow. Next we learned how long she was a widow before marrying the man we had assumed was the great-grandfather of my husband. We learned that his grandmother was their only child and the only child of Sarah Elizabeth, how long they were married before she was once more widowed. Next we found how long she waited before she met and married her third husband (we had him) and how long they were married before he died (we didn’t know) and then the marriage of her last husband (the Mr. Scott we hadn’t been able to find). This record, listing all four of her husbands by name and years, with the proof of his grandmother being an only child, also gave us a tidbit we had been puzzling over for years. Sarah’s daughter Louisiana married Augstus Henry Barnum. But one census listed him as William Barnum. In the deed record, Sarah says her only daughter’s husband was “Gus Barnum, sometimes called Will.” We are so grateful for the Great Comforter who nudged us to look for family in a place we had no idea they would be found.”



“I spent over 15 years trying to locate my maternal grandfather's mother's records. She died when he was a boy. All I could ever find was a record of her marriage to her 2nd husband, my maternal great-grandfather, in Cook County, Illinois. Then, on a whim, I put her 1st husband's surname into FamilySearch. I knew this because she was a widow and used her married surname at the clerk's office, and had a son from that 1st marriage who lived with his mother and step-family and was enumerated in the US Census. Eureka! A marriage record index in Wisconsin of the young couple! I sent to the Wisconsin Historical Society for a copy of the record. Rich in family information, it contained both their full names, both their parents full names and their birth and residence locations! From this record, I was able to move into Roman Catholic parish records at Family Search, and found the entire family, including the marriages, baptisms and burials of nearly all the members of this family from their time as members of that parish. At the time I started looking at those records, they weren't indexed, and I also had to find what parishes existed in their neighborhood at the time. Once I found the right parish, it was time to start looking at the images of the pages at FamilySearch, one at a time. It took a while, but I'm so glad that I spent those hours. I located the cemetery, visited the unmarked graves and now plan to have a marker made for those 7 family members, 2 adults and 5 children, buried there! Further research has turned up her parents, uncles and grandparents as well! Additionally, I discovered that both she and great-grandfather had something in common when they married. Her father and my great-grandfather both emigrated from the same little town in Germany, about 20 years apart! That's definitely the F.A.N. principle at work!”



“In the short time I have been doing genealogy work, there have been a few times when the only pieces of information I had was a name that my grandmother barely knew and the marriage record to my ancestor. In those situations, using the marriage record, the collateral line would be rather hard to research. Without it, the line is practically impossible to research, simply because I knew so little about the person my ancestor married that I would be unable to find even so much as a single record on them. There simply would not be enough information.”



“Family Search and Census was showing my Great Great Grandmother as a Kennedy also her oldest daughter my Great Grandmother. But a family member had given me research with her name as Madison and was convinced she was. I knew her Maiden name was Couchman. I was able to track her using census and found that my Great Great Grandmother had been married before and her first husband and the father (because of birth date) of my Great Grand mother was a Madison I also found a census listing all three. With further research I was able to find a marriage record of that marriage, so I had proof and could change it on Family Search. It was very easy to find the marriage certificate of her 2nd husband a Kennedy, he raised her daughter and was buried next to My Great Great Grandmother. I have not found a adoption therefore assume she was legally still a Madison. The marriage records of both husbands gave me the sources needed to correct my records and explain why sometimes she was listed as Madison and sometimes it was Kennedy.”



“I had the marriage certificate for my father's first marriage but nothing else. Using the name only of his first wife, and searching additional marriage records, I discovered that this was her second marriage. When I found her first marriage, it established her maiden name and date and place of birth. With that information, I continued to search census records, local directories, and other records and now have a time line for her from birth to death.”



“On multiple occasions the blue hints showed 4, 5, or more records to be opened to verify. How frustrating! But, one had the bride's info, one had the groom's info, another had groom with parents, one had bride with parents, others had info of birth locations, other marriages. By patiently opening and reading each hint image, many times another generation would be found!!! Yeah. Thank you to all those who index so that we can find the name, open images, and obtain more information on our ancestors.”



“We knew that my grandmother had been ostracised by her family when she married my grandfather, however their marriage certificate finally gave us a reason why they had disowned her. My grandparents married one month after their first child was born and having a child out of wedlock would have been an absolute sin in their strict, religious, Dutch-Reformed family. We always thought it was because my grandmother married an Englishman but the marriage certificate has given us a more realistic reason.”



“Years ago I went to the Family History Center in SLC with the express purpose of finding the marriage bond record of James Jones and Rebecca Upchurch. I found a microfiche record of marriages in Wayne County, Kentucky and turned to the index. I discovered a record for a James Jones and Rebecca but the date was hard to read. I thought it looked like 1865 and their first child was born in 1866 so it seemed to be a possible match. So I cranked the microfiche handle again and again until I got to 1865. They weren't there so I moved back to 1864 and then 1863. Nothing! So I went to 1866 and still came up empty. It was so frustrating. The names were in the index but nowhere to find in the records. I knew my parking meter was about to expire so I returned to my car only to find that the meter still showed 2 hours left. Either the meter was broken or a good Samaritan had added money to it. So I decided to go back and try again. I looked at the index again and the number two seemed to come up off the film where I thought it was a five. Could it be 1862? I remembered that James served in the Civil War so it was possible that he went off to war shortly after getting married and then started a family after the war. So I went to 1862 and there it was! James Jones and Rebecca Carson. The parents of James were my ancestors so I knew it was the right couple. And the names of Rebecca's parents were included which opened up a whole new line for me. What a blessing that I almost missed. I went back to the car and the meter was down to zero so it was working just fine. I think somebody wanted me to find that record and helped me to do so.”



“I found my half sister, who lives five minutes from me, by finding my dad's and her mom's marriage certificate. Since my sister was adopted by her step-dad I used their marriage certificate to find out her maiden name. Then two more marriage certificates later I found her current name and the rest was easy.”



“Unfortunutely I waited until my parents had passed away to become interested in our family tree research. My father & mother were, according to what I was told, married just over the Ohio border from Michigan. It was an elopement, since neither was of legal age, both were 16, against his mother's & her father's permission. I could never find a marriage certificate after searching through all my parents saved documents while settling their estate. I waded through tedious records, searched in counties along the Michigan/ Ohio borders & after 5 years..... finally found a marriage record by a justice of the peace in Bowling Green, Ohio, while I was looking for a different documentation, their ages were not correct, but parents names, etc were intact!!! I was overjoyed....Thanks to”



“I searched for approximately 20 years for the marriage records of my parents. All of their work had been done except for the sealing. By chance one day I randomly looked in the marriage records and their marriage certificate was there. They are now sealed and I have been sealed to them. Last week I was doing some sorting of my papers and decided to see if I could find the marriage records for my paternal great-grandparents and it was there. I has looked about 6 months ago and could not find it. We are now in the process of completing their work and sealings.”



“When I found the marriage record for my 2nd great grandfather and his second wife, it showed his parents names and well as her parent's names. All of this information was unknown to me at that time. This opened up my family one more generation and subsequently I was able to submit several more generations of descendency and ancestral names.”



“My husband's paternal grandfather divorced and left the family when my father in law was about 3 years old. He did not maintain contact with his children and none of the family history on his side had been done. I found the marriage certificate of the paternal grandparents, and their parents as well as birth places were listed. That information led to me finding them all on census records. Then a few weeks ago, I found the paternal grandfather's obituary, which confirmed our suspicions that he had passed away a few years ago. Now I have added them all to my husband's family tree fan. It has been rewarding to see it go from empty to 2-3 generations linked together.”



“It had been a suspicion in our family that David and Alice Benson had run away to Gretna Green to get married but we had no way to verify this until the marriage records from Gretna Green were released a few years ago. We had not been able to verify where Alice was from or any further information about her. From the Gretna Green records we were able to verify her maiden name and where she was from. This allowed us to verify her father, mother and siblings and verify them as a family from census records.”



“I'm adopted and, finally after 60 years in 2014, I was able to get a copy of my original birth certificate with the name "my birth mother and her place of birth. Unfortunately, no father's name was included. What is so interesting is that I was born in WA, raised in UT, and now live in AZ. She was born and raised 90 miles from where I now live. I searched her name and found a marriage certificate for her. She got married 4 years after my birth. Using info from the marriage certificate, I did more searching and found that she is still living, where she currently lives, and have been in contact with her. I have now discovered multiple generations of my maternal biological family.”



“About a year ago, I started to try to find my husband's great grandmother, so that we could start linking that side of the family. I had her name, and knew what part of the country she lived in, and that she had a husband named John. I did some searching and found someone with her name on the 1940 census - widowed and living with her daughter. I wasn't able to validate that this was her, and after a few hours of searching - decided to move on to something else. Yesterday when I signed into Family Search - there was a new hint waiting for me - Pennsylvania County Marriage Records - and I found her, listed as the mother of the bride. It listed her husband, birth year and birth place (not indexed) but on the original document! It also led me to other family members. Such a great find! I have been indexing marriage records for months now and it was neat to see it come full circle.”



“When I went to the record of one of our German family members to add sources to the record, a record hint appeared. It was the marriage record from Illinois of a son I didn't even know about with the parents I knew clearly identified. I had no idea anyone in this family came to the U.S. That one marriage record led to finding three more children who came to the U.S. (with spouses and children of these four individuals) and eventually finding the passenger list that verified the parents had come to.”



“I've found several other records that may or may not be the person I'm trying to verify belongs to my family. Then I've found a marriage record that includes the name of the parents. Now I've found my ancestor. Or sometimes I have the ancestor and their spouse, but can't connect them to their parents. Marriage records help me to do that. Thanks to everyone that makes searching these records electronically possible. You're all awesome!”



“I learned later in life that my father was adopted into the Shepherd family. While we have plenty of research done on the Shepherd lineage, there was nothing about my father's birth father, or his family. By using U. S. Census records, I was able to find information about my paternal grandfather and his immediate family. The dead-end came in trying to learn more about my grandfather's ancestors, as his father and mother (my great-grandparents) immigrated from the Austrian Empire in the late 1800's. I visited the Family History Center in Mesa, AZ multiple times, trying to learn more about this line. The microfilms there include the marriage records for Colorado, and in them I found the record of Grandpa Max and Grandma Maggie. Thus I could not only record that they were married, but authenticate when and where it happened. This was much more satisfying!”



“After finding a marriage record for my great-grandfather we found out that my grandfather actually had a half brother who he never knew existed. This opened up another side of my family tree!”



“When we lived in New York in 1993 we visited the Ulster County Genealogical Society library in the basement of an old Church building near Esopus, New York, about 100 miles north of New York City. An elderly lady asked if she could help us, and when I told her we were looking for Joseph wheeler who married Pietrenelle Schoonmaker in 1724, she immediately led us to a file drawer in which was a 7 volume history of the Schoonmaker Clan. They had been in that area since it was settled in about 1640. From that history not only did we find that Joseph was a physician from Wales, but we got the Schoonmaker genealogy back to 1624 in Hamburg, Germany.”



“Coincidence or Miracle? You decide. I am staring at my computer screen. I can't believe my eyes. I ask myself, is this for real? I want to scream for joy but it is late at night. I do what most women do when they are happy or sad: cry tears of joy and excitement! I run to the bedroom to wake my already sleeping husband to give him the news: “I found my great-grandparents’ marriage record,” I said. He answered in a sleepy voice, "That's nice" and goes back to sleep. It is my first time back at doing indexing after many years. Today Bishop Sims had asked us during Sacrament meeting to get involved and participate in the effort of indexing data and contribute in this great missionary work. I looked at all the indexing projects available, and then decided on one—Paraguay, Asuncion 1763–1957—Matrimonios (Marriages). I began by looking at a marriage record sample, and there I realized that I am actually reading the names of my very own great-grandparents Agustin Guanez and Cipriana Barrios; it is their marriage record! I read it over and over again. I read the names of their parents, my maternal great-great-grandparents, for the first time. How wonderful and exciting to know who they are! I learn that my great-grandfather’s nationality is Italian—something I never imagined! Maybe I inherent my love of music from him! I learned the names of two of their children and their birth dates. I am totally overwhelmed by the amount of information on just one record! I have just been granted a miracle, and I know it—my very own miracle givin to me as if on a silver platter, or should I say, on a computer screen! Out of millions of genealogy records that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has available through the FamilySearch indexing program, it is amazing that the record I needed to learn of my own ancestors was the one they use as a sample of how to index a marriage record. I have found other family records by doing research through other programs in the past, but this was my first experience through indexing. There is nothing that can compare to the feelings you experience when you find information on your family line. I find it very hard to sleep this night, anxiously waiting until morning to call and share the news with my relatives in Paraguay, especially with my 91-year-old mother, the last one alive out of twelve siblings. When I talked to her, she was happy to learn the names of her ancestors as well, but didn’t fully comprehend how I was able to find this information. I feel so blessed and grateful to know without a shadow of a doubt that this work of indexing is a great tool giving to us by a loving Heavenly Father through His Church. It is available to anyone who is willing to give some of their free time to serve others and at the same time search for their very own ancestors. My experience convinced me that missionary work happens on both sides of the veil. There are waiting souls on the other side, ready and eager to help us, as it was in my case. I feel they have handed the information to me. I will do their temple work. I know they are counting on me! I continue to do indexing and have found more information since then. One word of warning though: indexing is highly addictive, but it is for a great and noble cause. Please consider indexing; it will bless your life and the life of your posterity forever. This is the only photo that my family has ever seen of my maternal great-grandmother Cipriana Barrios. The little girl standing beside her is my great-aunt Maria Vicenta, who was named in the record, including her birth date. She lived to adulthood, and I had the opportunity to know her and her children. The young boy sitting on my great-grandmother’s lap is my great-uncle Jose Enrique, whose name no one in the family knew until I found the record. His birth date is also mentioned on the record. According to my mother, he died young of some epidemic, but so far I have not been able to find his death record. My mother also told me that at the time this photo was taken, my great-grandmother was expecting my very own grandmother Valvina Guanes Barrios. No one knows who the other two ladies in the photo are. Perhaps one day we will find out. I am also sending you a copy of the marriage record sample.”

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