How to Find United States Marriage Records

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Start Here: Where Did the Marriage Occur?[edit | edit source]

To find a marriage record, choose the state where the marriage occurred:

What if you don't know the state? — Go to How to Estimate Marriage Information

Tips about Searching United States Marriage Records[edit | edit source]

  • Some couples were married in locations away from their home county where marriage laws were less restrictive. See the wiki page Gretna Greens.
  • Most marriages are recorded on the county level.
  • Most counties began recording marriages when the county was formed.
  • Many counties forward marriage records to state agencies.
  • Marriages recorded by state-level agencies vary widely by date and availability.
  • Some marriages may only be found in church records.

Frequently Asked Questions about United States Marriage Records[edit | edit source]

How do I find my ancestor’s marriage record?

  1. Use the Finding US Marriage Records wiki page
  2. Check online indexes and digital images
  3. Check repositories, such as archives and libraries (FHL)
  4. Obtain certificate from the government agency ($$)

Why would I want to search for a marriage record?

  • May give the exact date and place where the couple was married
  • May indicate date and/or place of birth for bride and groom
  • May list names and birthplaces of the bride’s and groom’s parents

What information does a marriage record include?
State and county officials followed different laws when gathering marriage information. Usually the following was included:

  • Names of the bride and groom
  • Where the bride and groom were married.

Some records also contain:

  • Bride and groom's age at the time of marriage
  • Residence of the bride and groom
  • Birth date and/or place of the bride and groom
  • Names of parents
  • Birthplaces of parents
  • Occupation
  • Marital status of bride and groom--single, widowed, divorced

More information about US Marriage Records can be found on United States Vital Records wiki page.

Questions to Ask About Marriage Records[edit | edit source]

  • Are records available for the dates when I would expect my ancestor to be getting married?
  • Is the marriage database complete? Does it include all counties in the state?
  • Does the marriage database contain images to the records which I can see online?
  • Is the marriage database an index only? Will I need to order a film to see the original marriage record?
  • Have I looked beyond the marriage date and names of the bride and groom for more family information that the record may contain?
  • Is there more than one type of marriage record in the county? Does an additional county marriage record contain more information about my family?

Learn more about U.S. Marriage Records