District of Columbia, Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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District of Columbia, Marriages, 1811-1950
CID1803979
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
District of Columbia, United States
District of Columbia flag.png
Flag of District of Columbia
US locator map District of Columbia.PNG
Location of District of Columbia
Record Description
Record Type Marriage
Collection years 1811-1950
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
Clerk of the Superior Court. Records Office, Washington D.C


What is in This Collection?

This collection consists of marriage licenses and certificates, including a few marriage declarations and marriage stubs for the years 1811 to 1950.

The records are arranged by county, then by volume and year range. The form type varies between register style and certificate style. County clerks usually used the same printed form during the same time periods. Marriage records were generally well preserved, although fires, floods, or other disasters may have destroyed some records.

The earliest marriage bonds and licenses were usually handwritten on loose papers that were later bound into lettered volumes. Some marriage records had multiple entries on each page, while others had single records per page.

Registration of marriages began in 1811. Some of the early marriages for the years 1811 to 1858 have been transcribed by the DAR and are on microfilm at the Family History Library(FHL Collection Film 845766). Easier-to-use versions of these records include:

  • DC marriage records 1811-1950; indexes, 1811-1986 (FHL Collection Film 2079252)
  • Alexandria (DC) marriage certificates returned 1801-1850(FHL Collection Film 1902941 item 3)
  • DC marriage registers 1811-1870 (FHL Collection Book 975.3 V28p)  Early registers only contain the name of the bride and groom and the date of marriage
  • DC marriage returns, 1874-1902, 1907-1923; consents, 1896-Dec. 1950 (FHL Collection Film 2070925) These records may provide the name of the bride and groom, and their age, residence, color, occupation, birthplace and number of marriages
  • DC newspaper marriage notices 1800-1850 (FHL Collection Film 929472)

You can obtain marriage records from 1811 to the present by writing to:

Superior Court of the District of Columbia
Marriage License Bureau
500 Indiana Avenue N.W.
Washington, DC 20001
Telephone: 202-879-4840
Internet: District of Columbia Courts

Marriages more than 50 years old are considered public record and no approval is needed to apply for a record copy.

Civil marriage records were created to legalize marital relationships and to protect the interests of the wife and other heirs to legal claims on property.

The marriage date, place, residence of the bride and groom, and occupations are relatively reliable. Other information, such as age or birthplace, is dependent on the knowledge, memory, and accuracy of the informants, usually the bride and groom.

What Can These Records Tell Me?

The following information may be found in these records:

Marriage

  • The name of the bride and groom
  • The date and place of marriage
  • The names of witnesses
  • The name of officiator

Collection Content

Sample Images

Coverage Map

To see a coverage map of FamilySearch's holdings of District of Columbia marriages, click here.

Digital Folder Number List

This collection was published as a DGS browse collection. These collections do not include any human-readable waypoint data making them difficult to use. A table showing each DGS number and its contents can be found in District of Columbia, Marriages Digital Folder Number List. The list can be sorted by DGS number, GS number, author, title and film note with a link to the FamilySearch Catalog record for the original microfilm publication.

How Do I Search This Collection?

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • The name of the bride or groom at the time of marriage
  • The approximate marriage date

Search the Index

Search by name by visiting the Collection Page.
  1. Fill in the search boxes on the Collection Page with the information you have
  2. Click Search to show possible matches

View the Images

To view images in this collection:

  1. Look at the District of Columbia, Marriages Digital Folder Number List article to determine the folder/film number for the images you want to see.
  2. Go to the Browse Page.
  3. Select the Film number to view the images.


How Do I Analyze the Results?

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?

I Found the Person I was Looking For, What Now?

  • Use the information found in the marriage record to search for other vital records such as birth, baptism, or death
  • Use the information found in the marriage record to find additional family members in census records
  • Search for the family in probate and land records

I Can’t Find the Person I’m Looking For, What Now?

  • If your ancestor does not have a common name, collect entries for every person who has the same surname. This list can help you find possible relatives
  • If you cannot locate your ancestor in the locality in which you believe they lived, then try searching records of a nearby town or county
  • Try different spellings of your ancestor’s name
  • Remember that sometimes individuals went by nicknames or alternated between using first and middle names

Record Finder

Consult the District of Columbia Record Finder to find other records

Known Issues with This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to support@familysearch.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Citing This Collection

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying you sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation
"District of Columbia Marriages, 1811-1950." Database with images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 14 June 2016. Citing Clerk of the Superior Court. Records Office, Washington D.C.
Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

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