Kentucky, County Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Kentucky County Marriages, 1797-1954 .
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Kentucky, United States
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Flag of Kentucky
US Locator Kentucky.png
Location of Kentucky
Record Description
Record Type Marriages
Collection years 1797-1954
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
Madison County Courthouse, Richmond


What is in This Collection?

This collection includes marriage records from 1797 to 1954 and include bonds, licenses, certificates, and returns.

Most of this collection consists of marriage licenses and certificates, including a few marriage declarations, birth records, and death records.

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. Later they were recorded as handwritten entries in preprinted volumes.

Marriages were recorded by the clerk of the County Court for each county from the time the county was formed. Persons desiring to marry obtained a license that they presented to the minister or other person authorized to marry, such as a justice of the peace. Once the marriage was performed, the officiator sent a return to the clerk confirming that the marriage had occurred.  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.

To Browse This Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Kentucky, County Marriages, 1797-1954.

Collection Content

Coverage Table

The coverage table shows the counties and time periods covered in the indexed records for this collection. Most of the records in the collection are from the time periods listed in the table; however, the collection may have a few records from before or after the time period.
Be aware that indexing for this collection is not complete. This table only shows what has been completed up to November 2014.

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

County Years Covered in Index
Adair 1801-1916; 1919; 1946; 1958; 1967
Anderson 1803; 1837-1858; 1860-1866; 1868; 1893; 1939
Ballard 1908-1911; 1913-1914
Bath 1803; 1810-1839; 1842-1849; 1851-1862; 1867; 1951
Bourbon 1737; 1789; 1786-1895; 1897; 1901; 1919
Boyd 1860-1868
Bracken 1795; 1797-1876; 1878-1880; 1889; 1895-1899; 1910
Harrison 1695; 1794-1869; 1880; 1886; 1888-1890; 1894; 1896-1897; 1904; 1936;-1938; 1955
Madison 1786-1830; 1832-1866; 1869; 1871-1872; 1879; 1887; 1928; 1936; 1962; 1865
Magoffin 1800-1802; 1806;1809; 1822; 1826; 1830; 1835; 1841;1844; 1847l 1853,-1854; 1860-1952; 1954; 1957
Marion 1867; 1868-1901
Martin 1914-1917
Mason 1796-1797; 1818; 1821; 1826-1828; 1830; 1833-1851; 1855-1859; 1881; 1944; 1946
Meade 1808; 1821; 1824-1913; 1917; 1933; 1946; 1954
Menifee 1869-1881; 1883
Mercer 1709; 1777; 1780; 1786-1895; 1902-1909; 1918; 1937; 1952; 1958
Metcalfe 1857; 1867-1884; 1888
Monroe 1868-1870; 1885-1901
Muhlenberg 1839; 1857-1905; 1907; 1909; 1962
Nelson 1705-1706; 1734; 1739; 1765;1769; 1776; 1778; 1782-1951; 1955

Sample Image


What Can This Collection Tell Me?

Marriage records usually include the following:

  • Date and place of marriage
  • Groom's name
  • Bride's name including her maiden name
  • Names of the officiator and witnesses
  • Names of the parents or guardians of the bride and groom
  • Groom's place of birth
  • Bride's place of birth
  • Residences of the bride and groom
  • Bride and Groom's age
  • Bride and Groom's race
  • Marital status of the bride and groom

How Do I Search This Collection?

Before searching the collection, it is helpful to know:

  • The name of your ancestor
  • The approximate date of marriage
  • The place where the marriage occurred
  • The name of the intended spouse

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

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:

  1. Select the appropriate "Digital Folder Number" which takes you to 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?

When you have located your ancestor’s marriage record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family.

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

  • Make sure you look at the original record if it is available. They often contain more information than what was indexed.
  • Use the marriage date and place as the basis for compiling a new family group or for verifying existing information.
  • Use the age to calculate an approximate birth date.
  • Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth of each partner to find a couple's birth records and parents' names.
  • Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth to find the family in census records.
  • Use the residence and names of the parents to locate church and land records.

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

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for alias names, nicknames and abbreviated names.
  • Check for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.
  • Try alternative search methods such as only filling in the surname search box (or the given name search box) on the landing page leaving the other box empty and then click on search. This should return a list of everyone with that particular name. You could then browse the list for individuals that may be your ancestor.

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 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 your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation

"Kentucky, County Marriages, 1797-1954." Database with images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 7 August 2017. Citing Clerk of the County Court. Madison County Courthouse, Richmond.


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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