Montana, County Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Montana, County Marriages, 1865-1950
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Montana, United States
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Flag of Montana
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Location of Montana
Record Description
Record Type Marriage Records
Collection years 1865-1950
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites


What is in This Collection?

This collection consists of marriage licenses and certificates, including a few marriage declarations and marriage stubs for the years 1865 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.

Marriages were recorded by the clerk of the district 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. Montana does not have a centralized registration of marriage records.

A copy or an extract of most original records can be purchased from the Montana Vital Records State Department of Health or the county clerk’s office of the county where the event occurred.

The State Department of Health has an index to marriages beginning in 1943. This index helps to identify the county in which the marriage occurred. The original records are available only in the county.

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

  • Groom's name, age, race and residence
  • Date and place of marriage
  • Groom's birth place
  • Groom's parents' names including maiden name of mother
  • Bride's name, age, race and residence
  • Bride's birth place
  • Bride's parents' names including maiden name of mother
  • Names of witnesses
  • Name of the officiator at marriage ceremony

Collection Content

Sample Image

Coverage Table and Map

A coverage table for this collection is available in the wiki article Montana County Marriages Coverage Table (FamilySearch Historical Records).

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


How Do I Search This Collection?

Before searching this Collection, it is helpful to know:

  • The name of your ancestor
  • The approximate date of the 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


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?

Whenever possible, view the original records to verify the information and to find additional information that might not be reported. These pieces of information can lead you to additional records and family members.

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

  • Use the information to find vital records such as birth, and death
  • Search for the family in census records
  • Search the county where the couple married for church, land, and probate records

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

  • Try viewing the original record to see if there were errors in the transcription of the name, age, residence, etc. Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name
  • Collect entries for every person who has the same surname. This list can help you identify possible relations that can be verified by records
  • If you cannot locate your ancestor in the locality in which you believe they lived, then try searching records of a nearby locality
  • Standard spelling of names typically did not exist. Try variations of your ancestor’s name while searching the index or browsing through images
  • Remember that sometimes individuals went by nicknames or alternated between using first and middle names

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
"Montana, County Marriages, 1865-1950." Database with images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 2 December 2016. County courthouses, Montana.
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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How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?

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Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.