Arkansas County Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Records)
|This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.|
Access the records: Arkansas County Marriages, 1837-1957 .
- 1 Record Description
- 2 Record Content
- 3 How to Use the Records
- 4 Known Issues with This Collection
- 5 Related Websites
- 6 Related Wiki Articles
- 7 Contributions to This Article
- 8 Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
This Collection will include records from 1837 to 1957.
There are three types of marriage records:
- Marriage books are usually large, bound volumes, especially those with printed columns. Entries were made chronologically. Some volumes, especially those for earlier years, were written in paragraph format, often with two or three marriages on each page. When printed pages were introduced later, marriages were recorded in columns, allowing for many entries per page.
- Marriage licenses may be in paragraph format or printed forms.
- Marriage returns are usually in paragraph format.
For a list of film numbers currently published in this collection, select the Browse link from the collection landing page.
County officials, usually the county clerk, began keeping marriage records from the time the county was formed. When the person obtained a license, he went to a minister or other person authorized to perform marriages, such as the justice of the peace. That person sent a return to the county clerk confirming that the marriage had occurred. Most marriages that took place in a county were recorded by civil authorities.
Marriage records validate a wife’s legal claim to property.
The date and place of marriage and the name of the officiator are very reliable. Other information depends upon the knowledge and reliability of the informants (usually the bride and groom). Only a few deliberately provided false information.
Citation for This Collection
The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Records collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records.
- Arkansas County Courts. Arkansas, County Marriages. Various county courthouses in the State of Arkansas.
While earlier records usually less complete, genealogical facts found in marriage records include:
- Names of the groom, bride, and officiator. The bride’s surname at the time of marriage is her maiden name, unless she was previously married. Records may include names of parents or guardians, especially in later records. Names of witnesses are also often given.
- Date of the marriage or license
- Birth dates and places of the bride and groom (in later records)
- Residences of the bride and groom
- Occupation of the groom (frequently)
- Name of the officiator, either a Minister (MG) or a Justice of the Peace (JP)
How to Use the Records
Begin your search by finding your ancestors in the index. Name indexes to marriages make it possible to access a specific marriage record quickly. Remember that these indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.
When searching the index it is helpful to know the following:
- The county where the marriage occurred
- The name of the person at the time of marriage
- The approximate marriage date
- The marriage place
- The name of the intended spouse
Use the locator information found in the index (such as page, entry, or certificate number) to locate your ancestors in the marriage records. Some on-line indexes, such as indexes to FamilySearch Historical Records, will take you directly to an image. Compare the information in the marriage record to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct person. You may need to compare the information of more than one person to make this determination.
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.
- Use the marriage date and place as the basis for compiling a new family group or for verifying existing information.
- 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.
- Occupations listed can lead you to other types of records such as employment or military records.
- Use the parents' birth places to find former residences and to establish a migration pattern for the family.
- The name of the officiator is a clue to their religion or area of residence in the county. However, ministers may have reported marriages performed in other counties.
- Compile the marriage entries for every person who has the same surname as the bride or groom; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual.
- Continue to search the marriage records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives of the bride and groom who may have married in the same county or nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family or even the second marriage of a parent. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify.
- Use the marriage number to identify previous marriages.
- When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
Keep in mind:
- The information in marriage records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the informant.
- Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1800s.
- There is also some variation in the information given from one marriage record to another record.
If you are unable to find the ancestors you are looking for, try the following:
- Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
- Search for the marriage record of the marriage partner if known.
- Check for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume.
- Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.
For a summary of this information see the wiki article: United States, How to Use the Records Summary (FamilySearch Historical Records).
Known Issues with This Collection
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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
Related Wiki Articles
- Arkansas Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- Arkansas Marriage Index (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- Arkansas Birth, Marriage and Death Records
- Arkansas Vital Records Online
- United States, How to Use Marriage Records
Contributions to This Article
| We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records. |
Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.
Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
When you copy information from the record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you do not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.
Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection
"Arkansas County Marriages, 1837-1957," index and image, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/NMDM-GZX: accessed 11 April 2012), John F. Jones 1902; citing Arkansas County Marriages, 1837-1957, FHL film 1,301,908; Arkansas County Court (Clay County), Clay County courthouse, Piggott, Arkansas.
A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the wiki article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.