Kentucky, County Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Records)
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Kentucky, County Marriages, 1797-1954
|This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.|
|Kentucky, United States|
|Flag of Kentucky|
|Location of Kentucky|
|Madison County Courthouse, Richmond|
- 1 What is in This Collection?
- 2 What Can These Records Tell Me?
- 3 Collection Content
- 4 How Do I Search This Collection?
- 5 What Do I Do Next?
- 6 Citing This Collection
- 7 How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?
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.
What Can These Records Tell Me?
The following information may be found in these records:
- 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
|Many marriages recorded in the South, are separated by race in volumes, books, or registers. Be sure to check to determine if you have the right set of marriage records.|
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|
|Bath||1803; 1810-1839; 1842-1849; 1851-1862; 1867; 1951|
|Bourbon||1737; 1789; 1786-1895; 1897; 1901; 1919|
|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|
|Mason||1796-1797; 1818; 1821; 1826-1828; 1830; 1833-1851; 1855-1859; 1881; 1944; 1946|
|Meade||1808; 1821; 1824-1913; 1917; 1933; 1946; 1954|
|Mercer||1709; 1777; 1780; 1786-1895; 1902-1909; 1918; 1937; 1952; 1958|
|Metcalfe||1857; 1867-1884; 1888|
|Muhlenberg||1839; 1857-1905; 1907; 1909; 1962|
|Nelson||1705-1706; 1734; 1739; 1765;1769; 1776; 1778; 1782-1951; 1955|
Digital Folder Number List
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
View the Images
|More images are available in the FamilySearch Catalog at Kentucky, County Marriages, 1797-1954. Some catalog records link to multiple references. In this case, click on a reference to find a camera icon to see 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.
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 age to calculate an approximate birth date
- 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
- Search the marriage indexes and records of nearby counties.
The following articles will help you in your research for your family in the state of Kentucky.
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.
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details page in the section Citing this Collection.
When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record.
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.
How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?
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