Michigan Marriage Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)
|This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.|
- 1 Collection Time Period
- 2 Record Description
- 3 How to Use the Records
- 4 Record History
- 5 Related Web Sites
- 6 Related Wiki Articles
- 7 Contributions to This Article
- 8 Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
- 9 Sources of Information for This Collection:
Collection Time Period
This collection covers marriages for the year 1868 through 1925.
Most of this collection consists of marriage licenses, applications, records, registers, and certificates. 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..
Key genealogical facts found in Michigan marriage records are:
- Name of bride and groom
- Date of marriage license
- Age of bride and groom
- Race of bride and groom
- Residence of bride and groom
- Birthplace of bride and groom
- Name of bride and groom’s father
- Occupation of bride and groom
Later records also include the following:
- Maiden name of bride and groom’s mother
- Number of times previously married
- Date of marriage
- Place of marriage
- Name of person performing the marriage
- Witnesses to the marriage
- Residence of witnesses
How to Use the Records
To begin your search, 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.
Compare the information in the marriage record to what you already know about your ancestor 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. For example:
- 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 employment records or other types of records such as military records.
- Use the parent’s 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)
An 1805 law required registration of marriages with the clerk of the local district court. In 1867 an additional law required the counties to send copies of the records to the Office of the State Registrar. A very high percentage of marriages that took place in Michigan were recorded by civil authorities.
Marriages were usually 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.
Why This Record Was Created
Counties in Michigan recorded marriages 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.
Related Web Sites
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Related Wiki Articles
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 a record, you should also 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 did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.
A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the Wiki Article: How to Cite FamilySearch Collections
Examples of Source Citations for a Record in This Collection
"Michigan Marriages, 1868-1925." images, Family Search (https://www.familysearch.org): accessed 25 March 2011. entry for Richard W, Blanch and Jennie Kuiper, 30 June 1906 citing Marriage Records, FHL microfilm 234,267; Michigan Department of Vital Records, Lansing, Michigan.
Sources of Information for This Collection:
"Michigan Marriages, 1868-1925," database, Family Search (https://www.familysearch.org); from Michigan Secretary of State, Michigan Department of Vital Records, Lansing, Michigan and various county archives throughout Michigan. FHL microfilm. Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.