New Hampshire Marriage Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)
|This article describes a collection of historical records scheduled to become available at FamilySearch.org.|
- 1 Collection Time Period
- 2 Record History
- 3 Record Description
- 4 How to Use the Record
- 5 Related Web Sites
- 6 Related Wiki Articles
- 7 Sources of This Collection
Collection Time Period
This collection includes records from 1640 to 1947.
Town clerks began recording marriages as early as 1639. However, the earlier records do not give much information and the information varies depending upon the clerk. The earlier records only include part of the population. Records after 1901 give more information and the population coverage is near 100 percent.
Why This Record Was Created
Marriage records were created to legalize marital relationships and to safeguard the interests of the wife and other legal heirs.
The marriage date, place, residence of bride and groom, and occupation are fairly reliable. Other information such as age or birth place is dependent on the memory of the informants (usually the bride and groom).
Marriage records were handwritten or later typed on pre-printed forms or cards with single entries on each page. In some cases brides and grooms have separate cards; in others the bride and groom are listed together. The cards are arranged alphabetically by the first and third letter of the groom's surname. More recent marriage records may include certificates of intention of marriage and certificates of marriage.
While earlier records are usually less complete, genealogical facts in many marriage records include:
• Bride with her maiden name
• Residence of the Officiator
• Official position or title of the Officiator
• Date of the license or intention
• Date of the marriage
• Age of the bride and groom
• Birth places of the bride and groom
• Race of the bride and groom
• Occupation of the bride and groom
• Number of marriage (1st, 2nd, etc.) for the bride and groom
• Parents of the bride and groom
• Birth places of the Parents
• Residences of the Parents
• Age of the Parents
• Race of the Parents
• Occupation of the Parents
How to Use the Record
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. 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. 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 1900.
• 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.
How Has This Article Helped You?
Related Web Sites
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Related Wiki Articles
Sources of This Collection
“New Hampshire Statewide Marriage Records Early to 1947,” database, FamilySearch, 2009; from New Hampshire Bureau of Vital Records. “Marriage Records.” New Hampshire Bureau of Vital Records and Health Statistics, Concord. FHL microfilm. Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.
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