Ohio County Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.
Access the records: Ohio County Marriages, 1790-1950 .
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Collection Time Period

The records in this collection are for the years 1790 to 1950.

Record Description

The collection consists of a name index and images of county marriage records within the state of Ohio, acquired from local courthouses. The records consist of:

  • Licenses
  • Certificates
  • Declarations
  • Affidavits
  • Loose documents
  • Abstracts

The records are generally arranged by:

  • County, volume and date
  • License number
  • Page number

Record Content

County marriage records include the following genealogical information:

  • Names of bride and groom
  • Marriage date
  • Marriage place
  • Birthplaces (starting about 1870)
  • Ages (use this to calculate an exact birth date; later records listed a day and year of birth)
  • Name of parent or guardian if the individual was under the legal age (included in early records)
  • Parents’ names, including the maiden name (included in later records, which were on preprinted forms)
  • Name of the officiator
  • Names of witnesses if any

Later marriage records contain the following additional information:\

  • Township, county, and state of residence
  • Occupation
  • Title of the officiator
  • Officiator’s residence

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 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)

Record History

County marriage records have been kept from about the time the county was formed to the present. The marriages were recorded by clerks of the various courts. In Ohio the probate court usually recorded marriages, although the court of common pleas also recorded some early marriages. In 1949 the state assumed responsibility for recording marriages.

Most marriages in a county were recorded. However, some religious groups may not have reported church marriages to civil authorities. General compliance with the civil registration process increased after civil registration began in 1949.

Why this Record Was Created

Ohio’s counties recorded marriages to safeguard the interests of the wife and other legal heirs.

Record Reliability

The facts that were current at the time of the marriage, such as marriage date, residence, and so on, were usually accurate, although some misinformation may have been given. Other facts that relied on a person’s memory, such as age or birthplace, were more likely to have been incorrect.

Related Web Sites

This section of the article is incomplete. You can help FamilySearch Wiki by supplying links to related web sites here.

Related Wiki Articles

Ohio Vital 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.


Citation for This Collection

+ The following citation refers to the original source of the data and images published on FamilySearch.org. It may include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.

Ohio. County Marriages, 1790-1950. Various County Courts throughout Ohio.

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

Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection

  • "Ohio Marriage Records". database and digital images,FamilySearch (familysearch.org: 7 March 2012), Robert Anderson and Sarah Jane Hagerman, 11 June 1861; citing Probate Judge of Van Wert County, Marriage records, FHL microfilm 1,015,859, Northwest Ohio-Great Lakes Research Center, Bowling Green.