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US Marriage Records

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Marriage records in the United States have been, and is some cases, still are, kept by churches, ministers, justices of the peace, state boards of health, colonial governors, and local (county and town) governments. The most important record-keeping agencies for marriages in the United States today are State Boards of Health or Bureaus of Vital Statistics or their equivalents. Prior to States keeping marriage records, they were filed with town and county clerks. There is no uniformity among U.S. marriage records and a few States did not require them at all until the late 1800s, including New York State (New York City kept them long before then), Pennsylvania and South Carolina. Information recorded varied widely and evolved over time. The earliest records usually give the names of the bride and groom and the date and place of their marriage. Over time record-keepers asked for more detailed, including some or all of the following:

  • Date & Place of Marriage
  • Full names of bride and groom
  • Marital Status – single, widowed or divorced
  • Number of times married
  • Age at time of marriage
  • Date and/or place of birth for bride and groom
  • Residence of the bride and groom
  • Occupations
  • Names and birthplaces of the bride’s and groom’s parents
  • Residence of the bride’s and groom’s parents
  • Names of the witnesses to the marriage
  • Name of the person performing the marriage

 

VERY IMPORTANT INFORMATION

When employing a professional record searcher you are paying for the time it takes to perform the search, not the results. If the record ordered was not filed in the place or record group we are asked to search, you will be charged for the time it took to search that record. Providing accurate, detailed information will help record searchers distinguish your ancestor from others with the same name. At a mimimum you must estimate a date and place of marriage. Email a pedigree chart, family group record, GEDCOM file and any other details or instructions that will help us find exactly what you need. You can also call us at (801) 571-6122.

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