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Old 12-31-2012, 11:14 AM
 
62 posts, read 80,687 times
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Looking for a marrage record from early 1900's. What is the best resource?
Thank you
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Old 12-31-2012, 11:43 AM
 
Location: Pacific NW
6,413 posts, read 11,436,025 times
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There is no "best place." It really all depends on the locality you're looking in.

But as usual, Ancestry or FamilySearch remain the best overall resources.
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Old 12-31-2012, 01:17 PM
 
Location: Canada
5,959 posts, read 3,944,831 times
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You could start with Cyndi's list. For example, if you are looking within the U.S. only, here is the list of links for marriage information by state:

Cyndi's List - Marriages & Divorce - Locality Specific: United States
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Old 12-31-2012, 03:00 PM
 
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Nope to the other answers (especially Ancestry - NOT a good source for marriages!)

You need to go to COUNTY records. It does vary very much by location, but here's what you need to do:

Figure out in which COUNTY and on which approximate date your ancestor married. You can generally do this by reading census.

Find out how far back the records go in the appropriate COUNTY courthouse where your ancestor married. You can find out this info by getting on the correct county usgenweb site (www.usgenweb.org) or by looking it up in the book
International Vital Records Handbook. 5th Edition by Thomas Jay Kemp, which should be held by most larger libraries. Or simply CALL 1) the county historical society, then 2) the county clerk's office for that county to find out what records they hold. (But don't just ask the person who answers the phone to find your ancestor's record - there are procedures to be followed and fees to be paid!!!)

If the period you are searching for is before records were kept in that specific county, you will have to go to CHURCH RECORDS. If your ancestors were Catholic or Lutheran (or some others like the Quakers), you are in luck - those churches kept fabulous records on births, baptisms, marriages and deaths. Other churches which are less bureaucratic in form will have kept records less strictly, but still should be checked.

If you're only going back to the early 1900s you shouldn't have any problem at all. It's the pre-1840 records that are much harder to find.
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Old 12-31-2012, 09:37 PM
 
Location: Pacific NW
6,413 posts, read 11,436,025 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 601halfdozen0theother View Post
Nope to the other answers (especially Ancestry - NOT a good source for marriages!)
Of the over 1,500 marriage (& divorce) record databases at Ancestry's website are these top 100 (columns are: the title and number of records in the database):
  • England & Wales, FreeBMD Marriage Index, 1837-1915 32,698,349
  • England & Wales, Marriage Index, 1916-2005 63,961,218
  • Sweden, Church Records, 1500-1941 (in Swedish) 20,037,185
  • Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967 14,515,649
  • London, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921 7,549,376
  • Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 12,889,943
  • U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900 1,383,523
  • Pennsylvania, Church and Town Records, 1708-1985 7,542,774
  • London, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812 8,841,248
  • Ontario, Canada, Marriages, 1801-1928 3,393,369
  • Australia Marriage Index, 1788-1950 5,329,018
  • Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002 6,844,294
  • Missouri Marriage Records, 1805-2002 5,968,951
  • West Yorkshire, England, Marriages and Banns, 1813-1935 2,525,365
  • England & Wales Marriages, 1538-1940 2,649,804
  • Texas Marriage Collection, 1814-1909 and 1966-2002 12,788,833
  • Ireland, Civil Registration Marriages Index, 1845-1958 4,568,834
  • California, Marriage Index, 1960-1985 9,801,255
  • Historical Newspapers, Birth, Marriage, & Death Announcements, 1851-2003 1,579,456
  • West Yorkshire, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1512-1812 3,036,485
  • Florida Marriage Collection, 1822-1875 and 1927-2001 11,734,908
  • Arkansas, County Marriages Index, 1837-1957 3,554,066
  • North Carolina, Marriage Collection, 1741-2004 2,709,617
  • Indiana, Marriage Collection, 1800-1941 3,245,823
  • Ontario, Canada, Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1747-1967 1,274,408
  • Washington, Marriage Records, 1865-2004 4,315,453
  • Nevada, Marriage Index, 1956-2005 9,502,383
  • West Virginia, Marriages Index, 1785-1971 2,887,475
  • Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Marriage Records and Indexes, 1810-1973 1,880,003
  • Pallot's Marriage Index for England: 1780 - 1837 1,697,636
  • Quebec, Genealogical Dictionary of Canadian Families (Tanguay Collection), 1608-1890 (in French) 354,962
  • Dorset, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812 1,161,634
  • Liverpool, Lancashire, England, Marriages and Banns, 1813-1921 660,517
  • Acadia, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1670-1946 921,991
  • Ohio Marriage Index, 1970, 1972-2007 6,777,937
  • Alabama, Marriage Collection, 1800-1969 2,404,100
  • Como and Lecco, Lombardy, Italy, Civil Registration Records, 1866-1936 (in Italian) 2,162,838
  • Mecklenburg and Pomerania, Germany, Parish Register Transcripts, 1544-1918 (in German) 253,633
  • New Hampshire, Marriage Records Index, 1637-1947 990,291
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marriage Index, 1885-1951 1,830,431
  • Paris, France & Vicinity Marriage Banns, 1860-1902 (in French) 3,013,568
  • Warwickshire, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754-1910 576,830
  • Warwickshire, England, Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1535-1812 1,012,297
  • Cook County, Illinois, Marriages Index, 1871-1920 1,730,670
  • Lancashire, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754-1936 522,091
  • Minnesota, Marriage Collection, 1958-2001 2,712,431
  • Cook County, Illinois Marriage Index, 1930-1960 2,035,378
  • Oregon, Marriage Indexes, 1906-1924, 1946-2008 2,956,072
  • London and Surrey, England, Marriage Bonds and Allegations, 1597-1921 750,614
  • Dorset, England, Marriages and Banns, 1813-1921 401,567
  • Virginia, Marriages, 1740-1850 337,520
  • England, Andrews Newspaper Index Cards, 1790-1976 335,428
  • Maine, Marriage Records, 1705-1922 558,279
  • Vermont Marriage Records, 1909-2008 1,362,900
    Lancashire, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812 724,360
  • Web: Western States Marriage Index, 1809-2011 1,334,013
  • Massachusetts, Marriages, 1633-1850 820,711
  • Maine, Death Records, 1617-1922 463,970
  • Brandenburg, Germany, Transcripts of Church Records, 1700-1874 (in German) 317,214
  • Yorkshire, England, Extracted Parish Records 994,611
  • Connecticut, Town Marriage Records, pre-1870 (Barbour Collection) 218,569
  • Illinois Marriages, 1851-1900 659,028
  • Kentucky, Marriage Index, 1973-1999 2,342,097
  • Summit County, Ohio, Marriage Records, 1840-1980 571,166
  • Mississippi Marriages, 1776-1935 684,772
  • Kentucky, Marriage Records, 1852-1914 230,792
  • Staffordshire, England, Extracted Parish Records 482,605
  • Virginia Land, Marriage, and Probate Records, 1639-1850 134,392
  • Maine Marriages, 1892-1996 857,135
  • Shropshire, England, Extracted Parish Records 667,040
  • Wisconsin Marriages, 1973-1997 1,897,946
  • North Carolina, Marriage Bonds, 1741-1868 170,342
  • Minnesota, Marriages Index, 1849-1950 778,376
  • South Dakota Marriages, 1905-1949 545,737
  • Kentucky Marriages, 1802-1850 72,640
  • Marne, France Marriages, 1529-1907 (in French) 1,307,937
  • Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas, Mexico, Selected Parish Records, 1751-1880 113,767
  • Kent, England, Tyler Index to Parish Registers, 1538-1874 303,872
  • Lancashire, England, Extracted Parish Records 637,375
  • Connecticut, Marriage Index, 1959-2001 2,011,478
  • Georgia Marriages, 1699-1944 216,770
  • Georgia Marriages to 1850 167,492
  • Cook County, Illinois Marriage Indexes, 1912-1924 674,692
  • Web: Netherlands, Genlias Marriage Index, 1795-1944 (in Dutch) 2,193,568
  • Alabama, Marriages, Deaths, Wills, Court, and Other Records, 1784-1920
    99,354
  • Yorkshire, England: Parish Records 14,415
  • Wisconsin Marriages, pre-1907 919,470
  • England, Extracted Parish and Court Records 361,635
  • Perth, Scotland Newspaper Index Cards, 1809-1990 184,618
  • North Carolina Divorce Index, 1958-2004 2,326,612
  • Midlothian (Edinburgh), Scotland, Extracted Parish Records
    222,666
  • Web: RootsWeb Marriage Records Index 637,272
  • Ohio Marriages, 1803-1900 214,918
  • Liverpool, Lancashire, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1659-1812 199,696
  • Maryland Marriages, 1655-1850 257,488

If that's not a good source, go ahead and HOPE that you've guessed the right county, or know the right church to look at, hope that you don't have to PAY too much to the county clerk to look up the record, and maybe WAIT a month or more to get the record back.

If you want to use a bad source, then try Ancestry. You'll probably find them in an index, perhaps have a copy of the actual marriage record from county books attached digitally to the record. Of course, if you do find it in an index, going then to the county records is a great thing to do, as the index is not a primary source. It's a tool to get you to the primary source. But that does NOT make it a bad source.

Of course, I may be prejudiced. As I was finally, after about 40 years, able to find the marriage record of my German immigrant ancestors ... who I'd looked for all over the areas surrounding where they lived. Of course, Ancestry, that BAAAAAAD source, happened to recently have digitized the church records halfway across the state, in a place where I'd never known them to live. And not only gave me the marriage date and place, and the correct surname for my grandmother, but even had the audacity to tell me where she had come from in Germany.

Bad, bad, Ancestry, bad resource, lousy source for marriage records.

Last edited by EnricoV; 12-31-2012 at 09:52 PM..
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Old 01-01-2013, 05:35 AM
 
Location: Colorado (PA at heart)
9,922 posts, read 16,194,364 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 601halfdozen0theother View Post
Nope to the other answers (especially Ancestry - NOT a good source for marriages!)
So you speak for everyone, do you? Personally, I have found a number of marriage records on ACOM, even some that are not yet transcribed, which takes some digging. Try to remember that your experiences are not necessarily everyone else's before you start "noping" the other responses as though your expertise trumps everyone else's.

However, you are correct that county records are the place to look if you can't find the record from a collective source.

Penny, if you have an ACOM subscription, I do suggest looking there first because if you're paying for it, you might as well make use of it. Also check www.FamilySearch.org - which is free and they have many marriage records too. Beyond that, like I say, it's best to look into the county records. It's difficult to point you in the right direction without knowing what location your searching in - they are usually found with the County Clerk, Register of Wills or Orphan's Court. If you don't know where they were married, that is problematic. Also, ease of availability will vary depending on the location.
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Old 01-01-2013, 06:57 AM
 
Location: Out there somewhere...a traveling man.
42,499 posts, read 56,418,955 times
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In researching marriages of relatives in California I had to get copies from the State Genealogy archives in Sacramento, not the County. Cost I think was $10.00 for an un-certified copy. In Illinois it was the same, the State vital stats records dept, not county.
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Old 01-01-2013, 08:18 AM
 
Location: Colorado (PA at heart)
9,922 posts, read 16,194,364 times
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Yes, I should have said they "usually" come from the county - it's always been the county in my experience but of course I have not done research in every state, let alone every country.
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