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- Databases updated on January 23, 2017
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Marriage Records Search
Utilizing Marriage Records to Track Family Members, Confirm Family Histories
Marriage records contain a wealth of information that can be used to track down a long-lost loved one, parent or even determine the details that should be completed during your genealogical research. These vital records are made public, and the information contained in them is essential while conducting research into the lives of your ancestors and confirm their marital status.
Public and Other Information Contained in Marriage Records
Per the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), marriage records are considered a matter of public record. Any member of the public can easily confirm whether a marriage occurred between two people, and access general information such as the date and county of marriage and full name of the bride and groom.
Other details contained in marriage records, such as the birthplace of the bride and groom, their parents' names, address and identification information is only viewable by the parties named on the marriage license or direct relatives such as children or grandchildren. However, each state varies its requirements for accessing these more personal details. Some states will allow anyone to access a complete marriage record after a certain period of time has passed – such as 50 or 100 years, for example – to help alleviate the potential problem of identity theft.
Using Marriage Records to Learn More about Your Family
If you simply need to confirm or deny the existence of a marriage, you can easily do so by searching for marriage records in his or her name. If you receive a result, you would need to follow your search up with a scan of divorce records to determine if they are still married or not.
If you're using marriage records to complete your family history, information such as the full groom's name, maiden name of the bride, their parents' names, the date and place of marriage can help you find the next bit of information that will help in your search. Now you can search for a loved one using her married name, or track down children that resulted from the marriage.
You can also travel further back in time by following marriage records for the parents named on the marriage record, as well as birth records, death records and divorce records. You can complete dates of birth and death, marriage and divorce by using these clues included in your marriage records search.
Process of Creating and Maintaining Marriage Records
Understanding how vital records are created can help to process the information contained in them. When a couple decides to marry, they must apply for a marriage license from the local health department or court. After fees are paid and the license is granted by the local authorities, this license is taken to the actual ceremony and signed off on by the official marrying the couple, as well as witnesses at the wedding.
These details can paint a descriptive picture of the events surrounding the marriage and audience the couple had while exchanging vows. You can utilize the information contained in marriage records to research a living loved one or investigate your ancestors and their lives, simply by conducting a marriage records search in their name.