Early American Marriage Collection
The essence of genealogy is the research and discovery of vital records and information about your ancestors and their families. Research on families before the Civil War can be difficult and frustrating because records are accessed by locality and, with the later migrations of American families, we often do not know where our families lived in the early years of this country.
This collection of early American marriages represents years of research gathering marriages from local town and county sources. While these marriages have been published in book form for their individual states, now you can search several nearby states at once with just a few keystrokes. Although not every marriage was recorded, or later found as this collection was assembled, you will surely find many of your early relatives, often in places you never planned on searching.
Cautions About this Collection
Every effort was made to keep the spelling in the original text, and to find all possible records for the time period covered. However, many county records were destroyed by fire, floods, neglect, and carelessness.
The purpose of this collection is to provide a time and place for as many marriages as possible. It is up to the researcher to examine the original records (usually available on microfilm) and gather whatever additional genealogical information is desired.
In this collection, the marriage date is usually the date of marriage as given in the original entry. However, when no marriage date is given (e.g., the marriage return was not provided to the record keeper), the date of the license is used. In a few cases, a marriage will be listed twice, but in two different counties. This most often happened when a couple obtained a license in one county, but were actually married in another county. To provide additional research clues, this collection includes both entries.
There are records that may have been overlooked, misspelled, or not available to the researchers. Therefore, if a marriage is suspected to have occurred, but is not in this collection, further research in additional sources may locate the evidence.
Finding the Original Marriage Record
To find the original source, check the Family History Library Catalog under the name of the state, then the county and then the subject heading ""Vital Records."" The catalog is available at the library in Salt Lake City, and at more than 3,000 branches or family history centers throughout the world. Read through the catalog entries and locate one or more sources that include marriages for the year of interest. Obtain that source, and look for the marriage entry. In original records, most marriages are listed chronologically with the earliest date first. Also check for published books which may include the marriage entry. If none of the records listed under the county name include the marriage you are seeking, look in the catalog under the name of the state and the heading Vital Records. Some state-wide books may have been used to compile this collection.