Finding the minimum amount of information for vital records
To find an individual's marriage date on a vital record, such as a marriage certificate, you must at least know the groom's full name and/or the bride's maiden name, the approximate year of the marriage, and the state or county of the marriage, depending on when the marriage took place. If you do not have the minimum information to find a vital record, you can either:
Get help finding some of the minimum information by selecting one of the following items,
click the Back button on your browser to return to the list of other places where you can find marriage dates, or
read the paragraphs below for a few additional tips.
Finding vital records
Even if you don't have the minimum information required to find the original records, you're not completely out of luck. Indexes to vital records, including marriage records, have been made for some states and counties. These indexes provide you with the information you need to access the original record. Check with libraries and genealogy societies in the area -- they may know if any indexes exist for the records that you need.
Genealogy.com, Inc. also has Family Archives containing marriage records. The FamilyFinder Index, a feature of Family Tree Maker software and also available for searching at FamilyTreeMaker.com, is an index of over 220 million names from census records, marriage records, social security death records, actual family trees, and more. This feature can help you by telling you if your ancestor's name is actually listed on one of the marriage CDs Genealogy.com sells. Using the FamilyFinder Index couldn't be easier -- all you need to do is enter the names of your ancestors right into your own computer. If the FamilyFinder Index tells you that your ancestors are listed, then it's simple to locate your ancestor's record. For more information about FamilyFinder, or for information about purchasing CD-ROM indexes, see the topic All about FamilyFinder.
Finding marriage dates
You can approximate a couple's marriage date if you know the birth date of the oldest child. Pregnancies often happened soon after a couple's marriage, so you can estimate the marriage date to be 1-2 years before the birth of the first child. This will at least give you a target range of years in which to search for the records.
Make sure to check photo albums, scrapbooks, diaries, and family Bibles at home. See the topic Finding information at home for more information. Also check for local histories. See the topic Finding previous research.
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