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* Finding the minimum information for a marriage certificate

To find a marriage certificate, you must at least know the full name of the groom, the first name of the bride, the approximate date 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 marriage certificate, you can either:

* Get help finding some of the minimum information by selecting one of the following items,

Names of children

Names of parents

Name of spouse

Marriage date

Marriage place

* click the Back button at the top of this window to return to the list of other places where you can find maiden names, 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.

Broderbund Software, Inc. also has Family Archives containing marriage records. The FamilyFinder Index, a feature of Family Tree Maker software and also available for searching on this Web site, 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 Broderbund Software 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 maiden names

You can look to a woman's children's names for clues to her maiden name. Do any of them have unusual first names or middle names? Unusual middle names may be the woman's maiden name.

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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