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* Finding divorce or marital status with vital records

A marriage certificate is a good place to check for marital status because it will show any previous marriages if they existed. A vital records office may also have other documents which can help you figure out an individual's marital status: marriage intentions, marriage applications, marriage contracts or settlements, and marriage returns. In addition, vital records offices have divorce records that can give you exact divorce dates. To get the address where you must write to obtain any of these vital records, see the topic Resources by state.

When looking for marriage records, many people use computerized marriage records indexes to help them find the record that they need. Some libraries have computerized marriage records indexes and you can also purchase Family Archives containing marriage records from Broderbund Software, Inc.

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 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.

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