Finding the minimum information for church records
To get a copy of a church record, you must at least know the individual's name, and either the name of the church where the ceremony was performed or the name of the clergyman that appears on the certificate. If you do not have the minimum information to find a church record, you can either:
Get help finding some of the minimum information by selecting the following item,
Click the Back button on your browser to return to the list of other places where you can find marital status, or
read the paragraphs below for a few additional tips.
Finding church records
If you can find out the denomination of your ancestor's religion, you can try contacting all of the churches of that denomination in the area where you believe your ancestor lived. If they have records from the corresponding time period, they should be able to tell you whether or not your ancestor was a church member. If their records do not go back far enough, they may be able to tell you if any other churches of that denomination existed in the area at the time and where their records may be.
Marriage certificates from vital records offices often list a clergyman's name, so if you can find the marriage certificate for one marriage, you may be able to locate the record of a second marriage from your ancestors' church. If you suspect a second marriage, the records at your church may be able to verify the existence of another marriage. The same applies to a death certificate: it often lists a clergyman's name. To get a marriage or death certificate, you must know at least the full name of the groom and/or the maiden name of the bride for a marriage, or the full name of the deceased for a death, the approximate date of the event, and the state or county of the event, depending on when it took place. If you have this minimum information, see the topic Resources by state.
The International Genealogical Index (IGI), available through the Family History Library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on both microfilm and the FamilySearch computer, contains references to some church records. To search through the IGI, you only need to know your ancestor's name, although knowing approximate birth and death dates and the area where your ancestor lived will help you narrow your search. When you find the name of an ancestor in the IGI, you can order microfilm copies of the records through the Family History Library.
Finding a divorce or marital status
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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