Vital records – records of births, marriages and deaths – are the basic building blocks of family history research as they contain lots of information for your family tree.
Marriage records can help genealogists to establish the religious affiliations of their ancestors and can reveal other details such as age and place of birth, occupation, residences and parents’ names.
We’ve put together our top search tips to help you make the most of our marriage records.
- Narrow your search for marriage records by looking at the age and birthplace of the first child. This information can also be found in census records. Start your search a year prior to the child’s birth and gradually widen your search back (and forward) in time until you have located the record. Tracing your ancestor through directories can also be helpful.
- Seek out the marriage records for all family members. Information found on the records of siblings may include helpful details that aren’t found on your ancestor’s record.
- When you find a record in a marriage index, always follow up and request the original record. Click on the database title and the source information and description on the collection page will tell you where the records are held.
- Keep in mind that when civil registration first began, not everyone complied immediately. When you can’t locate a civil marriage record, look for census records and directories that can place your ancestor in a particular place around the time of marriage. Then investigate churches in the area where the couple might have been married.
- Once you find a matching record, save it to your family tree – that way you can provide evidence to back up the information in your family tree, easily share your discovery with your family and quickly find the historical record again later.
What’s your top tip on searching marriage records? Let us know on our Facebook page.