Clues in marriage records
After the ceremony, the officiant returned a record of the marriage to the courthouse. The returns were either filed or entered into a bound marriage register. The officiant stopped by the courthouse to register or return the marriages he’d performed over a certain period of time. The couple might receive a certificate as an official record as well.
- names of bride and groom
- date and location of marriage
- name of officiant (justice of the peace, minister, etc.)
- names of bride’s and groom’s parents
- occupations of bride and groom
- ages and dates of birth for the bride and groom
- birthplaces for the bride, groom and parents
- names of witnesses
- names of surety or bondmen to marriage bond
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- The groom, Alexander McGregor, did not apply for the license. The man who did, George Elliot, may be related to him.
- Handwritten notes may offer great clues. In this case, the note indicates that the bride and groom were second cousins.
- This is the return section of the Marriage Record book. If it is blank, the marriage may not have taken place.
- The record doesn’t indicate whether Robert Hays was a minister or Justice of the Peace. Researching him may provide more information about the couple and their religious affiliation.
- The marriage record volume, kept by a county clerk, is a copy of the original records, and thus may contain mistakes. For example, other records state that the bride was Mary Jane, not Mary A.
Marriage License Application
- The handwritten birth date confirms that the groom, William K. Hood, was over the age of consent.
- Details about the parents of the bridal couple provide clues for future research. The next steps could include immigration records to see when David Hood and Elizabeth Angus came to America.
- This couple clearly lived in Cleveland, Ohio but married in Erie, Pa. If you can’t find a marriage record for an ancestor, check surrounding counties and nearby states.
- This application is the original record and includes the signatures of the bride and groom.
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