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16 Documents Associated with a Single Marriage Contract, Really?

This year we are offering a series of Genealogy and Local History Retreats in various cities. At the Retreat we will be assisting attendees to learn about and understand the six basic record types used successfully by professionals to get the best results and break down research barriers that others seem to have such difficulty with. One of the basic record types we will be discussing is “Marriage Records.” You may think, “DOH! That’s a no brainer!” But, did you know at the time a marriage takes place there may be 16 original documents associated with it?

Let me describe some of them to you. We’ll break them down into two time periods, before the marriage and after the marriage.

Before the Marriage there is evidence of the “Intent to Marry” with these associated documents:

  • Consent Affidavit, from a parent or guardian
  • Declaration of Intent, such as banns, Intentions, allegations
  • Pre-nuptials, marriage contracts, agreements to protect property rights
  • Marriage Permits, applications, licenses, marriage bonds

After the Marriage there is evidence of the “Proof of Marriage” with these associated documents:

  • Marriage Certificate, usually kept by the bride
  • Registration of Marriage, marriage register, church book, Justice of the Peace Docket
  • Reports, Endorsement on license, stub, return by officiator
  • Affirmation and acknowledgments, for slaves, Native Americans, or others
  • Post-nuptials, to avoid messy divorces

As you research your family history be sure to check all levels of jurisdiction. We are most familiar with the county records and if the courthouse burned, it is easy to feel a huge barrier has stopped your progress. As you research think of the different levels of jurisdiction and what entity might have additional sources of evidence for the Marriage Contract.

Good luck with your research and we hope to see you at a Local Retreat this year where we will go over all of these resources in-depth as well as others in the six basic record types used by professionals. There are more records than you’ll ever live long enough to search. Come and learn more about the basics that you haven’t learned yet.

This is the least expensive way for you to get this type of in-depth research training with personal assistance from experts. Don’t delay, register today for one of our currently scheduled Retreats!

Seating is limited.

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