Arkansas County Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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|This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.|
Access the records: Arkansas County Marriages, 1837-1957 .
|You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Arkansas, County Marriages, 1837-1957.|
This Collection will include records from 1837 to 1957.
There are three types of marriage records:
- Marriage books are usually large, bound volumes, especially those with printed columns. Entries were made chronologically. Some volumes, especially those for earlier years, were written in paragraph format, often with two or three marriages on each page. When printed pages were introduced later, marriages were recorded in columns, allowing for many entries per page.
- Marriage licenses may be in paragraph format or printed forms.
- Marriage returns are usually in paragraph format.
For a list of film numbers currently published in this collection, select the Browse link from the collection landing page.
County officials, usually the county clerk, began keeping marriage records from the time the county was formed. When the person obtained a license, he went to a minister or other person authorized to perform marriages, such as the justice of the peace. That person sent a return to the county clerk confirming that the marriage had occurred. Most marriages that took place in a county were recorded by civil authorities.
Marriage records validate a wife’s legal claim to property.
The date and place of marriage and the name of the officiator are very reliable. Other information depends upon the knowledge and reliability of the informants (usually the bride and groom). Only a few deliberately provided false information.
A coverage table for this collection is available in the wiki article Arkansas County Marriages, Coverage Table (FamilySearch Historical Records)
While earlier records are usually less complete, information found in marriage records includes:
- Names of the groom, bride, and officiator. The bride’s surname at the time of marriage is her maiden name, unless she was previously married. Records may include names of parents or guardians, especially in later records. Names of witnesses are also often given.
- Date of the marriage or license
- Birth dates and places of the bride and groom (in later records)
- Residences of the bride and groom
- Occupation of the groom (frequently)
- Name of the officiator, either a Minister (MG) or a Justice of the Peace (JP)
How to Use the Records
To begin your search it is helpful to know the following:
- Names of the bride and groom
- Identifying information such as the marriage date or place
Search the Collection
To search the collection fill in the requested information in the boxes on the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the individuals in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to look at the information on several individuals comparing the information about them to your ancestors to make this determination. Keep in mind:
- There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
- You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
- Your ancestor may have used different names, or variations of their name, throughout their life.
- If your ancestor used an alias or a nickname, be sure to check for those alternate names.
- Even though these indexes are very accurate they may still contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.
For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line video at FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.
Using the Information
When you have located your ancestor’s marriage record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family. For example:
- Use the marriage date and place as the basis for compiling a new family group or for verifying existing information.
- Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth of each partner to find a couple's birth records and parents' names.
- Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth to find the family in census records.
- Use the residence and names of the parents to locate church and land records.
- Use the parents' birth places to find former residences and to establish a migration pattern for the family.
Tips to Keep in Mind
- Occupations listed can lead you to other types of records such as employment or military records.
- The name of the officiator is a clue to their religion or area of residence in the county. However, ministers may have reported marriages performed in other counties.
- Compile the marriage entries for every person who has the same surname as the bride or groom; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual.
- Continue to search the marriage records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives of the bride and groom who may have married in the same county or nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family or even the second marriage of a parent. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify.
- Use the marriage number to identify previous marriages.
- When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
- The information in marriage records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the informant.
- Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1800s.
- There is also some variation in the information given from one marriage record to another record.
Unable to Find Your Ancestor?
- Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
- Search for the marriage record of the marriage partner if known.
- Check for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume.
- Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.
For a summary of this information see the wiki article: United States, How to Use the Records Summary (FamilySearch Historical Records).
|Don't overlook FHL Keyword Arkansas, Marriage Records items in the FamilySearch Library Catalog. For other libraries (local and national) or to gain access to items of interest, see the wiki article Arkansas Archives and Libraries. For additional information about this state see the wiki article Arkansas.|
Known Issues with This Collection
For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.
Related Wiki Articles
- Arkansas Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- Arkansas Marriage Index (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- Arkansas Birth, Marriage and Death Records
- Arkansas Vital Records Online
- United States, How to Use Marriage Records
Contributions to This Article
|We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. Guidelines are available to help you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide. If you would like to get more involved join the WikiProject FamilySearch Records.|
Citation for This Collection
The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Records collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records.
- "Arkansas, County Marriages 1837-1957." Index and Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing County Courthouses, Arkansas.
- This page was last modified on 13 August 2014, at 16:42.
- This page has been accessed 37,974 times.
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