Louisiana, Parish Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.

Contents

Record Description

The collection consists of marriage licenses and certificates, including a few marriage declarations and marriage stubs for the years 1837 to 1957.

The records are arranged by parish (county), then by volume and year range. The form type varies between register style and certificate style. Clerks usually used the same printed form during the same time periods. Marriage records were generally well preserved, although fires, floods, or other disasters may have destroyed some records.

The earliest marriage bonds and licenses were usually handwritten on loose papers that were later bound into lettered volumes. Some marriage records had multiple entries on each page, while others had single records per page.

Marriages were usually recorded by the clerk of the district court for each parish (county) from the time the parish was formed. Persons desiring to marry obtained a license that they presented to the minister or other person authorized to marry, such as a justice of the peace. Once the marriage was performed, the officiator sent a return to the clerk confirming that the marriage had occurred.

Civil marriage records were created to legalize marital relationships and to protect the interests of the wife and other heirs to legal claims on property. 

The marriage date, place, residence of the bride and groom, and occupations are relatively reliable. Other information, such as age or birthplace, is dependent on the knowledge, memory, and accuracy of the informants, usually the bride and groom. 

Record Content

Information found in these marriage records include the following:

  • Date and place of marriage
  • Name of groom
  • Groom's birth date and place of birth
  • Groom's current residence, occupation and race
  • Names of groom's parents, including mother's maiden name
  • Birthplace of groom's parents
  • Name of bride
  • Bride's birth date and place of birth
  • Bride's current residence, occupation and race
  • Names of bride's parents, including mother's maiden name
  • Birthplace of bride's parents
  • Number of previous marriages, if any
  • Court where legal proceedings of any divorce were finalized
  • Name of officiator
  • Names of witnesses

How to Use the Record

To begin your search it is helpful to know:

  • The name of the person at the time of marriage.
  • The approximate marriage date.
  • The marriage place.
  • The name of the intended spouse.

Search the Collection

Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors 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 compare the information about more than one person to find your ancestor.

As you are searching it is helpful to know such information as your ancestor’s given name and surname, some identifying information such as residence and age, and family relationships. Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name as your ancestor and that your ancestor may have used nicknames or different names at different times

For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line video at FamilySearch Search Tips.

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 employment records or other types of records such as 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 parish 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?

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for nicknames and abbreviated names.
  • Look for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume. Local genealogical and historical societies often have indexes to local records.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby localities.
  • Try alternative search methods such as only filling in the surname search box (or the given name search box) on the landing page leaving the other box empty and then click on search. This should return a list of everyone with that particular name. You could then browse the list for individuals that may be your ancestor.


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Don't overlook FHL Place Louisiana items or FHL Keyword United States, Louisiana items in the FamilySearch Library Catalog. For other libraries (local and national) or to gain access to items of interest, see Louisiana Archives and Libraries.

Related Web Sites

Louisiana Marriage Records

Related Wiki Articles

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.

Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

When you copy information from a record, you should also list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.

Citation for This Collection

The citation for an image is available on each image in this collection by clicking Show Citation at the bottom left of the image screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Louisiana, Parish Marriages, 1837-1929.

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.

"Louisiana, Parish Marriages, 1837-1957" Index and Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing Parish Courthouses, state-wide, Louisiana.

 

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  • This page was last modified on 9 July 2014, at 15:11.
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