Texas County Marriage Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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|This article describes a collection of historical records scheduled to become available at FamilySearch.org.|
Collection Time Period
This collection covers the years of 1837-1977
How to Use the Record
Begin your search by finding your ancestors in the index. Name indexes to marriages make it possible to access a specific marriage record quickly. Remember that these indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.
When searching the index it is helpful to know the following:
- The county where the marriage occurred.
- The name of the person at the time of marriage.
- The approximate marriage date.
- The marriage place.
- The name of the intended spouse.
Use the locator information found in the index (such as year, volume, page, entry, or certificate number) to locate your ancestors in the marriage records. Compare the information in the marriage record to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct person. You may need to compare the information of more than one person to make this determination.
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 residence of each partner to find a couple's birth records and parents' names.
- Use the birth date or age along with the residence to find the family in census records.
- Use the parents' names along with the residence to find the family in census records.
- Use the residence to locate church and land 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 bride’s title (Mrs.) 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.
Keep in mind:
- 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.
If you are unable to find the ancestors you are looking for, try the following:
- 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)
This collection consists of marriage registers, intentions and licenses which are either handwritten in a journal style or handwritten on pre-printed forms in a register style. Journal style usually has a single entry per page and registers usually have multiple entries on each page. County clerks generally used the same printed form during the same time periods. The records are arranged by county, then by volume and year range.
Genealogical facts found in these marriage records include the following:
- Name of the groom
- Name of the bride
- Title of bride and groom (such as Mr., Mrs., or Miss)
- Names of the officiator and title (such as Reverend or Minister)
- Date of the marriage
- Place of marriage
May also give:
- Age of bride and groom
- Residence of bride and groom
- Names of parents or legal guardians
- Residence of parents or legal guardians
Marriages were recorded by the clerk of the district court for each county from the time the county 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.
Why this Record Was Created
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.
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Contributions to This Article
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Sources of Information for This Collection
Texas County Marriages 1837-1977, database, FamilySearch; (http://familysearch.org/); from digital images of originals housed at various County Clerk offices throughout the state of Texas. Marriage records. FHL microfilm, 425 reels; digital images, 186 folders, Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah
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.
A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the Wiki Article: How to Cite FamilySearch Collections
Examples of citations
Texas, County Marriage Index, 1837-1977.digital images, From FamilySearch Internet (www.familysearch.org: January 11, 2011). Marriage of Thomas L. Mason and Sarah Ann Terry. 8 June 1870, Bastrop, Texas. film number 965227.