Arkansas County Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Arkansas County Marriages, 1837-1957 .
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Arkansas, United States
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Flag of Arkansas
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Location of Arkansas
Record Description
Record Type Marriage
Collection years 1837-1957
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites


What is in the Collection?

This collection consists of an index and images of marriages recorded in counties of Arkansas for the years 1837 to 1957. There may be related records included with marriage records. Once an image of a marriage record is located, browse through preceding and following images to check for related records. This project was indexed in partnership with the Arkansas Genealogical Society.

Collection Content

Coverage Table and Map

A coverage table for this collection is available in the wiki article Arkansas County Marriages, Coverage Table (FamilySearch Historical Records)

To see a coverage map of FamilySearch's holdings of Arkansas marriages, click here.

Sample Image

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.

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.

What Can this Collection Tell Me?

While earlier records are usually less complete, information found in marriage records usually include:

  • 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 Do I Search the Collection?

To begin your search it is helpful to know:


  • The name of the bride or groom.
  • The approximate marriage date.
  • The place where the marriage happened.
  • The names of family members who may have served as witnesses.


Search by Name by visiting the Collection Page:
Fill in your ancestor’s name in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about those in the list to what you already know about your own 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.

View images in this collection by visiting the browse page
To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒Select "Browse through images" on the initial Collection Page:
⇒Select the “Film Number (Digital Folder Number)" category which takes you to the images

Look at each image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination.

With either search 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.

For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line article FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.

What Do I Do Next?

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.

I Found Who I was Looking for, What Now?

  • 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.
  • 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.

I Can’t Find Who I’m Looking for, What Now?

  • 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.

Known Issues with This Collection

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See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to support@familysearch.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.

Citing this Collection

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image..

Collection Citation:

"Arkansas, County Marriages 1837-1957." Database with Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Citing County Courthouses, Arkansas.

Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):

The citation for a record is available with each record in this collection, at the bottom of the record screen. You can search records in this collection by visiting the search page for Arkansas, County Marriages, 1837-1957.


Image Citation:

The image citation is available by clicking on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Arkansas, County Marriages, 1837-1957.


How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.