California, County Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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California, County Marriages, 1850-1952 .
This article describes a collection of records at
California, United States
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Location of California
Record Description
Record Type Marriages
Collection years 1850-1952
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites

What is in the Collection?

This collection consists of an index of county marriages acquired from local courthouses for the years 1850 to 1952. Coverage years will vary by county.

The county marriage records consist of a number of different type of documents including, licenses, certificates, registers, applications, affidavits, and stubs. These records are often in bound volumes but may also have some loose papers.

Collection Content

Coverage Table and Map

A table and map showing the number of records per county is available at here. This page also includes a chart showing the number of records per year. Most of the records in the collection are from the time periods listed in the table; however, the collection may have a few records from before or after the time period. Records where the exact county could not be easily identified due to incomplete information in the index as listed in the table as California (State), but are not graphed on the map.

To see a coverage map of FamilySearch's holdings of California county marriage records, click here.

Digital Folder List

This collection was published as a DGS browse collection. These collections do not include any human-readable waypoint data making them difficult to use. A table showing each DGS number and its contents can be found in California, County Marriages Digital Folder Number List. The list can be sorted by DGS number, GS number, author, title, and county.

What Can this Collection Tell Me?

Information usually found in the marriage records includes the following:

  • Name of the groom
  • Name of the bride, often including the maiden name of the bride
  • Names of the officiator and witnesses
  • Names of the parents or guardians of the bride and groom
  • Date of the marriage
  • Birthplaces of the bride and groom
  • Residences of the bride and groom
  • Age and races of the bride and groom
  • Marital status of the bride and groom

How Do I Search the Collection?

To begin your search it is helpful to know the following:

  • The name of the bride and groom
  • The approximate marriage date and place

Search by Name by visiting the Collection Page:
Fill in the requested information 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 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 the "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒ Select the "Digital Folder Number" category which takes you to the images

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 wiki 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. For example:

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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.

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

  • 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 counties.
  • 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.

For a summary of this information see the wiki article: United States, How to Use the Records Summary (FamilySearch Historical Records).

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 Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to 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

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information; that is, cite your sources. This will help people find the record again and evaluate the reliability of the source. 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. Citations are available for the collection as a whole and each record or image individually.

Collection Citation:

"California, County Marriages, 1850-1952." Database with Images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2016. Citing County courthouses, California.

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 California, County Marriages, 1850-1952.

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 California, County Marriages, 1850-1952.

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.