District of Columbia, Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Collections)

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District of Columbia, Marriages, 1811-1950 .
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
District of Columbia, United States
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Flag of District of Columbia
US locator map District of Columbia.PNG
Location of District of Columbia
Record Description
Record Type Marriage
Collection years 1811-1950
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
Clerk of the Superior Court. Records Office, Washington D.C


What is in the Collection?

Most of this collection consists of marriage licenses and certificates, including a few marriage declarations and marriage stubs for the years 1811 to 1950.

The records are arranged by county, then by volume and year range. The form type varies between register style and certificate style. County 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.

Registration of marriages began in 1811. Some of the early marriages for the years 1811 to 1858 have been transcribed by the DAR and are on microfilm at the Family History Library(FHL Collection Film 845766). Easier-to-use versions of these records include:

  • DC marriage records 1811-1950; indexes, 1811-1986 (FHL Collection Film 2079252).
  • Alexandria (DC) marriage certificates returned 1801-1850(FHL Collection Film 1902941 item 3).
  • DC marriage registers 1811-1870 (FHL Collection Book 975.3 V28p)  Early registers only contain the name of the bride and groom and the date of marriage.
  • DC marriage returns, 1874-1902, 1907-1923; consents, 1896-Dec. 1950 (FHL Collection Film 2070925) These records may provide the name of the bride and groom, and their age, residence, color, occupation, birthplace and number of marriages.
  • DC newspaper marriage notices 1800-1850 (FHL Collection Film 929472).

You can obtain marriage records from 1811 to the present by writing to:

Superior Court of the District of Columbia
Marriage License Bureau
500 Indiana Avenue N.W.
Washington, DC 20001
Telephone: 202-879-4840
Internet: District of Columbia Courts

Marriages more than 50 years old are considered public record and no approval is needed to apply for a record copy.

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.

What Can These Records Tell Me?

Marriage records usually contain the following information:

  • Groom's name and place of residence
  • Bride's name and place of residence
  • Date and place of marriage
  • Names of witnesses
  • Name of officiator

Collection Content

Coverage Map

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

Sample Images

Digital Folder Number 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 District of Columbia, Marriages Digital Folder Number List. The list can be sorted by DGS number, GS number, author, title and film note with a link to the FamilySearch Catalog record for the original microfilm publication.

How Do I Search the Collection?

When searching the index it is helpful to know the following:

  • The name of the person at the time of marriage
  • The approximate marriage date or name of spouse

Search the Index

Search by name by visiting the Collection Page.
  1. Fill in the search boxes on the Collection Page with the information you have
  2. Click Search to show possible matches

View the Images

To view images in this collection:
  1. Look at the District of Columbia, Marriages Digital Folder Number List article to determine the folder/film number for the images you want to see
  2. Go to the Browse Page
  3. Select the Film number to view the images


How Do I Analyze the Results?

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images.

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


What Do I Do Next?

I Found Who I was Looking for, What Now?

  • Copy the citation below, in case you need to find this record again later.
  • Use the age or estimated birth date to find other church and vital records such as birth, baptism, and death records.
  • Use the information found in the record to find land, probate and immigration records.
  • Use the information found in the record to find additional family members in censuses. Witnesses were usually family members.
  • Repeat this process with additional family members found, to find more generations of the family.
  • Church Records were kept years before counties began keeping records. They are a good source for finding ancestors before 1900.

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

  • If your ancestor does not have a common name, collect entries for every person who has the same surname. This list can help you find possible relatives.
  • If you cannot locate your ancestor in the locality in which you believe they lived, then try searching records of a nearby town or county.
  • Try different spellings of your ancestor’s name.
  • Remember that sometimes individuals went by nicknames or alternated between using first and middle names. Try searching for these names as well.
  • Check the info box above for additional FamilySearch websites and related websites that may assist you in finding similar records.

Known Issues with This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
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 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

"District of Columbia Marriages, 1811-1950." Database with Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2017. Citing Clerk of the Superior Court. Records Office, Washington D.C.

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 District of Columbia Marriages, 1811-1950.


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 District of Columbia Marriages, 1811-1950.

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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.