Illinois, County Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Records)
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Illinois, County Marriages, 1810-1934 .
|This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.|
|Illinois, United States|
|Flag of Illinois|
|Location of Illinois|
|Record Type||Marriage Index|
- 1 What is in the Collection?
- 2 Collection Content
- 3 What Can this Collection Tell Me?
- 4 How Do I Search the Collection?
- 5 What Do I Do Next?
- 6 General Information About These Records
- 7 Citing this Collection
- 8 How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?
What is in the Collection?
The collection consists of an index to county marriages from the state of Illinois for the years 1810 to 1934.
Coverage Table and Map
A coverage table showing the year ranges for each county this collection is available in the wiki article Illinois, County Marriages Coverage Table (FamilySearch Historical Records).
To see a coverage table, map, and the number of records per year in this collection click here.
What Can this Collection Tell Me?
Records found in this collection usually contain the following:
- Marriage date
- Marriage place
- Names of the bride and groom
- Ages of the bride and groom
- Names of witnesses
- Name of the officiator who performed the marriage
- Officiator’s title
- Residence of bride and groom
- License date and number
- Recording date
How Do I Search the Collection?
To begin you search it is helpful to know:
- The name of your ancestor.
- The approximate date of marriage.
- The county where the marriage occurred.
- The name of the intended spouse.
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.
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.
|The indexed records will usually indicate a GS Film Number. Once you have found the record you were looking for, click on the film number. Some of these films offer an image of the record. If an image is not available, the films can be accessed through a Family History Center. Look at an image of the original record, if possible. The index entry generally lists only the most basic identifying information for an individual, so the original record may contain further information which was not indexed. Save or print a copy of the image.|
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.
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 age to calculate an approximate birth date.
- Use the birth date or age along with the residence to find the family in census records.
- Use the residence to locate church and land records.
- Indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.
- 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.
- To see a coverage map of FamilySearch's holdings of Illinois marriages, click here.
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.
General Information About These Records
By the mid-1800s the counties had pre-printed register books. Starting in 1877, marriage register books provided columns for ages, residences, birth places, and sometimes the names of the parents or guardians of the bride and groom.
Marriage returns were reported by the minister or Justice of the Peace who performed the marriage. County histories can be checked to learn which religion and congregation a minister served. Ministers’ returns may reveal that the marriage took place in a private residence, often the home of a parent or relative.
The county clerk usually kept marriage records from the time the county was organized. The counties continue to record marriages to the present day and only county clerks can issue certified copies of the marriage certificate. A statewide register of marriages began in 1962 as county clerks forwarded marriage information to the Illinois Department of Health. If you do not know the county where a couple married after 1962, the Division of Vital Records may provide the marriage date and county.
Counties in Illinois recorded marriages to legalize marital relationships and to safeguard the interests of wives. The marriage date, residence, and other facts that were current at the time the marriage occurred are quite reliable, though there is still a chance of misinformation. Other data such as age or birth place have more chance of error due to the lapse of time between marriage and birth.
Illinois marriage records included marriage registers and marriage licenses. Sometimes only one type of marriage record was preserved. Early county marriage records were handwritten into bound books with multiple entries to a page. These records provided little more than the date of marriage, names of the bride and groom, and the person who performed the marriage.
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.
- "Illinois, County Marriages, 1810-1934." Database. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2017. County offices, Illinois.
Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):
How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?
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