United States Western States Marriage Index (FamilySearch Historical Records)
What is in the Collection?
This is an index to over 740,000 marriages prior to 1900. The entries are from county records in the following 12 western states:
- New Mexico
The coverage is uneven and not comprehensive, although it contains a high percentage of marriages for Utah, Idaho and Nevada prior to 1900.
This index was created by volunteers at Brigham Young University-Idaho and the Snake River Family History Center. The most reliable information is the date and place of the marriage and license date. Other information is dependent upon the reliability of the informant.
What Can this Collection Tell Me?
Most entries in the index include the following information:
- Bride’s name
- Bride’s residence
- Groom’s name
- Groom’s residence
- Marriage date
- Marriage place
- County and state
- Page number
How Do I Search the Collection?
To begin your search it is helpful to know:
- The name of the person at the time of marriage.
- The approximate marriage date and place.
- The name of the intended spouse.
Use the locator information found in the index (such as 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
Search by Name by visiting the Collection Page (Hyperlink to (Landing Page):
Fill in the requested information in the boxes 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 look at the information on several individuals comparing the information about them to your ancestors to make this determination. 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 on-line article FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.
What Do I Do Next?
When you have located your ancestor in the index, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. Download a copy of the record, or extract the genealogical information needed. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details. Add this new information to your records of each family. The information may also lead you to other records about your ancestors.
I Found Who I was Looking for, What Now?
- Continue to search the index and records to identify other relatives.
- When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
- You may need to compare the information of more than one family or person to make this determination.
I Can't Find Who I'm Looking for, What Now?
- Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for alias names, nicknames and abbreviated names.
- Look for an 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 the counties and states where your ancestors lived.
- 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.
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.
- "Western States Marriage Index." Database. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Citing David O. McKay Library, Brigham Young University – Idaho, Rexburg, Idaho.
Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):
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