Washington, County Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Washington, County Marriages, 1855-2008 .
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Washington, United States
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Flag of Washington
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Location of Washington
Record Description
Record Type Marriage
Collection years 1855-2008
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites


What is in the Collection?

This collection contains marriage returns, certificates and a few affidavits depending on the county. Most of the records are pre-printed forms filled in by hand or typewritten. Some of the certificates are handwritten entries recorded in registers. The time period covered by this collection includes the years 1855 to 2008.

County officials began recording marriages in 1853 or soon after the counties were organized. Information was filled in by the minister, priest, or official performing the marriage ceremony and then returned to the county auditor of the county in which the marriage took place. Statewide registration of marriages began in 1968.

Marriage records legalize marital relationships and validate a wife’s legal claim to property.

County marriage records are considered a reliable source in family history research because they contain a record of an event usually registered very near the time the event occurred. The reliability, of course, depends on the accuracy of the informant.

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Washington, County Marriages, 1855-2008.

Collection Content

Sample Image

What Can this Collection Tell Me?

Information that may be found in the marriage records are:

  • Date and place of marriage
  • Names, ages and races of bride and groom
  • Residences and occupation of bride and groom
  • Number of groom's marriages
  • Number of bride's marriages
  • Birthplaces of bride and groom
  • Names of bride and groom's parents
  • Maiden names of bride and groom's mothers
  • Names of witnesses
  • Name of person performing the marriage

How Do I Search the Collection?

To begin your search it is helpful to know:

  • The name of your ancestor.
  • The approximate date of marriage.
  • The place where the marriage occurred.
  • The name of the intended spouse.

Search by Name by visiting the Collection Page:
Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information in the list to what you already know about your ancestor to determine if it is the correct family or person. You may need to compare several persons in the list before you find your ancestor.

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:
⇒Select the "County" category
⇒Select the "Record type, volumes and year range" category which takes you to the images.

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?

  • It is always a good idea to view the original record to find addition information that might lead you to find additional records or family members.
  • 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 additional family members 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 for records of additional family members found. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify.

I Can't Find Who I'm Looking For, What Now?

  • Try viewing the original record to see if there were errors in the transcription of the name, age, residence, etc.
  • If you cannot locate your ancestor in the locality in which you believe they were born, married or died, then try searching records of a nearby locality in an area search.
  • Standard spelling of names typically did not exist during the periods our ancestors lived in. Try variations of your ancestor’s name while searching the index or browsing through images.
  • Remember that sometimes individuals went by nicknames or alternated between using first and middle names. Try searching for these names as well.
  • 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 nearby counties.


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

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:

"Washington, County Marriages, 1855-2008." Database with Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Citing State Archives, Olympia.

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 Washington, County Marriages, 1855-2008.

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 Washington, County Marriages, 1855-2008.

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.