Washington, County Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Washington, County Marriages, 1855-2008 .
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?

The time period covered by this collection includes the dates 1855-2008.

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.

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

Information that may be found in the marriage records are:

  • Date and place of marriage
  • Name, age and race of groom
  • Residence and occupation of groom
  • Number of groom's marriages
  • Birthplace of groom
  • Name of groom's father
  • Maiden name of groom's mother
  • Name, age and race of bride
  • Residence and occupation of bride
  • Number of bride's marriages
  • Birthplace of bride
  • Name of bride's father
  • Maiden name of bride's mother
  • Names of witnesses
  • Name of person performing the marriage

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
  • Identifying information such as the approximate marriage date and place or the name of the intended spouse

Search the Collection

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 about the ancestors 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:
⇒Select the "County" category
⇒Select the "Record type, volumes and year range" category which takes you to the images.

Look at each image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination.

With either search 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.

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. For example:

  • 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.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • 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 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.

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 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 You Can Contribute

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.

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