Tennessee County Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Records)
|This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.|
Access the records: Tennessee County Marriages, 1790-1950 .
- 1 Record Description
- 2 Record Content
- 3 How to Use the Record
- 4 Known Issues with This Collection
- 5 Related Websites
- 6 Related Wiki Articles
- 7 Contributions to This Article
- 8 Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
Most of this collection consists of marriage licenses and certificates, including a few marriage declarations and marriage stubs. This records cover the years 1790 to 1950.
For a list of film numbers currently published in this collection, select the Browse.
Citation for This Collection
The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Record collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.
- "Tennessee, County Marriages, 1790-1950." Index and Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013.
The information found in most marriage bonds includes the following:
- Name of the groom
- Name of the bride
- Names of the officiator and witnesses
- Date of the marriage
- Date of bond
The information found in most marriage records includes the following:
- Date and place of marriage
- Name and age of the groom
- Name and age of the bride
- Sometimes, name of person giving consent
- Name of the officiator
- Names of witnesses
- Residences of the bride and groom
How to Use the Record
To begin your search it is helpful to know the following:
- The county where the marriage occurred
- The name of the person at the time of marriage
- The approximate marriage date
- The marriage place
- The name of the intended spouse
Search the Collection
To search the collection 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 video at FamilySearch Search Tips.
Using the Information
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 age to calculate an approximate birth date.
- 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 marriage number to identify previous marriages.
Tips to Keep in Mind
- 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.
- 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.
- When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
Unable to Find Your Ancestor?
- Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
- Search for the marriage record of the marriage partner if known.
- Search the records of nearby localities.
- Look for a different index. Local genealogical and historical societies often have indexes to local records.
- 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 with the same family number.
General Information About These Records
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. Later records were handwritten on preprinted pages.
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, and residence of the bride and groom are relatively reliable. Other information, such as age is dependent on the knowledge, memory, and accuracy of the informants, usually the bride and groom.
Marriages were recorded by the clerk of the district court for each county from the time the county was formed. Persons desiring to marry obtained a license that they presented to the minister or other person authorized to marry, such as a justice of the peace. Once the marriage was performed, the officiator sent a return to the clerk confirming that the marriage had occurred.
Known Issues with This Collection
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 email@example.com. 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.
- Tennessee State Library and Archives
- Tennessee GenWeb Project
- Tennessee Marriages
- Tennessee Marriages to 1825 at Ancestry ($).
- Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002 at Ancestry ($).
- Tennessee Marriages, 1851-1900 at Ancestry ($).
- Tennessee Marriage and Bible Records at Ancestry ($).
Related Wiki Articles
- Tennessee Vital Records
- Tennessee Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- Tennessee State Marriage Index (FamilySearch Historical Records)
Contributions to This Article
| 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.
Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
Citations for individual image records are available for this collection. Browse through images in this collection and click on the "Show Citation" box: Tennessee, County Marriages, 1790-1950
When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.
A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the wiki article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.