Texas County Marriage Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)
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|This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.|
|Texas, United States|
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|Location of Texas|
- 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 Citing this Collection
- 7 How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?
What is in the Collection?
This article covers multiple collections.
The "Texas County Marriage Index, 1837-1977" collection is an index to a variety of marriage records (registers, licenses, intentions to marry, etc.) from select counties in Texas.
The "Texas, County Marriage Records, 1837-1965" collection consists of various types of marriage records from 183 of the 254 counties in Texas. The collection covers the years of 1837-1965.
The records include marriage registers, intentions and licenses which are either handwritten in a journal style or handwritten on pre-printed forms in a register style. Journal style usually has a single entry per page and registers usually have multiple entries on each page. County clerks generally used the same printed form during the same time periods. The records are arranged by county, then by volume and year range.
To see a coverage map of FamilySearch's holdings of Texas marriages, click here.
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.
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, residence of the bride and groom, and occupations are relatively reliable. Other information, such as age or birthplace, is dependent on the knowledge, memory, and accuracy of the informants, usually the bride and groom.
What Can this Collection Tell Me?
The records generally contain the following information:
- Name of the groom
- Name of the bride
- Title of bride and groom (such as Mr., Mrs., or Miss)
- Names of the officiator and title (such as Reverend or Minister)
- Date of the marriage
- Place of marriage
They may also give:
- Age of bride and groom
- Residence of bride and groom
- Names of parents or legal guardians
- Residence of parents or legal guardians
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 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’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 birth date or age along with the residence of each partner to find a couple's birth records and parents' names.
- Use the birth date or age along with the residence to find the family in census records.
- Use the parents' names along with the residence to find the family in census records.
- Use the residence to locate church and land 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 bride’s title (Mrs.) 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?
- 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.
|Don't overlook FHL Keyword Texas, Vital Records items in the FamilySearch Library Catalog.|
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 for "Texas, County Marriage Records, 1837-1965":
- "Texas, County Marriage Records, 1837-1965." Database with Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Various county clerk offices, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Texas Dept. of State Health Services and Golightly-Payne-Coon Co.
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 Texas, County Marriage Records, 1837-1965.|
Collection citation for "Texas, County Marriage Index, 1837-1977":
- "Texas, County Marriage Index, 1837-1977." Index. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Citing County courthouses, state-wide, Texas.
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 Texas, County Marriage Index, 1837-1977.|
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.