How Marriage Records Help in Genealogical Research 

vintage wedding photo

The marriage records of a couple can be easily found in the family documents in many cases, but many of them are not available and when searching for ancestral data various parts of a great project are linked with one of the most vital records, marriage records. The marriage records are the most valuable sources of genealogical research, providing data about the geographical location of ancestors, birth information, and information about their parents and occupations etc could also be found in the marriage records of a couple adding data to the genealogical research.  


What Do Marriage Records Contain? 

The marriage records contain abundant information which could assist in the genealogical research about ancestor’s lives and relationships. The marriage records contain information about the diverse areas of ancestor’s lives which could be beneficial in various ways to construct a family tree or work on family history.  

  • The date of marriage.  
  • Names of bride and the groom. 
  • The location of marriage. 
  • The occupation of the couple. 
  • Date of birth of both the partners. 
  • The age of bride and groom at the time of marriage.  
  • The church where the marriage ceremony was conducted. 
  • Residence of the couple. 
  • Name of the priest (or minister). 
  • Name of the marriage witnesses. 
  • Names of the parents of both, bride and groom.  
  • Any previous marital record of any of the partners.  

All these are the basic parts of information which are often needed for more complex researches pertaining to genealogical research.  


The Help of Marriage Records 

The vital records include marriage records as one of the most important ones, not only to get to know about the marital status of an ancestor but also to gain useful information about their status, lifestyle, geographical location, migration etc.  

Marriage records help genealogical research in the following manner: 

1 – The Search for Maiden Names 

The maiden names of female ancestors are often sought after but are difficult to find especially if there are no records of the female ancestor’s side of the family (siblings etc). But the marriage records could be the clue to reach out for the long-lost maiden names of those female ancestors which could help in searching for their branch of the family tree and extend the research in the right direction.  


2 – The Address 

The marriage records not only contain the location of the marriage ceremony but also the addresses of the bride and the groom prior to the marriage and this could be helpful in identifying the location of their parents as well. If the couple moved to another state or migrated to some other country, the marriage records could be a clue to at least their first residence.  


3 – Previous Relationship Status 

The relationship prior to one’s marriage is important to know in order to identify any children and possible aid in the identification of stepchildren. The marriage record would normally contain details showing if any of the partners was a widow (widower) or divorced before the marriage. Also, information on previous marriages is an integral part of the marriage records which could shed light on the life prior to the marriage of an ancestor.  


4 – Parents’ Name 

The name and basic information of the parents of both, the bride and the groom are recorded in the marriage records and this could be of great help when trying to look for the names and important information such as date of birth and location of parents of one of the partners. In many cases, the technique of cluster genealogy involves the marriage records as important documents to provide information about other members of the family.  


5 – Multiple Marriages 

The multiple marriages could be identified in the marriage records of ancestors, and more importantly, the identification of which children belong to which mother is important and for that matter marriage records need to be searched for in genealogical research.  


6 – Church Records 

The church records pertaining to marriage are an important source of information about a couple and also the guests present at the ceremony, the marriage witnesses and the names of family members could be obtained from the marriage records of a couple.


7 – The Birth Dates 

Birth dates are a very important part of genealogical information when constructing a family tree chart or working on family history. The birth dates of both, the groom and the bride are available in the marriage records and this could help in various genealogical projects.  


8 – Occupation of the Ancestors 

In order to know the occupation of the ancestors, a lot of research is conducted and many documents are studied, one of those records could be the marriage records of the ancestor which contains brief information about the occupation of ancestors.  

The genealogical research gets interesting with every piece of puzzle attached to the story and clues are interlinked from various records.  


Where can I obtain Marriage Records?

Many online resources are now available, including free and paid resources, which will enable you to track down marriage records. A brief list is provided below to help you get started in your search. Of course, you can always turn to some of the industry’s key players such as MyHeritage, Ancestry, Findmypast or FamilySearch, all of whom specialize in record curation and are linked to national registry offices in many countries.

VitalRec – US website

General Register Office  – England, Wales 1837 onwards

Irish Genealogy – General Register office of Ireland

If you are experiencing difficulty in finding records, you should consider hiring a professional genealogist. A professional genealogist will be able to find your record quickly and easily without you accidentally purchasing incorrect records or taking out yearly subscriptions. Get a free consultation and find out more here.


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