Marriage Records

Confidential Marriage in the United States

Even If There Is No Record, There Still Might Be A Marriage Another issue for genealogists to consider is that of “confidential marriage.”  In California, a couple who have lived together may obtain a so-called “confidential” marriage.  They need only apply at the county clerk’s office or before a notary specially trained in confidential marriage procedures and claim that they …Continue reading →


Common Law Marriage: Scotland & Quebec

As I had hoped,  some of our international correspondents checked in on this issue.  Kirsty says: In Scotland, the situation was a bit different from England, or at least less clear. There seems to have been contradictory legislation and, I think, the more I read on the topic of Scottish Marriage Law the more confused I get! In practice there …Continue reading →


Common Law Marriage In the United States of America

When I discovered that my maternal grandparents likely had no marriage certificate, someone suggested that that meant they had a “common law” marriage.   Maybe, maybe not. The term “common law marriage” is frequently misunderstood.  Many believe if a couple co-habits for a certain fixed period of time, they have a common law marriage.  Some believe that if a couple produces …Continue reading →


I Try to Kiss & Make Up with Caddo’s Clerk

Awhile ago, in a fit of technologically self-righteous pique, I vented my spleen over the process to access Caddo Parish, Louisiana, records online.  Perhaps I was too harsh. Less than a week ago, I sent to Caddo Parish by snail mail a request for some certified copies of certain records.  Today, I have the records in my hands and have …Continue reading →


Los Angeles County Record Request Requirements–Just Quirky? Or Unconstitutional?

I was alerted to this issue by a commenter on the Find-A-Grave California Discussion Forum. If you go in person to the main office of the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder in Norwalk, California, and ask to view their birth, death, or marriage records, you will be required to sign a form similar to the one below (the example is for …Continue reading →


Louisiana Public Records Online Access: Good and Ugly

I’ve written favorably about the vital records index at the Louisiana State Archives.  It’s easy to use to look up information and it’s set up to make ordering certified copies by snail mail easy.  Unlike Texas, Louisiana does not have an on-line ordering capability run by the state.  But since they make everything else so easy, I barely noticed. Now …Continue reading →


Insomnia–The Genealogist’s Friend

A few nights ago, I was having difficulty falling asleep.   Rather than fight the feeling, I thought I’d just get up and cruise the Internet for a little while. I went first to and noticed that their Texas death certificate collection is now about 50% complete.  So I just typed in the name Manson to see what would come …Continue reading →


FamilySearch Adds Midwestern Records

FamilySearch Record Search has added marriage records for Cook County, Illinois. The collection is currently what FamilySearch calls an “early access collection,” meaning that the collection is accessible though not yet entirely complete. What’s there now are records from 1900-1920. The entire collection ulitmately will go back to 1871. [H/T to Tom Kemp at the GenealogyBank blog]. And while we’re …Continue reading →


An Indirect Lead to The Elusive Sarah Gilbert?

In the last post, I mention’s excellent collection entitled, “Missouri Marriages 1805-2002.” As I tried it out, I may have come across an indirect lead to my elusive ancestor, Sarah Gilbert. The only matters of record that I have ever found concerning Sarah Gilbert are her 1867 marriage to Ezekiel Johnson in Clay County, Missouri, and her residence with …Continue reading →


Missouri Marriages 1805-2002 at has recently added a collection called “Missouri Marriages 1805-2002.” Frequently, Ancestry’s state collections have seemed to promise more than they deliver–being limited to just a few counties or even a few years though the title implies many more counties or years. But this collection seems to be the real deal. Easily searchable, it has many, many, actual images. And …Continue reading →

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