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 →

Hookin’ Up

I have in my computer a number of databases, some for my family, some for families of friends, some for families of folks who’ve asked me to research a particular issue. This weekend, I get to participate in linking two of the databases together as I officiate at the wedding of two thirtysomethings at Lake Tahoe. (As a former California …Continue reading →

Some Resources

Nevada marriage and divorce records are now available on These resources can be useful to those researching in just about any state. That’s because when many states had restrictive laws about marriage and divorce (especially divorce), Nevada traditionally has had rather liberal laws on these matters. Thus, those who could afford to do so would sometimes head for Las …Continue reading →

September 2014
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