In my last post we looked at birth certificates. Today we will explore marriage certificates.
Marriage certificates can sometimes tell you a lot about a family, depending on when and where they were created. Some certificates will have additional documents attached indicating who the parents of the bride and groom are, the bride and groom’s dates of birth and places of birth, names of witnesses and their ages. This information can sometimes help prove or disprove a marriage license is for your family.
Let’s look at a Chicago license from 1892. Ask your parents to show you their marriage license or your grandparent’s license if they have it. How are they the same? How are they different? What information do they contain that you can add to your family history notes? Finally, how do they compare to one from 1892?
One thing that strikes me in this license is how Liddie’s name is spelled. In other records it is spelled Lydia. Keep in mind that names are not spelled the same in every document you will encounter. In some early census records for my immigrant ancestors I find they use the formal spelling of their children’s names. Joseph, Charles, Elizabeth, and so on. Then in other censuses, the kids are Joe, Charlie, Bessie. Watch for name variations and nicknames.
Note where James and Liddie were married. Were they married by a minister or a judge (Justice of the Peace)? When was the license issued and when did they marry?
Add the additional information from the documents your parents show you to your tree and note the source. Again, you want to write down what type of document it is, the number assigned to it, who it is for, the date, and where it is held.