With the introduction of online databases, searching for marriage records has become easier than ever. These online databases contain courthouse records. However, you may need to visit the courthouse in person if you’re not able to find the records online. It must also be kept in mind that not all records have undergone digitization.
People may have different reasons for searching marriage records. Some might want to trace genealogy, while some might want to track someone with whom they’ve lost their connection. There are many other reasons besides these, for which, people search for marriage records.
Public vs confidential marriage records
Marriage records can either be public or confidential. Any member of the public can get an informational copy of a marriage record quite easily. An authorized copy of a public marriage record can be obtained by certain individuals. Marriage records that are confidential are often sealed. They may only be requested by court order or by the marriage partners.
An authorized and certified copy of a public marriage record can be requested and received only by certain individuals. They include someone who has been a party to the marriage. They also include someone who is the parent or legal guardian to a party to the marriage. In simple words, these individuals include the bride and the groom. They also include the parent or a legal guardian of the bride or groom.
Departments that maintain the records
The general data on all the marriages and divorces within a state is maintained by one major department. It is the Department of Health or Bureau of Vital Statistics of that particular state. You can contact the agency of the state where the marriage took place. The marriage can thus be confirmed and even the county in which the license was filed can be found.
Each county has an Office of the County Clerk. It is typically found in the courthouse of the county. If you want to review the original copy of a marriage license, you’ll need to take some effort. You must be aware that there would be a nominal fee for obtaining a physical copy of the record. It must also be kept in mind that not all information would be provided with a copy.
Searching online for marriage certificates
It is far more convenient to search for marriage records online. For the best results, it is good to have as many pieces of information as possible. You must also include the middle initials while searching, if available. If you lack the other information, you can use the details that are provided commonly. They include the individual’s name, a date range, or the county name.
Upon receiving the information, the search engine would pull up all the records associated with the data. The list would be in the order of file numbers. You can browse the list to find the required marriage record. It is always better to use broader search criteria. To prevent the list from getting longer, fill in as many fields as possible.
Why you should search online
There’s a fact you must know before visiting the local courthouse for finding a marriage record. You must know in which county the marriage had taken place. Otherwise, the whole visit would be a waste of time. The marriage records stored by a county courthouse are only of the marriages in that particular county. If you’re looking for a marriage record in Texas, it could be in any of the 254 courthouses.
All of them are spread across 269,000 square miles. Visiting some or many of them just to review the documents would be a significant waste of time. Only three or four counties can be covered after spending an entire week travelling.