Delaware Marriages and Marriage Licenses - FamilySearch Historical Records

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Delaware, Marriages and Marriage Licenses, 1683-1894
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Delaware, 
United States
Delaware flag.png
Flag of Delaware
US Locator Delaware.png
Location of Delaware
Record Description
Record Type Marriage
Collection years 1683-1894
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
Delaware Public Archives, Dover, and Chester County Historical Society, West Chester


What is in This Collection?[edit | edit source]

The collection consists of an index to selected church marriages and marriage licenses from 1683-1894.

State registration of marriages began in 1847 as the recorder of deeds for each county began to send copies of marriages to the secretary of the State Board of Health. Vital registration was generally complied with after 1913 when the central Bureau of Vital Statistics was established according to state law, which required registration of vital records. Copies of marriage records for the most recent 40 years can be obtained by writing to the Bureau of Vital Statistics, or for earlier records, from the Delaware Public Archives in Dover, Delaware.

Population coverage is nearly 100% after statewide registration began in 1847. Coverage is not as complete for some earlier years.

Counties in Delaware recorded marriages to safeguard the interests of the wife and other legal heirs by documenting marriages and property ownership. Marriage records are considered to be primary source records. Information in these records is usually reliable, including the marriage date and place and residences of the bride and groom.

Originally, marriage records were handwritten. Later they were typed on pre-printed forms with multiple entries on each page. Marriage records were generally well preserved, though fires, floods, or other disasters may have destroyed some records.

Image Visibility[edit | edit source]

Whenever possible FamilySearch makes images and indexes available for all users. However, rights to view these data are limited by contract and subject to change. Because of this there may be limitations on where and how images and indexes are available or who can see them. Please be aware some collections consist only of partial information indexed from the records and do not contain any images. For additional information about image restrictions see Restrictions for Viewing Images in FamilySearch Historical Record Collections.

What Can These Records Tell Me?[edit | edit source]

The following information may be found in these records:

Marriage

  • Groom's name and residence
  • Groom's age, race, nativity and occupation
  • Name of groom's father and place of nativity
  • Name of groom's mother and place of nativity
  • Marital status of the bride and groom
  • Bride's name and residence
  • Bride's age, race, and nativity
  • Name of bride's father and place of nativity
  • Name of bride's mother and place of nativity
  • Name of the officiator
  • Witnesses' names and their place of residence

Collection Content[edit | edit source]

Sample Image[edit | edit source]

How Do I Search this Collection?[edit | edit source]

To begin your search it is helpful to know the following:;

  • The name of the person at the time of marriage
  • Identifying information such as the approximate marriage date and place

Search the Index[edit | edit source]

Search by name on the Collection Details Page.
  1. Fill in the search boxes in the Search Collection section with the information you know
  2. Click Search to show possible matches

Keep in mind:

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name
  • You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name
  • Your ancestor may have used different names, or variations of their name, throughout their life
  • If your ancestor used an alias or a nickname, be sure to check for those alternate names
  • Even though these indexes are very accurate they may still contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned

What Do I Do Next?[edit | edit source]

When you have located your ancestor’s marriage record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family.

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Use the marriage date and place as the basis for compiling a new family group or for verifying existing information
  • Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth of each spouse to find a couple's birth records and parents' names
  • Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth to find the family in census records
  • Use the residence and names of the parents to locate church and land records
  • Use the parent’s birth places to find former residences and to establish a migration pattern for the family
  • Use the marriage number to identify previous marriages
  • The information in marriage records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the informant
  • Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1900
  • There is also some variation in the information given from one marriage record to another record
  • Occupations listed can lead you to other types of records such as employment or military records
  • The name of the officiator is a clue to their religion or area of residence in the county. However, ministers may have reported marriages performed in other counties
  • Compile the marriage entries for every person who has the same surname as the bride or groom; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual
  • Continue to search the marriage records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives of the bride and groom who may have married in the same county or nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family or even the second marriage of a parent. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct

I Can’t Find the Person I’m Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

Research Helps[edit | edit source]

The following articles will help you in your research for your family in the state of Delaware.

Citing This Collection[edit | edit source]

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation:
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.
Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation can be viewed by clicking the drop-down arrow next to Document Information.