Marriage is one of the most significant events in a person's life. Records of the event have been kept for hundreds of years in the United States. Finding the date of a marital union can be beneficial for various reasons. For instance, marriage records are used to track a family's genealogy, details that can impact the financial distribution of an estate, adoption searches and divorce proceedings. By finding the date of a marriage, you can also confirm statements made in biographies and other historical books and documents.
Contact the county clerk's office in the area where the couple was married. Fill out a "Search Request" form. Provide the groom's full name and the bride's first and maiden names. Include the date of the request, your name and the years of data you want to search through. Pay any applicable fees required to conduct the search. Keep in mind that many county clerk offices began keeping marital records around 1905. Note that marriages that occurred in 1990 and later can generally be searched for online, while older records are stored on microfilm.
Telephone the church where the couple was married. Ask to speak with the church clerk. Provide the reason for your inquiry, the groom's full name, the bride's first and maiden names and the name of the pastor who married the couple. Keep in mind that if you know the approximate year the couple was married and you provide that year to the church clerk, you can hasten the process.
Contact the senior editor at the newspaper in the city where the couple was wed. Tell the editor the reason that you are seeking the marriage date. Provide the approximate date of the marriage, the full name of the groom and the first and maiden name of the bride.
Reach out to the state Vital Records and Statistics office. Fill out the form to request a search for the marriage date. Provide the approximate date of the marriage, the full name of the groom and the first and maiden name of the bride. Supply an acceptable form of identification, such as a copy of your valid driver's license. Pay any applicable processing fees. Keep in mind that it can take up to three weeks or more to receive proof of date of the marriage in some states.
Search through websites such as International Genealogical Index and Vital Records (see Resources). Provide the groom's full name and the bride's first and maiden names. Input the approximate date you think the couple was married. Continue your search until you locate the information you are looking for.
Ask the military. Write to the Personnel Records Center. Request a copy of Form R6-7231 or Standard Form 180. Provide the groom's full name, the bride's first and maiden names, the branch of service either person was in, the dates the person enlisted and discharged from the military, the person's social security number and date and place of birth. Include the approximate year you think the marriage took place. Send your request to National Personnel Records Center, 9700 Page Boulevard, St. Louis, Missouri 63132.
Search the pages of personal bibles in the groom and the bride's family. Note that many people record births, deaths and marriage dates in the front pages of their bibles.
Rhonda Campbell is an entrepreneur, radio host and author. She has more than 17 years of business, human resources and project management experience and decades of book, newspaper, magazine, radio and business writing experience. Her works have appeared in leading periodicals like "Madame Noire," "Halogen TV," "The Network Journal," "Essence," "Your Church Magazine," "The Trenton Times," "Pittsburgh Quarterly" and "New Citizens Press."