This database of Virginia marriages to 1800 contains over 85,000 names. Each entry includes groom, bride, marriage date, county, and state. Every name is indexed so you can search for one name, or two names that are linked.
The marriage date is usually the date of marriage as given in the original entry. However, when no marriage date is given (e.g., the "marriage return" was not provided to the record keeper), the date of the license is used. In a few cases, a marriage will be listed twice, but in two different counties. This most often happened when a couple obtained a license in one county, but were actually married in another.
These marriage records, compiled by Liahona Research at the LDS Family History Library in Salt Lake City, UT, unfortunately do not contain citations for the origin of each entry. The purpose of this database is to provide a time and place for as many marriages as possible. It is up to the researcher to examine original records (see the Family History Library Catalog--available at any LDS family history center-- under the heading "Vital Records" for the appropriate locality) and gather whatever additional genealogical information is desired.
Early American Marriage Collection
The essence of genealogy is the research and discovery of vital records and information about your ancestors and their families. Research on families before the Civil War can be difficult and frustrating because records are accessed by locality and, with the later migrations of American families, we often do not know where our families lived in the early years of this country.
This collection of early American marriages represents years of research gathering marriages from local town and county sources. While these marriages have been published in book form for their individual states, now you can search several nearby states at once with just a few keystrokes. Although not every marriage was recorded, or later found as this collection was assembled, you will surely find many of your early relatives, often in places you never planned on searching.
Ancestry is pleased to present this collection of early American marriages, now available in electronic form to make searches easier than ever before. This collection is based on years of research by Jordan R. Dodd and his staff at Liahona Research and was first published as a series of books by Precision Indexing Publishers, a division of American Genealogical Lending Library of Bountiful, Utah. Liahona Research conducted their searches in the world-famous collections of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and all the marriages in this collection can be found in the myriad of records at that library. The staff at Liahona poured through published books and microfilmed copies of original records to collect these marriages.
Cautions About this Collection
Every effort was made to keep the spelling in the original text, and to find all possible records for the time period covered. However, many county records were destroyed by fire, floods, neglect, and carelessness.
The purpose of this collection is to provide a time and place for as many marriages as possible. It is up to the researcher to examine the original records usually available on microfilm) and gather whatever additional genealogical information is desired.
In this collection, the marriage date is usually the date of marriage as given in the original entry. However, when no marriage date is given (e.g., the marriage return was not provided to the record keeper), the date of the license is used. In a few cases, a marriage will be listed twice, but in two different counties. This most often happened when a couple obtained a license in one county, but were actually married in another county. To provide additional research clues, this collection includes both entries.
There are records that may have been overlooked, misspelled, or not available to the researchers. Therefore, if a marriage is suspected to have occurred, but is not in this collection, further research in additional sources may locate the evidence.
Finding the Original Marriage Record
Unfortunately, Liahona Research did not indicate which sources were used in this process, nor did they provide citations for the origin of each entry. However, careful researchers who wish to examine the original source will find sufficient information to lead them to that source. Most early American marriages were recorded by the county (except in the northeastern states) and this collection provides the county for virtually every marriage.
To find the original source, check the Family History Library Catalog under the name of the state, then the county and then the subject heading Vital Records. (The catalog is available at the library in Salt Lake City, and at more than 3,000 branches or family history centers throughout the world. Read through the catalog entries and locate one or more sources that include marriages for the year of interest. Obtain that source, and look for the marriage entry. In original records, most marriages are listed chronologically with the earliest date first. Also check for published books which may include the marriage entry. If none of the records listed under the county name include the marriage you are seeking, look in the catalog under the name of the state and the heading Vital Records. Some state-wide books may have been used to compile this collection.