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Expert tips for finding marriage records

1-2 minute read

By The Findmypast team

26 February 2020

Having trouble locating a marriage certificate? Else Churchill of the Society of Genealogists might have the answer to your problem. With 30 years of family history experience, she's developed some strategies that might help you find your ancestor in the records

Can't find you ancestor in the marriage records for the parish you're sure they lived in? Here are the parish registers you should try next:

• The parish where the couple's child was later baptised

• The mother's family parish (often listed on baptism record)

• The father's family parish (often listed on baptism record)

• Immediate neighbouring parishes

You can find details of neighbouring parishes at with the interactive maps on Family Search. Bear in mind the parameters of these will sometimes change over the years.

Still No Luck?

Maybe you've found the marriage licence but can't find the marriage record. In this case, the licence may have been issued by a foreignmarrying parish.

Surrogates issued with blank licences from the Diocesan Registry notoriously abused their position, marrying thousands of couples irregularly. For example, the curate of St Boltolph, Aldgate was empowered to grant licences for the Bishop of London.

Many granted licences to marry in "foreign" (distant) churches –E.G. William Sweetapple Rector of Fledborough in Nottingham:

1712-28 6 marriages in parish

1728-54 488 marriages by licence

Use finding aids and indexes

•County Marriage Indexes compiled by
local family history societies are often online or at a local record office

Boyd's Marriage Index 1538-1850 is a useful source of millions of marriages

Try London as a magnet for "Quiet Weddings"

See more tips from Else Churchill and other experts