​​​Genealogy Detective

Thehistory of marriage and the laws surrounding it go back to the Biblical times. Marriage rules vary by culture and are much more diverse than we consider them in our culture.

Wikipedia Definition "Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock, is a socially or ritually recognized union between spouses that establishes rights and obligations between them, between them and their children, and between them and their in-laws.  ...Marriage can be recognized by a state, an organization, a religious authority, a tribal group, a local community or peers. It is often viewed as a contract. Civil marriage, which does not exist in some countries, is marriage without religious content carried out by a government institution in accordance with the marriage laws of the jurisdiction, and recognized as creating the rights and obligations intrinsic to matrimony. Marriages can be performed in a secular civil ceremony or in a religious setting via a wedding ceremony. The act of marriage usually creates normative or legal obligations between the individuals involved, and any offspring they may produce. In terms of legal recognition, most sovereign states and other jurisdictions limit marriage to opposite-sex couples and a diminishing number of these permit polygyny, child marriages, and forced marriages. Over the twentieth century, a growing number of countries and other jurisdictions have lifted bans on and have established legal recognition for interracial marriage, interfaith marriage, and most recently, same-sex marriage.[3] Some cultures allow the dissolution of marriage through divorce or annulment. In some areas, child marriages and polygamy may occur in spite of national laws against the practice."

In some instances Church law required that banns of marriage be announced and recorded three times prior to a marriage taking place. However, exceptions to the law allowed the banns to be announced fewer times. When a project requires the date of the banns of marriage, the last day the banns were announced is the date that should be indexed, unless the project instructions specify otherwise. Further information pertaining to the banns of marriage can be found in What are Banns of Marriage.

Many public records are available online and the number of records available increase daily. For those records not available online, you can often request copies of documents from a wide variety of sources.

The U.S. Marriages Project, a joint initiative between findmypast.com and FamilySearch.org, is actively working to save the marriage records from every state in the United States. Through the indexing efforts of online volunteers across the U.S, this service project will create a high quality, searchable database of nearly every marriage recorded in the United States since the early 1800s.

Ancestry.com Marriage & Divorce Records

Family Search Birth Marriage & Christenings

Texas Department of State and Health Services

Marriage and Divorce Verifications
Verification letters are not considered legal substitutes for marriage licenses or divorce decrees. The Vital Statistics. Unit strongly recommends that applicants ensure a verification will satisfy its intended use.

Certified copies of marriage licenses or divorce decrees are only available from the county clerk (marriage) or district court (divorce) in the county or district in which it was obtained.

The Vital Statistics Unit provides letters verifying if marriage or divorce was recorded with the State of Texas based on the application for marriage or divorce sent to our office by the county or district clerk.  If no record of a marriage is found, the verification letter itself can be considered a "single-status letter," which some foreign countries accept as legal proof of single status.
Verification letters of marriage are available for marriages that occurred from 1966 to the present.
Verification letters of divorce/annulment are available for divorces that occurred from 1968 to the present.

VIDEO LESSONS: Census Marriage Clues  How to Find a Maiden Name

Genealogy Workshop
Waxahachie Senior Center

Instructor: Sharron Mirikitani