Marriage

Marriage Records

Marriage records (also called certificates or licenses) are created and maintained by the county probate courts. They were recorded from the date of the county’s creation and typically provide the names of the bride and groom, the date and place of the marriage and the name of the officiating authority. Occasionally these records will also include place of residence and birth, age and names of parents. Marriage records prior to 1895 generally do not give the names of the parents. 

 

ACCESS: Marriage records are publicly available. OHS has probate court records from several counties around the state. If the person you are researching was married in one of these counties, we may have the record you want. Please note that the time periods that our marriage record collections cover vary depending on the county. Records that have been archived at OHS can be viewed at the Ohio History Center in the Archives/Library, or you can submit a research request and have the record found and sent to you by the Research Services Staff (see below for procedure). Many of these collections are available on microfilm. This is indicated by a copy number preceded by GR.

Search Tips

BEFORE GETTING STARTED: How you search for records depends on the county of the marriage and the time period of that marriage. It is helpful to know the person’s residence and the approximate date of marriage. There is no statewide index for marriage records prior to 1954.

  • If you don’t know where the marriage occurred, check the U.S. Federal Census to see where the couple lived prior to their marriage. The couple may have been married in that county.
  • It is important to be aware of the date of the county’s creation. For instance, Mahoning County was formed from Trumbull and Columbiana Counties in 1846. If you are looking for a marriage record from 1834 for a couple who lived in what is now Mahoning County, you will need to check the Columbiana or Trumbull County Probate Court marriage records.
For pre-1830 marriages, 2 helpful resources are:
  • Ohio Marriages Recorded in County Courts through 1820: an Index by the Ohio Genealogical Society. (call#: R 929.3771 Oh33 1996)
  • Ohio Marriages Recorded in County Courts 1 Jan 1821-31 Dec 1830: an Index (2 vols.) by the Ohio Genealogical Society. (call#: R 929.3771 Oh33 2003).

SEARCHING FOR ITEMS:

  • To determine if we have a certain county’s probate court records, do a Keyword General search in the Online Collection Catalog (from http://www.ohiohistory.org/occ/menu.htm, select Archives/Library Collections). For example, try: Knox County Probate Marriage.
  • For marriage records not in our collection, check the OCC for indexes done by county genealogical and historical societies.

WORKING WITH THE ITEMS:

  • Some of these marriage record collections have indexes and others do not. The indexes are typically arranged by gender and then by last name. The Franklin County Probate Court, for example, has the Female Index to Marriages [microform], 1803-1969 (call#: Series 3834) and the Male Index to Marriages [microform], 1803-1969 (call#: Series 3835). These indexes will provide the volume and page number needed to find the actual marriage record on the Marriage Records [microform], 1803-November 1968 (call#: Series 3836).
CAN’T FIND WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING FOR?:
  • If you can’t find a person’s name in the index, that doesn’t mean that his/her record will not be in the actual record book. If you have a general idea of the year in which the person was married, you may consider reviewing all of the records from that year or group of years.
  • All marriages would have been reported by the groom prior to the marriage and then by the Justice of the Peace or the minister. If you cannot find the record you want, the couple may have been married in a different county, at a different time or may not have been legally married at all.
Size of the Research Room