How to Search for a Marriage Certificate

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Searching for marriage records is a difficult process. Unless the marriage information has been released to public domain, marriage records are a semi-private record. Technically, anyone can request the information, but they need to know the names of the people involved and where and when the wedding took place. Since the information is so specific, it is difficult to conduct a typical online search. In order to get a copy of the records you need to contact the state Vital Records Office for the state in which the marriage took place or use the government-licensed VitalChek system.

Gather up the names of the married couple. If either member changed their last name after the union, you will need their original last name.

Find the exact date of the marriage and the specific location where it took place. You will need to know the county at minimum, but the city is occasionally required.

Contact the Vital Records office for the state in which the marriage took place for a copy of the marriage records.

Search through VitalChek’s database (see Resources) using the specified information. You should not have any trouble finding the record if you have all of the above information.

Tips

  • Some online systems, like Ancestry.com, have public domain marriage records available as well as records from certain states. These records are only available to members through their contracts with state governments.

References

Resources

About the Author

Nathan Adler began writing professionally in 2002. He writes primarily for eHow, focusing on technical articles and computer- and hobby-related topics. Adler has a Bachelor of Arts in technical communication and a Bachelor of Science in history from Michigan Technological University.

Photo Credits

  • Something blue, something new image by R J Photography from Fotolia.com