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Source Information

Ancestry.com. California, Marriage Records from Select Counties, 1850-1941 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Marriage records, select counties and years. California State Archives, Sacramento, California.

About California, Marriage Records from Select Counties, 1850-1941

This collection includes marriage records from two counties in California:

  • Alameda County, licenses, certificates, and indexes, 1850-1941
  • Marin County, affidavits for marriage licenses, 1919-1936

Indexes will include the names of the bride and groom (and in some cases the officiant) as well as the date of the ceremony. You may also find the location of the marriage. Certificates may vary, but you’ll typically find the following details for both the bride and groom: name, age, residence, color, marital status, birthplace, occupation, and parents’ names and birthplaces. The name of the officiant is a clue that should be explored as well, since it typically signals a religious affiliation and can lead to church records.

Historical Background

In 1872 California began requiring that registers be kept recording births, marriages, and deaths. Marriages needed to be recorded within 30 days. Births and deaths had to be recorded at the end of each quarter, with a fee attached of 25 cents per name. A fine of 50 dollars for not recording an event was incentive to adhere to the policy. In 1905, the filing requirement was changed to within five days after the event for births and deaths and three days for marriages, and copies were sent to the state.

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