COUNTY MARRIAGE RECORDS
For one 25-year period during the first half of the 20th century,
New York counties recorded marriage licenses, as they do in most other
states. The licenses were issued by town clerks, and a copy sent to the
state Department of Health, just as with all vital records registered
after state law required it in 1881.
The originals are stored in files in the vault of the County Office
Building: nearly 2000 licenses and three additional books of recorded
certificates. The books and the licenses are separately indexed by groom
and by bride. The records themselves contain the names of the
contracting parties, their ages, occupations, places of residence and
birth; the names and birthplaces of their parents; the names of the
witnesses and the official performing the marriage; and affidavits of
consent when either of the parties is a minor.
The Office of Public History has prepared indexes of all these
records for posting on line. An every name index (the parties and their
parents) of the license documents is complete, containing just under
12,000 names. The first book of actual marriage certificates covers the
years 1908 through 1914, and contains 1000 certificates and nearly 6000
names. The second book covers the period from the end of 1914 through
August 1921, with 901 certificates and almost 5400 names. The third book
runs through the end of June 1926, with 651 certificates and 3895 names.
After that, a copy of the certificate was filed with the County's copy
of the license, and these are indexed with the licenses.. A consolidated
index containing all four groups of names has also been posted.
It is impossible to tell (except by deduction) whether a given name
in the index is of the bride, her mother or her mother-in-law; or of the
groom, his father or his father-in-law. All six names from each record
are listed exactly as they are given on the license, spelling variations
and all. The number is an arbitrary one assigned to each record; they
are filed in more or less chronological order. Marriage Book A comprises
200 pages with 5 certificates on each page; they were recorded in
chronological order from the beginning of 1908 through the end of 1914.
Marriage Book B contains 181 pages, also recorded in chronological order
from the last week of 1914 through the summer of 1921. Marriage Book C
holds 651 marriages, two on each of 326 pages recorded between May 1921
and summer 1926; the posted index lists almost 3900 names. There is,
obviously, a great deal of overlap between the series of licenses and
the certificate book from the same period; but there are records in each
source that are found nowhere else.
As with other records indexed on this site, you may order copies of
marriage licenses or certificates from the marriage books, for a
standard fee of $1 per page. Nearly all the licenses are one or at most
two pages; the books are oversized, but the certificates will easily fit
on a single page of copy paper.
To get your copies, you must
include the following in your request:
Your copies will be sent to you with a
- the name and locator number exactly as listed in the index,
with the book letter if applicable;
- your name and postal address;
- the phrase "Marriage record request" in the subject line.
To submit a request, click
The indexes are large, so they have been divided into parts for
greater downloading ease. Brides and the mothers of the bride and groom
are listed under their maiden names only. Remember to check as many
variant spellings as you can think of, particularly phonetic variations.
Marriage licenses: complete series 1908-1933 (papers)
Marriage Book A: certificates recorded 1 January 1908 - 21 December 1914
Marriage Book B: certificates recorded 22 Dec 1914 - 31 August 1921
Marriage Book C: certificates recorded 21 May 1921 - 1 July 1926
Consolidated Index to licenses and all three books