Wales Civil Marriages - What else you can try
This page will give you additional guidance and resources to find civil marriage information for your ancestor. Use this page after first completing the Wales Civil Registration page. If researching before 1837, see the Wales Guided Research page.
Additional Databases and Online Resources
- 1837-2005: England and Wales Marriage Registration Index, 1837-2005 at FamilySearch
- 1837-2005: England & Wales Marriages 1837-2005 at FindMyPast ($)
- 1837-1917: Search the GRO historical birth and death indexes at General Register Office (free to search, login required) - cannot search marriage index but birth index lists mother's maiden name
Substitute records may contain information about more than one event and are used when records for an event are not available. Records that are used to substitute for marriage events may not have been created at the time of the marriage. The accuracy of the record is contingent upon when the information was recorded. Search for information in multiple substitute records to confirm the accuracy of these records.
|Use these substitute records to locate marriage information about your ancestor:|
|Why to search the records|
|Census records from 1851 onward lists the relationship to the head of household and marital status of every individual. The 1911 census lists the number of years married.|
|By 1851, 20% of the Welsh population belonged to the Church of England. Marriage records provide the bride and groom's name and marriage date and place. After 1837, records also include age, marital status, and father's name and occupation. Go to Wales Church of England Guided Research and choose a county.|
|By 1851, 80% of the Welsh population was nonconformist. Marriage records provide the bride and groom's name and marriage date and place. Go to Wales Nonconformist Guided Research and search for marriage information.|
|May contain marriage and death notices, especially beginning in the 1800s. Death notices may list the deceased's spouse.|
|Military records, after 1707, may include the spouse and children of the individual.|
Tips for finding marriages
Successfully finding marriage records in online databases depends on a few key points. Try the following search suggestions:
- Add information. For common names, add more information to narrow the search such as approximate marriage date or father's name if known.
- Spelling variations. Your ancestor's name may be misspelled. Search with spelling variations for the first and last name of your ancestor.
- Search given name. Search by given name (leave out the last name) with the approximate date of marriage.
- Search for bride. Search by the bride's name rather than the groom's name.
- Know county. Because of the abundance of common names, knowing the county is important to narrow down the search. See Finding the Wales County or Parish of Origin to learn how.
- Date range. Expand the date range of the search by 5 years.
Why the Record May Not Exist
Mandatory marriage registration started in 1837. However, universal compliance did not occur until 1866. Before 1837, marriages and banns can be found in church records (mainly nonconformist records). Although the oldest marriage records date to 1538, most churches did not start recording marriages until the 1600s.
Civil registration records are generally complete.