California County Marriages, 1843-1918 - FamilySearch Historical Records

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records scheduled to become available at FamilySearch.org.
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Record Description[edit | edit source]

This collection is an index to selected marriage records in California for the years from 1843-1918. Most of the entries are for Napa County. Due to privacy restrictions, the images associated with these indexes are unavailable at this time.

Record Content[edit | edit source]

Marriage records may contain the following information for both bride and groom:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Birth year
  • Birth place
  • Parents’ names
  • Marriage date
  • Marriage place
  • Marital status
  • Race
  • Previous spouse
  • Title
  • DGS number
  • File number
  • Page/Volume/Entry/Certificate number

How to Use the Record[edit | edit source]

To begin your search it is helpful to know the following:

  • The name of the bride and/or groom
  • The approximate marriage date

Search the Collection[edit | edit source]

To search this collection, fill in the requested information in the boxes on the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the individuals in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to look at the information on several individuals comparing the information about them to your ancestors to make this determination. Keep in mind:

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
  • Your ancestor may have used different names, or variations of their name, throughout their life.
  • If your ancestor used an alias or a nickname, be sure to check for those alternate names.
  • Even though these indexes are very accurate they may still contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.

For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line article FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.

Using the Information[edit | edit source]

When you have located your ancestor’s marriage record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family. For example:

  • Use the marriage date and place as the basis for compiling a new family group or for verifying existing information.
  • Use the residence to locate church and land records.

Tips to Keep in Mind[edit | edit source]

  • Many of the actual marriages in this index can be viewed on microfilm at a FamilySearch Center near you. Once you have located your ancestor in this index, record the film number, which is located at the bottom right of their index information page. You can then view that film at the FamilySearch Library in Salt Lake City or order it at the FamilySearch Center near you.
  • Clicking on the GS film number in your ancestors’ indexed page will show all other records indexed on that film. Search through this record to identify relatives that may have also been married in this same locality.
  • The name of the officiator is a clue to their religion or area of residence in the county. However, ministers may have reported marriages performed in other counties.
  • Compile the marriage entries for every person who has the same surname as the bride or groom; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual.
  • Continue to search the marriage records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives of the bride and groom who may have married in the same county or nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family or even the second marriage of a parent. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify.
  • Use the marriage number to identify previous marriages.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
  • The information in marriage records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the informant.
  • Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1800s.
  • There is also some variation in the information given from one marriage record to another record.

Unable to Find Your Ancestor?[edit | edit source]

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for alias names, nicknames and abbreviated names.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby localities.
  • Try alternative search methods such as filling in the surname search box (or the given name search box) on the landing page leaving the other box empty and then do the search. This should return a list of everyone with that particular name. You can then browse the list for individuals that may be your ancestor.
  • A boundary change could have occurred and the record of your ancestor is now in a neighboring locality.

Related Websites[edit | edit source]

Related Wiki Articles[edit | edit source]

How You Can Contribute[edit | edit source]

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Historical Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.


Citations for This Collection[edit | edit source]

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.

Collection Citation:

Collection Citation:
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.



Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):

The citation for a record will be available with each record once the collection is published.