NYC Marriage Records - Licenses
- From: pweisberger@xxxxxxxxxxx (Pamela Weisberger)
- Date: 25 Dec 2008 13:36:11 -0800
Barbara Kiersh wrote about finding a missing marriage record for her
grandfather's second marriage in New York:
"But my goal is to find the marriage certificate for her and my
One other suggestion for finding that elusive NYC marriage record
-- if it took place between 1908 - 1937 -- is searching for a marriage
license issued by the NYC Clerk. The information and accuracy of
these records is actually better than the "marriage certificates"
issued by the NYC Department of Health because they were filled out
by the applicants in their own hand and the forms required more detail.
City Clerk's Marriage Licenses contain all the information in the
marriage certificate plus the specific birthplaces of the bride and
groom -- often the town of birth -- in the United States or abroad,
father's and mother's country of birth (for both bride and groom),
bride's occupation, former spouses living or dead, if applicant is
divorced, when and where divorce or divorces were granted.
(Needless to say, information regarding a divorce can be used to locate
divorce records. Although NYC has a 100 year privacy rule regarding
access to divorce records, New Jersey, and other states, do not, and
I have found references to New Jersey divorces in NYC marriage licenses.)
There are no online indexes for these licenses, but the microfilm can
be searched -- by year and surnames of the bride or groom -- at the NYC
municipal archives. These indexes are a bit more complicated to search
-- as opposed to the annual/alphabetical index for marriage certificates
-- as they are broken down into 2-3 month chunks and by first two letters
of the last name.
Remember that some couples would apply for marriage licenses many months
prior to the wedding taking place, so make sure to do a broad search.
A February 1910 marriage might have a license applied for in December
1909. You might even find a license applied for, for which no marriage
ever took place. People changed their minds, tragic events occurred
-- it happened!
Checking these records might lead you to find those supposedly "missing"
records after all. You don't need to do the research in person, but if
you contact the municipal archives for a marriage records search you
must specify that you also want them to search the City Clerk licenses
if the marriage in question took place during the years 1908-1937.
An excellent article on this topic from the NY Genealogical and
Biographical Society can be read at: http://tinyurl.com/9f35xw
Santa Monica, CA
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