Marriage Records – Great Resource When Conducting A BirthMother Search
Accessing marriage records can be very helpful when conducting a birthmother search. In most instances, you are trying to develop your birthmother’s married name.
(Of course, searching marriage records can help anyone who is searching and working with only a maiden name.)
Marriage records may contain:
- Maiden and married name of birth mother
- Dates of birth of birthmother and groom
- Date of marriage
- Place of marriage
- Birth places of birthmother and groom
- Addresses of birthmother and groom
- Parents of birthmother
- Employment information
- Religious affiliations
- Previous marriages
- Divorce information
- Relatives of birthmother and groom
- Social Security Numbers (sometimes)
- Witness names
Please note: Information obtained from marriage records will vary greatly from state to state (e.g., one state may have employment information listed on a marriage record and another state may not).
Unfortunately, there is no available way to search marriage records nationwide. So, you will need to have an idea where your birthmother was married in order to have a chance at accessing her records. One way to determine where your birthmother was married is to obtain your non-identifying information. Non-identifying information is background information on your birthmother and possibly your birthfather. This non-id will likely provide some geographical history. Please read our post on how to obtain non-identifying information.
Another way to determine if and where your birthmother was married is to question your adoptive family members and see what information they can provide about her. Please read our post on how to obtain background information on your birthmother by interviewing your adoptive family members.
If you only know where you were born or where your birthmother was from, your search for marriage records should begin in those areas. If you have no luck, spread your search outward.
Typically, the county clerk’s office is the source to contact for marriage records. There will likely be an index that you can search–perhaps a bride and groom index. Searching these indexes can be time consuming and the records are in all types of formats. You can get specific search instructions by contacting the county clerk’s office. Please read our post on contacting the count clerk’s office.
If you cannot determine where your birthmother’s marriage records are via a county search, there are also many state indexes to marriages. These indexes are abstracts of the full marriage records kept by the counties.
State marriage indexes–typically created and maintained by their respective state health departments–are sometimes available online. You can see if a particular state has an online marriage record index by visiting the state web site. The typical url format for a state website is: www. state. xx. us (where xx is the state abbreviation). (This isn’t always the case, so you might have to google around a bit to find your state website of choice.
Many state marriage record indexes are now available via proprietary database vendors. The geographic availability and years of availability of these indexes vary greatly. OmniTrace pays fees to access these indexes. Here is a list of states we can currently search:
Alabama – Alaska – California – Colorado – Connecticut – Florida – Georgia – Idaho – Illinois – Indiana – Iowa – Kentucky – Maine – Minnesota – Missouri – Nevada – North Carolina – Ohio – Oklahoma – Rhode Island – South Dakota – Tennessee – Texas – Utah – Vermont – Virginia – West Virginia – Wisconsin
If you need help accessing a state birth index, please leave a comment below, e-mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call us toll free at: 1-888-965-6696. And, please contact us if you have any questions about this post.