Finding Maiden Names for Family Trees
Searching for maiden names in old marriage records should be one of the first priorities of all genealogy research. Half of our ancestors were women that changed their surname when they married. One maiden name brings a whole new set of ancestors and their stories into focus....
Updates: These states have been updated with more information and are now easier to navigate.
U.S. Marriage Records:
- Contributors Database
- Alabama-Marriage licenses required since 1799.
- Alaska-Marriages recorded since 1913.
- Arkansas-1917 marriage records duplicated by state and county.
- Arizona- Records from 1864.
- California-Marriage required official recording-1850.
- Colorado-Early Marriages recorded from 1853.
- Connecticut-1640-Earliest marriages recorded.
- Delaware-Earliest copies of marriage bonds-1744.
- Florida-1927 marriage records duplicated by state and county.
- Georgia-Marriage records from the creation of each county.
- Hawaii-1826 started keeping records.
- Idaho-Registration of marriages began in 1911.
- Illinois-Some of the earliest marriages are dated 1809.
- Indiana-County clerks began to record marriage records-1816.
- Iowa-Recording marriages began as counties formed.
- Kansas-Recording marriages began as counties formed.
- Kentucky-Recording marriages began as counties formed.
- Louisiana-Marriage recording usually began at creation of a parish.
- Maine-Before 1892, (1700) records were kept by town clerks.
- Maryland-Marriages began being recorded in 1777.
- Massachusetts-Towns started recording marriages in the 1600s.
- Michigan-Few records exist before 1820.
- Minnesota-Marriage recording began at creation of a county.
- Mississippi-Marriage recording began at creation of a county.
- Missouri-Missouri laws required counties to record marriages-1821.
- Montana-Recording marriages began as counties formed.
- Nebraska-Statewide registration of marriage began in 1909
- Nevada-Many Nevada counties began keeping records earlier than 1911.
- New Hampshire-Records of marriages have been kept since the early 1600s.
- New Jersey-Statewide registration of marriages began in 1848.
- New Mexico-Records of marriages started in 1852.
- New York-1847-first marriage records kept by NY government.
- North Carolina-Most recorded marriages date beginning 1741.
- North Dakota-Recorded marriages began at the creation of each county.
- Ohio-Recorded marriages began at the creation of each county.
- Oklahoma-1907-laws required counties to record marriages.
- Oregon-1842-early counties started recording marriages.
- Pennsylvania-Counties have recorded marriages since 1885.
- Rhode Island-Early marriage records date back to 1636.
- South Carolina-Counties began recording marriages in 1911.
- South Dakota-Marriages kept by the county clerk at the creation of each county.
- Tennessee-Recording marriages officially began in 1838.
- Texas-Recorded marriages begin at the creation of each county.
- Utah-Registration of marriages was not required until 1887.
- Vermont-Town clerks started recording marriages about 1760.
- Virginia-Marriages as early as 1660 can be found in church registers.
- Washington-Recorded marriages began at the creation of each county.
- West Virginia-Recorded marriages began at the creation of each county.
- Wisconsin-Marriage applications were recorded as early as the 1820s.
- Wyoming-Recorded marriages began at the creation of each county.
U.K., Ireland & Canada Marriages:
- UK and Ireland
Places marriage records may be found:
- Church records
- County marriage ledgers
- Divorce records
- Family bibles, letters and diaries
- Family traditional stories
- Old biographies
- Old newspapers
- State Archives
Who had the first marriage?
The ancient society that began the formal custom of marriage is not clear, but ancient writing has described the love and marriage of different historical brides and grooms, and pottery recovered from this era has been found decorated with wedding scenes. Records must have been kept of marriages with dates and names-wouldn't it be great if we could possibly trace our family history back to these early wedding participants!