The Laws to Get Married

When your relatives married, do you know:

  • what the legal age was to get married?
  • how far in advance you needed the license before the ceremony?
  • what information the records usually contain?
  • what records were usually kept?
  • where the records are located?
  • if the records are available in alternate formats/

6 thoughts on “The Laws to Get Married

  1. Penny Lackey

    I have often wondered about some of these questions while researching but I don’t know how to find the laws for that current place and time period.

    1. michaeljohnneill Post author

      State statutes are the place to look. Many out of print ones are online at GoogleBooks and other sites that have digital images of books. Modern ones are often online.

  2. Kat

    I searched thru old newspapers for several months before I found mention of a relative’s marriage. Seems the legal age for marriage had changed the year before. The state raised the age for the grooms that year, but not for brides. The couple went across the state line and he lied like the devil!

  3. Regina Skater

    My grandmother was 16 when she married my grandfather in 1927. They lived in Trenton, N. J. Now my other grandparents did same. They were we’d in Maryland. 1925. I can’t find much from Maryland. So I wondered if my other grandparents were we’d in Maryland also ???

  4. Christine

    Find out where the nearby “marriage mills” or “Gretna Greens” were–if you can’t find your ancecstors’ marriage where you expect it, you might find it elsewhere. Those who didn’t like the Illinois requirements frequently went to Crown Point, IN or around the bottom of Lake Michigan to Michigan. I’m sure other areas have similar examples.

    1. michaeljohnneill Post author

      Exactly. Many of my own relatives in western Illinois went to Missouri during the World War II era as the requirements there were more lax and a soldier home on leave could get married the same day the couple got the license.


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