The date that a couple obtained a marriage license is not necessarily the date of the marriage. Getting a license does not mean the couple was actually married. Things can happen after the license and before the ceremony. If the license was returned with the name of officiant and date of the ceremony, then the couple got married.

If you only have the marriage license date, record it as the marriage license date.



8 Responses

  1. It wasn’t until I was able to go to the county courthouse and looked at the actual marriage certificates that I discovered all of the certificates that had been requested and paid for through the years from one county had the wrong date on them. The clerk who filled the requests used the marriage license date, even though the actual marriage date was on the same paper.

  2. I’ve often wondered about this. My gggrandfather and ggrandmother have a date listed for marriage in Henry co, TN as both March 1866 and then again April 1866. I can’t find a marriage record for either, though I know they lived together as man and wife and had three children.

  3. Though the difference in date is not really big or significant, I see this with my parents wedding date. I have their certified marriage certificate and the minister wrote the wrong date on the marriage certificate when he filled out his part by two days. He dated their marriage license with a different date than the day they actually performed the ceremony. It was just a case of human error. Someone searching many years from now may be really confused by the two dates

  4. In Massachusetts and possibly some other places, a bride and groom were required to report their marriage in the place of their residence at the time of the marriage. If they lived in different towns there are two records. I have noticed data sometimes differs between the two and I suppose dates could differ too.

  5. In early Kentucky, the officiant would return the license to the courthouse for recording. Some ministers were notorious for not returning the licenses for recording. There were two dates on the the license – the date the license was applied for and a bond posted, and the date of the actual ceremony. If you have a license with no return date, you have to look and see if this was a common practice for that officiant.

  6. On marriage license, does it declare the date of couple getting married or the date that they filled the form 2 days ago? I really want that specific date to be the date that i got married on. So, i want to be precised on the date.

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