Sometimes the reason you can’t find a marriage record is because the couple was never actually married. I was working on a couple who had three children in Virginia shortly after the American Revolution. Records created after the father’s demise indicated that the couple was never married.

There are many reasons why a couple may not marry–even during a time period when most people do. One reason is that one of them had a legal impediment to marriage–often a spouse hanging somewhere else.



2 Responses

  1. My 8th great grandparents were never married because she ran off with the hired man! Her husband divorced her but since she was the guilty party she could not marry the hired man. They lived together, had a few court appearances for fornication. If not for their children I wouldn’t be here. And one of her children with the hired man married a child from her exhusband and his 2nd wife! Can you imagine! She had 8 or 9 kids with husband 1 and 6 more with the hired man. All this about 1655.

  2. Is it possible that a marriage ceremony performed privately by an ordained minister just wasn’t recorded in the county records? I know one of my relatives was “married”, my grandfather performed the ceremony…but I can find no legal record. How often might a slip up of filing be the cause….

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