What Are You Looking At?

When any genealogy website “dishes up” an image of a genealogical record, determine exactly what you are looking at before quickly jumping off on your next research task. It can be easy to draw incorrect conclusions about a record with which you are unfamiliar. Marriage records are a great example of this.

Are you looking at a list of marriage licenses that were issued?

Are you looking at a book of marriage license returns?

Are you looking at the actual marriage license?

Are you looking at a marriage bond?

Are you looking at a marriage register?

Different locations required and kept different records. Some records indicate a marriage was intended (bonds and licenses) and some records indicate a marriage had actually been performed (marriage registers and returns). It’s important to know the difference.