Marriage Records Index Collection, 1719-1898 (bulk)
This database is a compilation of various card index files to marriages, formerly available to researchers in the Library’s reading room, that were created over the years by different individuals. It indexes selected information found in a variety of collections and sources at the Library of Virginia.
The card index files were originally organized by county. The number of entries listed under each county varies greatly, with the following counties having the largest indexes: Augusta, Caroline, Cumberland, Dinwiddie, Gloucester, Hanover, Northumberland, Prince George, Spotsylvania, Stafford, and Sussex.
There are also indexes for the following counties: Accomack, Amelia, Bedford, Brunswick, Buckingham, Charlotte, Culpeper, Elizabeth City, Essex, Fairfax, Fauquier, Fincastle, Goochland, Halifax, James City, King and Queen, King George, Loudoun, Lunenburg, Nottoway, Powhatan, Prince Edward, Prince William, Pulaski, Richmond (County), Shenandoah, and Warren.
Because these indexes were compiled by different people using different sources, the dates covered and the amount of information vary with each county. In addition, this index does not exhaust all available sources for the counties, nor is it a comprehensive index to Virginia marriages. For more information on the extent of the indexing, please see “More Information about the Marriage Records Collection.”
This database was compiled from card index files created by people of varying skills. Some obvious errors have been corrected in the transition from card index file to database, but researchers should use caution in accepting the information in the index as accurate without consulting the original source material. Original sources were not referenced in the creation of the database from the card files.
Search by County:
Searching by county displays a listing for all entries from that particular county.
Search by Bride or Groom Name:
Name searches may be performed by using a first or last name only or a combination of the two. Searches may be performed by using a single letter in the first name field and a full or partial name in the last name field. For example: bride first name “M” and bride last name “Will” returns all results for brides with first names that begin with the letter M and whose maiden or husband’s last name is Will, Wills, Williams, or Williamson.
Free Negroes Listing:
This search displays a list of all the marriages from this database indicated to have taken place between free people of color.
Record-keeping practices prior to emancipation frequently included the use of the notation "Free Negro" to indicate a record or event concerning a free person of color, whose legal rights and responsibilties differed from those of enslaved people. Due to the difficulty of tracing African Americans prior to 1866, most of whom were enslaved, indexers felt compelled to include this information in their indexes. We have retained this term here as a part of the historical record and to convey the relevance of the individuals' names to the time in which they were recorded.
The keyword search looks across all name fields and the notes field. This search function is useful for seeking results such as every occurrence of the surname Smith in the database or for information solely from the notes field, such as an alternative spelling of a bride or groom’s name, the name of a guardian, or the county of residence if different from that in which the marriage took place. Search results can be quite numerous, particularly if common words are used as search terms (for example: Mary, John, or County). If conducting a county name search in the keyword search, omit the word “county” for best results. This search seeks only words that are directly next to each other, so use as few search terms as possible for best results (for example: a search for “New Kent spinster” would return an entry with the notes field: Mary Smith, New Kent spinster, but would NOT return an entry with the notes field: Mary Smith, spinster, of New Kent County).
More Information About the Marriage Records Collection
Date Field in Database:
The dates listed in the marriage card files are not necessarily marriage dates. The date given could refer to the date of a marriage bond, to the date that an announcement of the marriage was published in a newspaper, or to some other date. Researchers must consult the source listed for an entry to determine what the date indicates.
Notes Field in Database:
This field contains additional information listed in the marriage card files, such as an alternative spelling of a bride or groom’s name, the name of a guardian, the county of residence if different from that in which the marriage took place, etc. Clarifying information is also present in the notes field, for example, to explain a particular date or spelling of a name. This information varies widely, with some entries providing no additional information. The notes field is searchable only by using the keyword search function.
The source from which a particular entry in the index was taken is noted in full in the source field. Entries for which no source could be determined are noted as such in the source field. Please consult the original source indicated in these instances.
All sources included are:
- Auditor of Public Accounts, Entry 466. Reports of fees and taxes collected, 1775-1884. See especially Clerks: General Accounts, 1775-1783 (Accession 26535)
- Augusta County Marriage Licenses and Ministers’ Returns, 1828-1839, 1851-1853
- Caroline County Marriage Bonds, 1810-1816 (Accession 24447, photostat volume)
- Douglas Register, 1705-1898 (bulk 1750-1797) (Accession 23367)
- Elizabeth City Deed Book, Elizabeth City Will Book, Elizabeth City Order Book
- Essex County Ministers’ Returns, 1850-1854 (Accession 27508)
- Goochland County loose marriage records at the Library of Virginia.
- James Mason Jeter, Account Book, 1837-1841 (Jeter Family Papers, Accession 27517)
- John Ogilvie, Daybook, 1824-1849 (Accession 29508, Miscellaneous Reel 483 or 600)
- List of marriages by Reuben Ford (1782). Minister's return located in Goochland County loose marriage records at the Library of Virginia.
- Meherrin Baptist Church, Lunenburg County, Minute Book, 1771-1837 (Accession 24896)
- Powhatan County Order Book
- Richmond County Marriage Licenses (Accession 30127)
- Sussex County Ministers’ Returns, 1845-1853 (Accession 27507, photostat volume)
- Warren Owens, Memorandum Book, 1837-1870 (Accession 27235)
- Virginia Genealogical Society Quarterly (Vol. 8, no. 1-4, 1970).
- Dinwiddie County Deed Book
- Dinwiddie County Marriage Register, 1850-1867 (Dinwiddie County reel 20)
- Hanover County Miscellany, 1727-1858 (Accession 20843, photostat volume or Miscellaneous Reel 401 which contains only the last 15 pages of the Miscellany, Hanover County marriage licenses, 1816-1817, 1831-1847)
- Immanuel Episcopal Church, St. Paul’s Parish, Hanover County, Record Book, 1815-1926 (Accession 19801)
- Deaths and marriages indexed from various Virginia Methodist newspapers, 1832-1901 by Julia Edwards Woodson Saunders (Accession 23679). Principally from the Christian Sentinel (or Virginia Methodist Advocate), 1832-1836. The originals are not available.
- John K. Martin, Records, 1777-1907 (Accession 12)
- Lindsay, Joyce H. Marriages of Henrico County, Virginia, 1680-1808. (Richmond, 1960).
- Revolutionary War Pension Applications
- Charles Talley, Marriage Register, 1822-1839 (Accession 20805)
- St. Martin’s Parish, Hanover County, Register, 1825-1876 (Accession 26451, Miscellaneous Reel 400)
- "Reddy, Anne W. and Andrew Lewis Riffe. Virginia Marriage Bonds, Richmond City, 1797-1853. (Staunton, VA, 1939; reprinted 1976).
- William Montgomery Clemens, Virginia Marriage Records, 1630-1780 (Accession 23904; Use Restrictions: Do Not Photocopy)
- Dorman, John Frederick, Virginia Revolutionary Pension Applications, 49+ volumes. (Washington, 1958-)
- Bible records at the Library of Virginia
- Quaker Records
- Newspapers at Virginia Historical Society through 1820 from a file compiled by Mr. Hall. Many of these are available at the Library of Virginia.
- License filed with Montgomery County marriages
- Clemens, William M. Virginia Marriage Records: Covering the Period from the First Colonial Settlement Until the Close of the Revolution (Pompton Lakes, NJ: Biblio Company, Inc., 1928)
- Winn, George Wills, Ledger Book, 1857-1860 (Accession 27290) and Winn Family Bible records, 1789-1859 (Accession 42064)
- Hanover County Court Records: County Court, 1783-1792. 2 volumes
- Moore, J. Staunton, editor. History of Henrico Parish and Old St. John's Church, Richmond, VA, 1611-1904 (alternate title: Annals of Henrico Parish, by Rt. Rev. L. W. Burton…..) (Richmond, Williams Print Co., c.1904)
- Virginia General Assembly Legislative Petitions, 1776-1865 (Accession 36121)
- Jeremiah Chandler, Marriage Register, 1793-1833 (Accession 24258)
- Baber, Lucy Harrison Miller. William Norvell (1746-1794) of Hanover Count, Va.: His Forebears and Descendants (Lynchburg VA: LHM Baber, 1992)
- Glazebrook, Eugenia G. Virginia Migrations, Hanover County (Baltimore, MD : Clearfield Company, Inc. by Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 2000)
- Kingston Parish Register, 1749-1827, in Kingston Parish Records, 1679-1917 (Accession 30107 and Mathews County Microfilm Reel 57)
- Williams, Kathleen Booth. Marriages of Louisa County, Virginia, 1766-1815 (Harrisonburg, Va. : C. J. Carrier Co., 1977, c1959)
- Williams, Kathleen Booth. Marriages of Goochland County, Virginia, 1733-1815 (Baltimore : Genealogical Pub. Co., 1979)
- Amelia County Marriage Bonds and Minister's Returns, 1744-1785 (Accession 20920, photostat volume)
Notes on Specific Counties:
Cumberland County (1841–1866)
- The marriage information from this marriage card file was compiled from various sources which are not listed on the cards and are therefore unknown.
Dinwiddie County (1818–1852)
- This index was compiled by Mrs. Sallie E. H. Short from ministers’ returns as found in Dinwiddie County Deed Books 1–6 and the Dinwiddie County Marriage Register, 1850–1867. The dates in the index (the date of the minister’s return) and the date of the marriage may differ. Also published in the Virginia Genealogical Society Quarterly (Vol. 8, no. 1–4, 1970).
Hanover County (1720–1904)
- Marriage information for Hanover County was indexed from a variety of collections and sources at the Library of Virginia. The index was compiled by Mrs. S. Wirt Yates for the Virginia Historical Society.
Prince George County (1789–1841)
The specific source for each Prince George County marriage entry within the database is not specified, but is one of the following:
- Records transcribed from the marriage bonds in the Prince George County courthouse by William Macfarlane Jones.
- Virginia Marriages in Reverend John Cameron’s Register and Bath Parish Register (Virginia Genealogical Society, 1963).
- Information compiled by Ann Bradbury Peebles in 1954 from the Eppes Society Papers (Library of Virginia accessions 38083, 41107, 41501). Checked August 23, 1973, by Prentiss Price and discrepancies noted.
John Vogt, Marriage Records in the Virginia State Library: A Researcher's Guide 2nd ed. (Athens, Ga., 1988). A Guide to Church Records in the Archives Branch, Virginia State Library. Compiled by Jewell T. Clark and Elizabeth Terry Long (Richmond, 1981). Virginia Marriage Records from The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, the William and Mary Quarterly, and Tyler's Quarterly (Baltimore, 1982). Early Virginia Marriages. Edited by William Armstrong Crozier (New York, 1907; reprinted Baltimore, 1953). Dorothy Ford Wulfeck, Marriages of Some Virginia Residents, 1607–1800, Series 1–2 (1961–1967 and 1990). Series 2 is titled Wulfeck's Virginia Marriages. Also available is an in-house guide to Virginia marriages which contains definition of terms, general sources, and sources of marriage information for individual counties.