Marriage records are public records. They are one of the core Public Vital Records along with Death, Birth and Divorce. It is a very well-searched record category and is available to any member of the public free of charge as long as procedures and requirements are complied with.
Free marriage records are an invaluable source of information about people. Some of their contents can be quite private so there may be certain degree of restriction on its accessibility and use. They fall under state jurisdiction and have variations on that count from state to state. The databases among the states are also not linked so marriage records in one state are not likely to show up in a search conducted in another. A complete search would have to cover all the states nationwide that the subject has ever resided in.
There are both Confidential and Public Marriage Records. The bulk of marriage records fall under the latter category and the information found in these free marriage records typically include personal particulars of the couple, their parents’, witnesses’ and also the name of the conducting official of the marriage ceremony. Some related records may also show up such as Divorce and Birth Records.
Free marriage records have many widespread uses. They are an invaluable source of information for those in Genealogy and other forms of historical studies involving people. Lawyers, journalists and police use them to gather information. Separated children can search and locate their biological parents with free marriage records. Those in a romantic relationship often check their partner’s marital background by retrieving their marriage records especially when wedding bells are round the corner.
There are different possible ways to request free marriage records. Most public offices tasked with this service will accept write-in, walk-in, telephone and faxed requests. Increasingly, the online option is also becoming available. It is possible too to obtain free marriage records from non-government sources but there are usually strings attached. These are mostly commercial information providers and the good thing about them is that on top of government sources, they have the means to also tap into private and proprietary databases. Competition is keen, and that drives up their standards and value for money.