Q. How do I find my grandparents marriage certificate?
A. Most counties in Illinois started recording marriages shortly after formation. This is because, unlike birth and death records, marriage records can impact property ownership. So, along with Probate and Land Records, marriage records are among the oldest records in the county.
A good place to start is the “Illinois Statewide Marriage Index 1763-1900” database at the Illinois State Archives - https://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/archives/databases/marriage.html. There are some counties and dates that are not included in this database however.
If you know the county they lived in, you can try contacting the County Clerk in that county. The specific IRAD for that county may have the record as well.
Keep in mind that not everyone was married in the same county they lived in. They may have gone to a neighboring county to “elope” or simply for convenience. Don’t forget that they may have crossed state lines as well.
Note: This was originally published in the "Tips from the Genealogy Committee" column in the Illinois State Genealogical Society Newsletter (March 2020). While these tips were written for those researching Illinois ancestors, many of the principles can be applied to other locations.