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.