Wednesday, February 27, 2013

New York State Marriage Records

I follow the New York Public Library's Milstein Division of U.S. History, Local History and Genealogy on Facebook.

This past week, on Monday, February 25, 2013, they posted a link to Family Search's database of New York State Marriages from 1908 to 1935. Note that this Family Search collection does not include the New York City marriage records. Those are indexed online and available through the New York City Municipal Archives which I have blogged about in the past.

NYC marriages are indexed online at:
Grooms: ; or

Brides:; or

No, this database from Family Search includes the rest of New York State's marriage records but only for that specific time frame; 1908 - 1935;

Looking at my family tree, that is the time period in which my great grandparents were married. I have 4 sets of great-grandparents - as do you and everyone, unless of course your parents are first cousins which doesn't really happen too much in today's day and age but I digress. I have 4 sets of great-grandparents.

My mother's maternal grandparents, my great-grandparents, James Aloysius Fay (1893-1964) married Mary Prince (1893-1983) in 1919 in the City of New York; so they aren't in this database. I have their marriage certificate already, anyway.

My mother's paternal grandparents, Almond Desjardins (a.k.a. Albert Gardner) (1891-1946) married Mary Elizabeth "Mayme" Sharp (1891 – 1961) in 1922; but again, they also married in the City of New York. Therefore, they too are not going to be in this database. No worries, though, I already have their marriage certificate too. [Hee, hee, hee. Stay with me here. I am trying to make a point.]

My father's maternal grandparents, Charles Aloysius Henry (1896-1949) married Anna Marie Sauer (1899-1986) in 1921. Where? In the City of New York! Do I have their marriage certificate already?? YES!

My father's paternal grandparents, Abram Thomas Earle (1891-1973) married Ethel Mae Losee (1896 - 1960) in 1915. Where? Um. Not in New York City. They married in Freeport. And although I knew their date of marriage from the church register at the Methodist Church in Freeport, Long Island, New York. I do not own a copy of their marriage certificate. That is until now.

A marriage certificate provides information in addition to the date of marriage and names of the couple. It often includes the couple's birth dates; although, now always, sometimes it is just states their ages. It may also list the couple's parents and witnesses.

The witnesses may or may not be relatives to the bride and groom. Regardless, giving these individuals a little bit of research can add some color and character to the lives of your family. These relationships were important; sometimes more important than one's one siblings and parents. Witnesses are worth investigating. They could be distant cousins, neighbors, schoolmates, etc. Check them out.

But why is it that I took the trouble to name all those great-grandparents of mine that would not have their marriages found in this database? Because if their marriage fell into the appropriate time period, then maybe their siblings marriage would be in that same time period of 1908 - 1935. And maybe, just maybe, their siblings didn't marry in the City of New York but rather somewhere else in the state. It was worth a shot. And one of the great things about this database is that if the certificate names the bride's or groom's parents, they are indexed too.

Poke around. Take a tangent. Don't ignore cousins. You might find something really interesting, if not really helpful to your research and the lives of your family.

No comments:

Post a Comment