How to Find Georgia Marriage Records

It is easy to find copies of your Georgia ancestors’ marriage certificates and records using two basic online genealogy tools: GenealogyBank.com and FamilySearch.org. If your ancestors lived in Georgia, let’s see how we can find information about them.

marriage certificate for Walter B. Dense and Mamie T. Thornton found using FamilySearch's Georgia marriage records

Marriage certificate for Walter B. Dense and Mamie T. Thornton found using FamilySearch’s Georgia marriage records. Credit: FamilySearch.

FamilySearch.org has put Georgia marriage records from 1785 to 1950 online.

You may search for these old marriage records online here: https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1927197

A typical search will produce a marriage certificate like this one for Walter B. Dense and Mamie T. Thornton.

marriage certificate for Walter B. Dense and Mamie T. Thornton

Marriage certificate for Walter B. Dense and Mamie T. Thornton. Credit: FamilySearch.

Image Credit: “Georgia, County Marriages, 1785-1950,” index and images, FamilySearch: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/KXVC-7NK Accessed 19 March 2013, Walter B. Dense and Mamie T. Thornton, 1879.

This historical marriage certificate tells us that they were married by the Rev. Walker Lewis on 10 September 1879 in Bibb County, Georgia.

Marriage certificates can be brief and to the point. As genealogists we are thrilled to have them and to look at them—but we want to know more about the couple and their wedding.

Newspapers can give us even more details on the lives of our ancestors.

Let’s start searching the marriage records that were published in Georgia newspapers.

Let’s strategize this search.

In this case the groom’s surname, Dense, is a common word—but the surname itself is not very common. The word “dense” could possibly appear in a marriage announcement, but it is not likely to come up except as a surname.

By searching on the “Georgia Marriage Records” page in GenealogyBank I can focus my search results to bring up just marriage announcements that were printed in Georgia newspapers.

GenealogyBank search page for Georgia Marriage Records & Engagement Announcements

GenealogyBank search page for Georgia Marriage Records & Engagement Announcements

Search Georgia marriage records at GenealogyBank here: http://www.genealogybank.com/gbnk/newspapers/explore/USA/Georgia/?type=marriage_engagement

GenealogyBank search box and search results page for Dense wedding

GenealogyBank search box and search results page for Dense wedding

That worked: their wedding announcement was the first of ten search results.

Marriage in First Street Methodist Church, Macon Daily Telegraph newspaper article 16 September 1879

Macon Daily Telegraph (Macon, Georgia), 16 September 1879, page 4

The historical newspaper article is giving us a lot more detail about the wedding then the basic facts recorded on the marriage certificate—so many details that we can almost picture the wedding in our minds.

Marriage in First Street Methodist Church, Macon Daily Telegraph newspaper article 16 September 1879, page 4

Macon Daily Telegraph (Macon, Georgia), 16 September 1879, page 4

  • For example, we learn that the couple was married at the First Methodist Church in Macon, Georgia.
  • The church, “crowded to its utmost capacity,” was “tastefully decorated with evergreens” at half past eight in the evening when the wedding began.
  • The old newspaper article named the members of the wedding party and chief guests.
  • The Rev. Walker Lewis performed the wedding ceremony “in a clear and distinct manner.”
  • At the end of the ceremony “Professor Coley played the wedding march.”

Think about it—the details, the setting…picture the wedding scene in your mind.

The end of the old newspaper marriage announcement gives us even more details about the family and their occupations, and describes the reception and supper that followed at the bride’s father’s (Reuben Thornton) home on Second Street.

Marriage in First Street Methodist Church, Macon Daily Telegraph newspaper article 16 September 1879, page 4

Macon Daily Telegraph (Macon, Georgia), 16 September 1879, page 4

Details about special life events like this are only found in historical newspapers.

These are two great genealogy resources for finding your Georgia marriage records: the certificates on FamilySearch, and the newspaper marriage announcements in GenealogyBank with the details about the couple and the wedding.

Oh, the newspaper editor added one more comment about this wedding.

Marriage in First Street Methodist Church, Macon Daily Telegraph newspaper article 16 September 1879, page 4

Macon Daily Telegraph (Macon, Georgia), 16 September 1879, page 4

The editor had described the packed church and the beautiful wedding and added “At the close Professor Coley played the wedding march, and the dense audience dispersed.”

It’s great to not only learn about the details of our ancestors’ lives and weddings— it’s also fun to see the wry humor of the times.

It’s a great day for genealogy!

Got Genealogy Questions?

Do you have a genealogy question? Have you hit a brick wall in your genealogy research? Need help? Write our free “Ask the Genealogist” service and let’s see what we can find out for you about your family history.

And, hey—would you help us out and “Like” us on Facebook, and ask your friends to do the same?

Here’s a question about genealogy research we just received:

“Hello, I am researching the Moxham family line in Niagara, New York. I was doing fine then hit a block with Fred E. Moxham from 1861. I have done checking everywhere I could think of. He married Anna Maurer. I know he died young. If I could just figure out his father’s name it would be a great help I believe. Any thoughts?”

Here is our response to the genealogy question we were asked:

Notice that in the 1892 New York State census they list Fred as born in the U.S.

See: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-11684-14945-80?cc=1529100

Notice also that in the 1900 census his children state that the birth place of their father was New York.

See: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MS2F-X22

  • Since he died in the Niagara County area—have you found copies of the probate file for his estate?
  • Do you have his death certificate?
  • Do you have a copy of their marriage certificate?
  • What church did they attend?
  • Did you find him in the 1870 census? 1880?

What do you make of the “other” Frederick Moxham living in Niagara County? He was born March 1830 in England.

In the 1880 census that other Frederick is 50 years old, his wife is 33 years old, and their oldest child is 12.

See: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MZX8-DMP

Their difference in age in the 1880 census allows room for him to have had a first wife—and if so, they could have been the parents of your Frederick. Let’s see where this takes us.

You need to run the church, probate, land and census records for both Moxham households to see where the connections to your Fred E. Moxham are.

You can obtain those records from your area FamilySearch Center.

See: https://familysearch.org/search/search/library_catalog#searchType=catalog&filtered=true&fed=false&collectionId=&catSearchType=place&searchCriteria=&placeName=New+York%2C+Niagara&author_givenName=&author_surname=

For example, there is a marriage certificate for your Frederick Moxham’s son: Howard Moxham marrying Ruby Banks on 23 Dec 1911 in Niagara, New York.

See: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F6SK-LWL

And here is the marriage certificate for his son: Harold Fred Moxham in 1909.

See: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F6SF-7PY

You want to see these marriage certificates to see if they give the city/state of birth of the father Frederick E. Moxham. Hopefully it will give you the city so you can then find his birth/baptismal certificates.

Try these suggestions and let me know what you find.