Was Your Ancestor’s Marriage Certificate Filed Late?

Everyone is familiar with the regulations that couples wanting to be married need to register and obtain a marriage certificate. This document permits them to be wed by a justice of the peace, minister or other authorized official.

Pastors Liable to Heavy Fines, Oregonian newspaper article 2 September 1906

Oregonian (Portland, Oregon), 2 September 1906, page 36

Perhaps less well known is the question: Who returns the signed and completed marriage certificate to the town hall or county registrar?

That was the responsibility of the minister or person performing the wedding.
But – sometimes they never filed the paperwork with the government, or filed it very late.

Enter Last Name

The Oregonian reported on this problem in 1906, reporting that: “In years gone by…many marriage certificates were never returned at all.”

The old news article went on to cite multiple examples of late filing of the documents.

article about Rev. Ghormley being fined for filing marriage certificates late, Oregonian newspaper article 2 September 1906

Oregonian (Portland, Oregon), 2 September 1906, page 36

For example, the Greenwood-Mitchell marriage certificate wasn’t filed until six years after their marriage. Cases like this can make it difficult for genealogists to locate their ancestors’ marriage certificate.

Genealogy Tip:

When you are searching for a birth, marriage or death certificate, remember: they are often filed in chronological order by the date that they are received in the clerk’s office, not necessarily the date of the event. Be sure to search for several years after you believe the event occurred to make sure you find the certificate. Registrars often received “Delayed Registrations” years after the event occurred.

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Kentucky Newspapers online

List of Kentucky newspapers that are scheduled to go online on GenealogyBank in the months ahead.

Quickly find obituaries; birth, engagement & wedding announcements; and so much more.

(Stephen Foster’s My Old Kentucky Home …. courtesy of Library of Congress, Music for the Nation)

List of upcoming Kentucky Newspapers that will be added to GenealogyBank

Bardstown, KY. Western American 1803 to 1804
Frankfort, KY. Argus of Western America. 1816 to 1834 Frankfort, KY. Guardian of Freedom. 1798 to 1804
Paris, KY. Western Citizen. 1804 to 1816
Russellville, KY. Mirror. 1806 to 1807

and here’s the list of Kentucky newspapers that GenealogyBank already has online:

Bowling Green, KY. Daily News. 7/2/1999 to Today
Covington, KY. Kentucky Post. 4/2/1990 to 12/31/2007
Danville, KY. Mirror. 9/3/1804 to 12/1/1807
Danville, KY. People’s Friend. 1/30/1819 to 1/30/1819
Frankfort, KY. Frankfort Argus – variant title: Argus; Argus of Western America
2/3/1808 to 6/28/1821
Frankfort, KY. Kentucky Journal. 12/5/1795 to 12/5/1795
Frankfort, KY. Western World. 7/7/1806 to 6/8/1810
Ft Mitchell, KY. Kentucky Enquirer. 1/1/1999 to Today
Georgetown, KY. Telegraph. 9/25/1811 to 12/22/1813
Harlan, KY. Harlan Daily Enterprise. 11/17/2005 to Today
Harrodsburg, KY. Kentucky People. 3/18/1870 to 8/25/1871
Henderson, KY. Gleaner. 4/14/2006 to Today
Lancaster, KY. Political Theatre. 11/18/1808 to 7/26/1809
Lexington, KY. Kentucky Gazette. 3/15/1794 to 12/28/1837
Lexington, KY. Lexington Herald – variant titles: Lexington Daily Press; Lexington Daily Press-Transcript. 1/1/1907 to 12/31/1922
Lexington, KY. Lexington Herald-Leader. 5/1/1906 to 12/31/1907

Lexington, KY. Lexington Herald-Leader. 1/25/1984 to Today
Lexington, KY. Morning Herald. 1/1/1896 to 4/30/1906
Lexington, KY. Reporter – variant title: Kentucky Reporter. 3/12/1808 to 12/25/1820
Lexington, KY. Stewart Kentucky Herald. 7/14/1795 to 9/15/1801
Lexington, KY. Western Monitor. 8/3/1814 to 12/20/1817
Louisville, KY. Courier-Journal. 1/13/1999 to Today
Louisville, KY. Weekly Courier-Journal. 5/19/1879 to 7/29/1889
Maysville, KY. Eagle. 1/19/1815 to 3/27/1818
Middlesboro, KY. Daily News. 2/1/2007 to Today
Owensboro, KY. Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer. 9/1/1988 to Today
Richmond, KY. Globe. 1/24/1810 to 0/17/1810
Russellville, KY. News-Democrat & Leader. 12/13/2005 to Today
Washington, KY. Republican Auxiliary. 8/15/1807 to 8/15/1807
Washington, KY. Union. 3/8/1814 to 5/19/1817