Now that the 1886 Soldiers, Widows, and Orphans Registry indexing project is complete, we have moved on to indexing our county’s oldest marriage returns and affidavits. These records begin along with our county’s founding in 1818.
These marriage returns are important because they confirm that a marriage actually took place after a marriage license was issued. The officiant, often a justice of the peace, notes that he married the couple and the date when that marriage occurred.
Along with marriage returns, a couple’s affidavit is often also included. These records confirm who witnessed the marriage, vouching that the couple are residents of the county and often vouching for the age of the bride. A variation of the witness affidavit is the marriage consent. These records take the form of handwritten notes on scrap paper, written by the father or other relative of the bride, confirming that they give consent for the marriage to happen.
Given that these marriage records date back to before an official marriage application existed, they are vital for those looking for information on family relationships.
The handwriting of records this old makes them somewhat challenging but the indexing has begun!