Ancestry® Debuts World’s Largest, Searchable Digital Archive of Newspaper Published Historical Wedding Announcements
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Ancestry®️ has been the leader in family history for more than 30 years, developing innovative research tools and adding new content to our unparalleled historical record collections that enable people around the world to discover more about their family’s past. Today, Ancestry is excited to launch the first phase of the Newspapers.com™ Marriage Index collection, powered by cutting-edge technology. We trained machine learning algorithms to comb through more than 600 million pages of digitized newspapers to extract and identify key names, relationships and other facts from marriage and engagement announcements in historical newspapers via text classification. 

 

Powering More Family History Discoveries

The Newspapers.com Marriage Index collection adds to the world's largest, searchable digital archive of newspaper published historical wedding announcements. Since the early 1800s, newspapers across the country have been publishing rich information about engagements, marriage license applications, wedding announcements, and more. 

In addition to the names of the couple, these records often provide rich details about family members, including ages, residence and parents’ names. By indexing these data and records in ways that would take humans a great deal of time, we are continuing to empower journeys of personal discovery, and our members can now easily search these indexes with just one click. 

 

What You Can Find in the Index

The first phase of this release contains information from over 200 million records from over 50 million lists and marriage announcements dating from 1800-1999. List marriage announcements were usually a weekly list of couples that had applied for a marriage license that week, and contain basic information about the couple. Non-list marriage announcements might include brief or detailed write-ups with more information about the wedding. We expect the remaining names from the lists and marriage records from 2000-present will be published on Ancestry in 2021. Over the next year, we anticipate completing the collection for a total of up to 300M marriage announcement records from newspapers on Newspapers.com.

The first phase of the Newspapers.com Marriage Index is now available on Ancestry to all subscribers and the original marriage announcement articles and images are available on Newspapers.com. Members with a Newspapers.com Publisher Extra subscription have a 1-click option to view every full announcement on Newspapers.com. Some announcements may be accessed with just an Ancestry All Access or Newspapers.com Basic subscription. Certain newspapers require a Publisher Extra subscription as certain newspapers require additional licenses to view their content.

 

How to Search for a Marriage Record in the Newspapers.com Marriage Index collection

  • First, from any page on Ancestry, click on the “Search” tab (located at the top of the page) and select “Card Catalog” from the drop-down menu.
  • Then, on the left side of the page under Filter By Category, click “Birth, Marriage & Death.” 
  • On the left side of the page under Filter by Category again, click “Marriage & Divorce.”
  • From the search results, click “Newspapers.com Marriage Index, 1800s-1999.” 
  • Begin your search by entering a name of someone who was married in 1999 or earlier.
  • Add any additional details you may have available about the individual, such as birth date, wedding date, gender, etc. Every detail increases the likelihood of finding the correct announcement.
  • Hit “Search” and review the records that appear.
  • If you find a record relevant to your family, hit “Save” and add the record to someone in your tree.  
  • Even if you’ve searched for family members in our marriage records collection before, we’re always adding more records to our site, and we encourage you to search again, as you may notice a new record waiting to be explored.

 

The Newspapers.com Marriage Index collection is available now to help empower even more new family history discoveries. You can begin searching here.