This database is a collection of Indiana marriage indexes covering various years and counties. This collection is comprised of indexes created by two agencies - the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and Jordan Dodd of Liahona Research (who extracted information from records on microfilm at the Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City, Utah). Information contained in these indexes includes:
- Spouses' names
- Marriage date
- Marriage county
- Source information
For the source information you will see either "Works Progress Administration" or, "Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah" (for entries created by Jordan Dodd). If available, a microfilm number is provided for records from the FHL. Likewise, the WPA entries provide original record locations, as well as book information (title, volume, page number), useful for finding individuals in the printed versions of the WPA indexes.
Note: You may find duplicate records of the same marriage in this database, with the only difference being the source. These records were not removed because Ancestry.com wanted to provide the most amount of information about a marriage to the customer.
History of Marriage Records in Indiana:
Marriage licenses became mandatory in 1800. Beginning with the formation of each respective county to the present, the county clerk's office has issued and kept marriage licenses and certificates. Both marriage transcripts (1882) and marriage applications, beginning in 1906 (with additional family information), may have been used in various counties. Prior to 1940 it was necessary for a couple to obtain a license from the county in which the female resided. If an ancestor's marriage record cannot be located in Indiana, check the Cincinnati marriage records. Cincinnati was a "Gretna Green" (no-questions-asked marriage locale) for Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana.
Taken from Carol L. Maki, "Indiana," in Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, 3d ed., ed. Alice Eichholz. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004).
About the WPA Records:
The WPA began to index vital records, county-by-county for the entire state of Indiana, but the agency was abolished before the indexing was completed. The WPA index includes marriages for eighty-six of the ninety-two Indiana counties.
About the FHL Records:
The marriage date provide in these entries is usually the date of marriage as given in the original entry. However, when no marriage date is given (e.g., the "marriage return" was not provided to the record keeper), the date of the license is used. In a few cases, a marriage will be listed twice, but in two different counties. This most often happened when a couple obtained a license in one county, but were actually married in another.
I Found An Ancestor In This Database….What Now?
Marriage records are great sources for genealogists because they document an individual in a particular place and time as well as provide details about that person's marriage.
It is important that you use the information found in this database to locate your ancestor in the records that this index references. Usually more information is available in the records themselves than is found in an index. For example, marriage records sometimes provide the birth dates and places of the bride and groom, their parents' names, their addresses, and witnesses' names, in addition to the information listed in this index.
Copies of the WPA printed indexes may be located at Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Allen County Public Library
900 Webster Street
Fort Wayne, IN 46802
Phone: (260) 421-1200
Fax: (260) 422-9688
Some of these printed indexes may also be available from the Indiana State Library or on microfilm from the FHL.
Because county clerks are responsible for maintaining marriage records, the originals are kept with them. To obtain a copy, contact the appropriate county clerk and inquire about their research facilities or the procedure for obtaining copies of records. These original records maintained by the county clerk may also be available on microfilm from the FHL and may be some of the sources used to compile this database as described above. For many researchers, it may be easier to check the FHL records first, before contacting the county clerk.