Is the Marriage Register Original or Derivative?

Like a lot of genealogical answers, “it depends.”

If the marriage took place in a location where marriage licenses and issued and returns by the officiant are sent to the records office, then the entry in the marriage register (which was created from the license and the return) is derivative because it was copied from other sources. In this case that would be the license and the return.

Knowing something about the recordkeeping and record creation process is always helpful.


One thought on “Is the Marriage Register Original or Derivative?

  1. Lisa Gorrell says:

    I never thought about this before. How can you find out how the information was recorded in the record book? In some southern states, the record of marriage is on one page with the Bond, Marriage Affidavit, Marriage License, Certificate of Marriage, and Certificate of Record. Should I assume each of these were produced on a separate paper and then copied to the book? The dates on these 5 parts often are different.

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