Monday, June 8, 2015

Don't forget there are marriage church records!

There is one question I keep repeating every time someone asks about finding details about their family: "Do you have church record of their marriage?"

If your ancestor immigrated to U.S. and married in U.S., you usually have marriage license from official authorities in the County your ancestors lived in. BUT - these marriage licenses contain just a little information when compared to the church records. You have a name there, but not much more. Here are two examples of marriage licenses (as found through Google): 

So what we know from these licenses? Honestly, almost nothing. Now, what about church records? Those are usually not available online so you'll have to ask the church where your ancestors were married if they can provide a copy of such record to you. It takes time, it could even mean you'll have to go there and ask personally, but believe me, it's worth it. 

Anyway, if your ancestors came to Chicago and were married in St Procopius church, maybe you'll be the lucky one to find their church marriage record online on FamilySearch website. And here is one example from 1909: 

I know it's complicated because it's in Latin, but it won't stop someone who is researching his family history, right? So, what do we have here? Groom Václav (Wenceslaus) Vocásek, originally from Radovesnice in Bohemia, born on 27th Nov 1874, son of Václav (Wenceslaus) Vocásek. Bride Josefa Mačlová, originally from Strakonice, born there on 14th March 1885, daughter of Václav (Wenceslaus) Mačl. 

Now we know where both groom and bride were born - and also when, so it's just a matter of time to find their birth records. This is not the information you would receive from the marriage license, right? 

So - don't forget church records, they will provide you much more information than the civil ones... :)


  1. Another eye opening post. Thanks Blanka!!

  2. A marriage record was a key for me. Thank you Blanka.

  3. Marriage records (civil and RC, Wisconsin, mid-19th century) were the key for me. Without them I couldn't have traced my family back to Moravia!

  4. I have found lots of marriage records online, and I agree, they are a wealth of information! It just depends on whether the Czech Republic has digitized your ancestors' town records yet. check Cyndi's list for links.

  5. I have a family that came to the US in 1857 via the Port of Bremanhaven. I have several accounts where the family is said to be from Melnik but nothing more specific. My Great grandmother said the family was not Catholic. And I am unsure as to where so search for a marriage record for the family. The husband is Wencl or Anton Mancl (Mancel)his wife was Anna Pekarek or Peharek daughter of Daniel. Can you give me any suggestions? Thank You, Lori Lehman

  6. Sometimes people do not find the marriage records of their ancestor as it was taken place so long before. But the has a way to find the marriage records as the church also keep a record on their marriage.

  7. Found some towns of origin and confirmation of birthdays, parents names in Church records, so thanks for the tip. Maryland State Archives has online PDF of Czech Church Marriage records, not all birth - very useful :)

  8. “Sometimes I feel like if you just watch things, just sit still and let the world exist in front of you - sometimes I swear that just for a second time freezes and the world pauses in its tilt. Just for a second. And if you somehow found a way to live in that second, then you would live forever.” Relationship blogger

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