Unlike a lot of the state states throughout the United State, California has been keeping track of marriages that took place within the state since 1850. All of these public marriage records are held and maintained at the California Department of Public Health Office of Vital Records. If you are looking to get your marriage record, one of your parents, or to use it to help complete a family tree, the California Department of Public Health is a great place to start your search. One of the fastest ways to get started with your search is to visit a local county health office in person and tell them exactly what you are looking for – they may have you fill out a form requesting the copy of the record of marriage, or be able to help you locate it right on the spot – however it is important to note they will typically not issue you a certified copy of the certificate while you wait, however you would be able to look at the record of marriage and see if that is the information you are searching for. Due to the fact that all marriage records are considered public information, anyone can get a copy of the record in question, but you will need some information prior to making your inquiry. Among the most important pieces of information you will need are; both the bride and groom’s first and last name as well as the date the marriage took place. Both of these pieces of information are vital to locating the correct marriage record and will speed up the process greatly.
How to use California marriage records for genealogical information:
California marriage records can be one of the most valuable sources of California genealogical information. There are two types of marriage records -the type of record you will need for research is called an informational copy. This is a certified copy of a marriage license and can be used for verifying information which you may have found elsewhere. Due to the length of time it takes to get a marriage record from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) it is better and more time effective to contact the county clerk of the county where the license was issued and to try and obtain a copy of the marriage record that way.
What to do if you are not in the State of California:
If you are trying to locate marriage records from the state of California, and you do not live there and are not currently located there, or you do not have all of the information necessary to perform an accurate search, you are still in luck. You can go through a third party California marriage records look up in order to obtain the information that you are trying to gather. A third party look up is a great way to save yourself the time of handling the records request, as these services provide you with the information necessary without the difficulty of actually talking to the individual county offices on your own or going through the state, which currently has a backlog of six months to process records requests like these. While you will have to pay a fee for having a service like this handle the request for you, it is well worth it if you live out of state or if you are simply trying to do some genealogy research in your spare time, as it can prevent you from having to visit the local county office on your own just to find the information necessary for your research project.
Items that need to be submitted to receive a copy of a marriage record:
- Groom’s first and last name
- Bride’s first and maiden last name
- Date of marriage
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