Marriage certificates

Marriage certificates are original documents, and are therefore a valuable primary resource. They can provide useful, reliable information that will allow you to trace back your family history.

What do they tell us?

Marriage certificates can provide information that will allow you to trace back your family tree, and also provide specific details about your ancestors.

A marriage certificate shows:

  • Name of bride and groom
  • Age of bride and groom
  • Occupations of bride and groom
  • Marital status of bride and groom
  • Address of bride and groom
  • Date of marriage
  • Place of Marrage
  • Whether marriage by banns, licence or certificate
  • Name and occupation of the fathers of the bride and groom
  • Witness names
  • Name and maiden name of the mother of the bride and groom (Scotland only)

How long have they been around?

The records of marriages began at different dates in different areas of the UK. The dates when marriage certificates began is shown below:

  • 1837 in England and Wales
  • 1855 in Scotland
  • 1845 in Ireland

If you need to find out about marriages that occurred before this time, the best place to look would be religious records, kept by churches or chapels.

Where can I find them?

There are a number of ways of obtaining marriage certificates depending on which area of the country the marriage took place.

In England or Wales:

  • The Family Record Centre holds indexes to certificate.
  • Here, you can find the reference of the certificate in the index and apply for your certificate by filling out a form.
  • Contact the Family Record Centre:

You can also download a form to order your marriage certificate online from the General Register Office website, visit :

In Scotland:

The Scotland