Marriage records usually began when the county was first formed. In Wayne County, OH, this is 1812. We have marriages in our department from 1812 thru 1951. Marriages from 1812 thru part of 1898 can be found in the book titled, Wayne County, OH Marriages 1813-1898 compiled by Bob and Esther Strock. There is a groom index in the front and a bride index in the back. Information included in the book includes the groom’s name, the bride’s name, date of marriage, and the official performing the wedding ceremony. Also, the volume and page number of the marriage record on microfilm is listed. An earlier version of this book was compiled by Richard Smith. It is called, Seventy-Five Years of Wayne County, Ohio Marriages 1813-1888.
Very little additional information is given on the actual marriage record found on microfilm. Parents’ names were not included until the latter part of 1898. However, if the groom or bride was underage at the time of the marriage, an adult had to sign for him or her. Sometimes this adult may be a father, mother, sibling, or other close family member. The legal age for a man to marry was 21 years. The legal age for a woman to marry was 18 years.
The marriage records for the latter part of 1898 through 1951 can be found on microfilm in our department. In most cases, there is both a groom and bride index in front of each volume. Most volumes cover a span between 3-4 years. From 1898 through about 1901, there is only a groom index. Volunteers are currently in the process of compiling a comprehensive index from 1898 thru 1951.
Marriage records after 1951 may be found at Microfilm Services located at the Administration Building; 428 W. Liberty St.; Wooster, OH 44691.
If the marriage date is known, there may be an article in the local newspaper at the time that may give detailed information about the marriage. Do not overlook this valuable resource.
In recent years, many counties are beginning to put marriage indexes online. Cuyahoga, Stark, Summit, and Wayne Counties are just a few of the local counties of interest that have made an index available online. The years covered vary from county to county. Some recent Wayne County, OH marriages can be found online at the following web address:
Choose “Court Cases Login” to begin your search.
For early marriage records that occurred in Ohio but the county is unknown, many resources are available to assist in the search. The subscription database Ancestry Library Edition does include Ohio marriages from 1800-1900. This is not comprehensive. Many counties are not included. In book form, there are three different books that may be used.
Marriages Recorded in Ohio Courts through 1820: an index Marriages Recorded in Ohio Courts 1 Jan 1821 through 31 Dec 1830: an index Ohio Marriages Extracted from the Old Northwest Genealogical Quarterly Ohio Marriages Recorded in the Ohio Observer, 1827 to 1836?
If you know the county in which the individual was married, and if we collect material on that particular area, there is a good possibility we own an index to marriages for that particular county. Some include Ashland, Coshocton, Holmes, Richland, Stark, Summit, and Tuscarawas Counties.
The USGenWeb project is another alternative to finding marriages in other counties and states. This is a volunteer project that was started many years ago. Most counties and states are represented through this project. However, no county has complete records online. You may visit Rootsweb or US Genweb to access these selective records.