This collection has been created from transcripts provided by FamilySearch, Dorset Family History Society, and Somerset and Dorset Family History Society. The transcripts have been created from information found in the original parish records. The information contained in the transcripts can vary but most will include the following details:
Spouse’s parish and occupation
Married by banns or by licence
Names of witnesses
There are over 675,000 records in this collection taken from the marriage registers of 384 churches, chapels and Quaker Meetings. These transcriptions are due to the hard work of the volunteers of the Dorset Family History Society, Dorset and Somerset Family History Society and FamilySearch.
Before the introduction of civil registration of births, marriages and deaths in 1837 all such events were recorded in the local parish. Parish records generally begin from 1538 after the Church of England mandated the keeping of parish registers in 1537. Baptisms, marriages and burials were all recorded in a single volume until 1774, when the law changed to require a separate marriage register and another one for banns (or proclamations of an intent to marry). Standardized forms for these registers appeared in 1812.
Other religious denominations, with the exception of the Quakers and Jews, often registered these events in their local Church of England parish even after the Toleration Act of 1689. Although, between 1754 and 1837, it was illegal to marry anywhere other than a Church of England parish.
Dorset is a rural county in the south west of England, bordering the English Channel. On the west, it borders Devon. Somerset is to the north west, Wiltshire to the north east and Hampshire to the east.