Discover your ancestors who got married in England and Wales between 1837 and 2005. The records may reveal when and where your relatives got married, as well as details that will help you when you are ordering marriage certificates.
Each record comprises a transcript of the original register. The amount of information listed varies, but the records usually include a combination of the following information about your ancestor:
Spouse’s first name(s)
Spouse’s last name
Many of the records contain images of the marriage register.
The record set comprises almost 96 million records from 53 counties in England and Wales.
MarriageFinder is a search facility which enables you to find a marriage by searching just once, not twice. MarriageFinder will match up your ancestors’ records, providing you with one definite marriage match, or a list of possible matches.
When you receive a definite spouse match, we will also provide you with the volume number and page number for both spouses’ records. These are essential when ordering marriage certificates.
Civil registration of births, marriages and deaths began in July 1837. At that time, England & Wales was subdivided into administrative areas known as registration districts. Within each district, a registrar recorded births, marriages and deaths.
Four times a year, in March, June, September, and December, all the registers for England & Wales were collated into a single countrywide index, arranged alphabetically by surname. Each quarter covers the month itself and the two preceding months.
Note that, for the researcher, marriages, unlike births, have the advantage of being registered immediately at the time of the event.
Please note that our marriage records do not extend as far as the present day. Marriages are delayed in reaching the central register, as (unlike births and deaths) the information relating to marriages has to be collated from churches and other religious establishments as well as district register offices. Marriages traditionally took place in the parish of the bride, which may or may not be located in the same registration district as the parish of the groom.
If you can’t find your ancestors in these records, it’s possible they eloped or were in common law relationships.
Marriage certificates are very useful documents, as they include a wealth of detail about the bride and groom, as well as their respective fathers and occasionally other relatives who were witnesses.
Inaccuracies are often recorded in marriage registers - sometimes by accident and sometimes by design. The age field must be regarded with caution - note that what is recorded is declared age rather than proven age. The bride and/or groom often modify their respective ages, possibly to reduce a disparity in age, where one party is significantly younger than the other.
Some early certificates unhelpfully state merely that the bride and/or groom were "of full age", which indicates that they were over the age of majority, 21 years of age at that time, and able to marry without their parents’ consent.
Also, previous marriages might be concealed from partners, even when the marriage has been terminated by death or legally dissolved. Bigamy is not so very uncommon that you can rule out the possibility of finding it on your own family tree. In any event, be prepared to treat with caution all declarations of marital status found on marriage certificates.
Once you've discovered when and where your ancestor was born, married or died by using Findmypast's birth, marriage and death records, you can order a certified copy of their birth, marriage or death certificate from the General Register Office (GRO). This service is available both to UK and non-UK residents and covers births, marriages and deaths registered in England and Wales, as well as certain registrations overseas.
English and Welsh birth, marriage and death certificates are considered public records, so anyone can order a copy of them. If you are enquiring about a more recent birth or death certificate (recorded within the last 50 years), the GRO will require more detailed information from you than for older certificates.
The easiest way to order a certificate is online through the GOV.UK website: www.gov.uk
The certificate ordering service is not connected to Findmypast. If you have any queries regarding certificates, please contact the GRO directly by email, telephone or post using the details below. You can also order certificates from the GRO by contacting them in this way.
Telephone: +44 (0)300 123 1837
Address: Certificate Services Section
General Register Office
PO Box 2