Search California Marriage Records
Searching for marriage records in the state of California
Personal documents such as marriage records, along with other vital identification papers such as birth and death certificates, are all maintained by your local County Clerk or Registrar Recorder in the state of California as they are throughout the US. There might also be other more localized organizations and bodies within California that deal with these kinds of documents, but the most comprehensive collection of marriage, birth and death records will be found in one of these two offices. When you get married, it is the County Clerk or Registrar Recorder that issues both the marriage license and the marriage certificate, so in some cases it might even be possible to search for weddings in the state of California that didn’t quite go ahead! All these documents are kept on file forever, with many having already been transferred to a local computer database to make searching for records much easier for both staff and the general public. Sometimes, particular details on these marriage records are hidden from the public, unless you have a good reason for being able to see it, such as being a close relative or legal representative of one of the two people named on the marriage certificate. These protections often only last for a set period of time, and this can vary between the birth, death and marriage certificates. If you are confused about what documents and what information you will be able to have access to when searching for marriage records in the state of California then the best people to ask are the staff at the County Clerk’s or Registrar Recorder’s office.
If you are searching on older records, for genealogy purposes for example, you are unlikely to come up against any restrictions on private information. However, you might face another problem as there is no guarantee that all of the historical marriage records in the state of California have been transferred to computer files, meaning that the only way to find them is to search through the documents themselves. Most of these are indexed, meaning that as long as you have a rough idea of when and where the marriage might have happened, it should be easy to find with the assistance of the County Clerk or Registrar Recorder staff. If you live outside of California and want to research ancestors who lived there, the staff at these offices may accept long-distance requests to carry out searches of family documents on your behalf. Of course, this might take some time and you would be expected to pay a standard fee.
Also charging a fee, but providing much quicker results, are the online sites that either provide search facilities just for the state of California’s records or for marriage records nationwide. This can be helpful if you are not completely sure that the person whose name you are searching for was married in California or elsewhere. Perhaps you are looking into the background of a new partner to check their relationship history and don’t know for sure where they have lived before; a national search, as well as a check of California’s marriage records, would be very useful. Often these commercial sites only charge you the full fee if you want to see all the available information or if you get any hits on your search criteria. If you only want to see a list of the marriage records that match the names you have entered, or no marriage records are found, then often you don’t have to pay a dime.
Of course, most people are eager to announce marriages in the local press and local newspapers from California can be a useful tool in searching for marriage details, whether historic or recent. A lot of newspapers, even the smallest local publication, have their own websites with search tools, which makes it easy to conduct a quick and often free search right from home. Older records might only be kept on file at the newspaper office or at libraries in California, but again these will often be indexed by date helping you to narrow down your search and find the marriage record you are searching for.