Thursday, October 10, 2013

Using the "Ohio County Marriages, 1789-1994" Collection on FamilySearch

I have fallen behind on my "mining" of online record collections available on and FamilySearch.  I try to keep up with recently added or updated collections that will add significant content to my One Name Study surnames of Seaver, Carringer, Auble, Buck, Dill, and Vaux.

I checked the FamilySearch Record Collections list today, and noted that the "Ohio County Marriages, 1789-1994" collection was added or updated (I can't tell which!) on 1 October 2013.  The collection description notes that this collection is currently only 79% complete.

I decided to search the collection for Seaver folks, and add content to my database based on the information found.

1)  Here are the results of my exact search for "Seaver" in this database:

There are 193 matches for "Seaver" in this collection.

2)  Here is the record summary for one of them that is down the list a bit:

The record summary provides a lot of indexed information for this particular record.  Not all records in this collection have as much information.  In the "Sources" box on the right side of the screen, I can attach this record summary (not the record image) to a person in the FamilySearch Family Tree, save it to My Source Box in the Family Tree, view the record, or save the image to my computer.  I can also search all of the FamilySearch collections for this person.

3)  I clicked on the "View Image" link and saw the Marriage Record:

In 1918, when Bertram Hill Seaver married Bessie Cahill in Hamilton County, Ohio, the record includes a Marriage License application and the Marriage License Return that lists the actual marriage date.  This particular record provided information on:

*  Full names of the bride and groom (I didn't have the bride in my database, and didn't know Bertram's middle name)
*  Birth dates of the bride and groom (I knew Bertram's, but not Bessie's)
*  Residence of the bride and groom (I didn't know these)
*  Birthplace of the bride and groom (I didn't know these)
*  Occupation of the bride and groom (I didn't know these)
*  Parents names of the bridge and groom (I needed the bride's parents names)
*  Signatures of the bride and groom
*  Marriage date and county

That is a lot of very useful information, and I did not have some of it in my database for this particular couple.  This can be considered an original source record.  Although the birth date, birthplace, and parents names are secondary information, they are still clues that can be followed up on to seek out primary information.  The residence, occupation and marriage date and county are primary information.

4)  I was curious - how many entries are there for 1789, the first year that records are available?  The answer is 22 entries (some are duplicates):

By 1800, there are 270 entries for that year.  In 1850, there are 61,178 entries.  In 1900, there are 80,039 entries.  In 1950, there are 208,589 entries.  There are currently 4,536,489 entries in this collection.

4)  I need to get to work here!!

Do you have Ohio ancestors or relatives that may be in this record collection?  Have you found all of their marriage records during this 205 year time period?  If not, go for it!

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver


Nancy said...

It's interesting that marriages were recorded for Ohio counties in 1789 because Ohio wasn't a state until 1803. Until then that it was part of the Northwest Territory. I suppose marriages in that wild country happened and had to be recorded somewhere.

T said...

You might find something here, too.

bgwiehle said...

1. This database has been available since at least Apr 2011 [as "Ohio, County Marriages, 1790-1950"]. It is frequently updated with additional index entries and images.
2. Because of the way FamilySearch has set up the records, each person indexed will have their own page. Depending on the entry and the indexer, there may be pages generated for six persons - bride, groom, and each of the parents.
3. Generally there is only 1 image per record for this database, but one should always check the previous and subsequent images, just in case. Also, some of the early records are organized in alphabetical Bride's and Groom's lists, so there are duplicate entries for each of those marriages.
4. There are still gaps in the coverage. Follow the "Browse through 2,648,655 images" link (on the database search page) to access the waypoints, which have descriptive titles (eg. Crawford County, Marriage records 1850-1854 vol 4). See for alternative databases and websites.

Amy Johnson Crow said...

There were counties in the Northwest Territory in present-day Ohio before Ohio became a state. Washington was formed in 1788, Hamilton in 1790, Adams and Jefferson in 1797, etc. One of the requirements of the Northwest Ordinance was the keeping of marriage records from the time a county was created. Hence, you will have marriage records in counties before that state achieved statehood.

Bobbie said...

I am currently working with this database and trying to determine if a marriage I expect to find is not found on a search because it is not in the records of a specific county or part of the 21% not yet indexed.

Does anyone know if the waypoints include only images that are indexed? In other words, if I find a volume in the browse listing, can I assume that volume is up and indexed, or should I check it anyways. (I know, I know.... always check the original...but I am asking a system question.)