There are various reasons why you might need to search for marriage records. For example, many people researching their ancestry often need to search for such records. Maybe you just started dating someone and you want to know if he or she has been married before. No matter the reason, there are a number of ways to get your hands on copies of someone's marriage records.
The next thing you may be wondering is if you can obtain them for free. The answer to this is both yes and no. If you are seeking genealogical records, then it is sometimes possible to find marriage records free of charge. A good first place to start is the local history room of your library or courthouse. There are often archives there that you can search through for free. Then once you find what you are looking for, you can request a copy of the document. These are sometimes only available for certain time periods or for deceased individuals, but other times are available more widespread.
There are also ways to get free marriage records on the Internet. Sites like Ancestry and RootsWeb allow you to search for marital information. It is important to understand that the records found at such sites are going to be genealogical and ancestral. They likely will not do you any good if you are looking for a copy of a modern marital document or certificate. Marriage licenses and certificates are considered vital records. Like all vital records, it is usually necessary to submit a completed application and small fee to receive a copy of the record.
How much a marriage record will cost you depends on your state of residence. For example, in California, it costs $13 to get a copy of a marriage record. In Florida, it only costs $5. In Oregon, the cost of a marriage record varies according to county. As you can see, the cost of such records is different from state to state. Your best bet when seeking a recent marriage record is to contact your state Department of Vital Records for information on how to obtain the document or documents you need. If you cannot locate the Department of Vital Records, you can start with your county or municipal government office. They can refer you to the appropriate office for obtaining vital records such as birth and marriage certificates.
If you do not wish to contact a state vital records department, you can try to obtain the assistance of a private detective or an online records membership where you can gain access to public record databases. These two choices are not going to be free, but may be more convenient than other options.
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