The Ga Archives published a small booklet on 'Documenting Marriages in GA,' this is a summary of that book:
Marriage records from most GA counties are available on microfilm at this Department through 1900. Additionally, for a few counties, some original marriage records are also included in our collection. Generally, information concerning post-1900 marriages is available from the Probate Judge's office of the individual counties. Marriage records can be requested by mail. Please include the county, names of individuals and approx. date (within 10 years). Do not specify a type of marriage record from the Ordinary's office (i.e. bond, license, certificate). We shall search the index to the available type(s) of marriage documents for that county, during that time periods, and inform you of our findings.
Marriage licenses are on record roughly from the 1790's to present. In 1805, GA law required that the judge, justice, or minister who married a couple record on the license that the marriage was performed and the date. The interpretation of the law varied from county to county. The earliest most counties have records begins in 1805-1806. Information included would be the name of each person, date of license and the name of the official granting the license.
A marriage certificate is signed by a minister, justice, or judge certifying that he married a particular couple on a particular date. It provides the same information as the license. Most certificates start in 1806.
The intent of a marriage bond is to protect the Register of Probates from liability of authorizing an unlawful marriage. In a bond, the groom binds himself to the court, attesting that there should be no lawful impediment to the marriage. Marriage bonds were recorded from the Colonial Period thru about 1840's. However, few of these early bonds exist.
PARENTAL CONSENT FORM
Various laws refer to persons of "lawful age" being entitled to marry, without specifically stating that age. In 1846, Howell Cobb "collects" that persons must be age 21 to marry-or with consent of parent, males - age 14; females age 12. By 1863 the need for parental consent seems to apply to females only under the age of 18 years. These consents may cite the minor's name, age, date, name of county and of Ordinary, and parent's signature.
In 1924 GA law called for a prospective bride and groom to apply for a marriage license.
STATE BOARD OF HEALTH
In 1875 the State Board of Health was created and charged with registering vital statistics, including marriages. These records include the names of the bride and groom, their ages, color, place of birth, their parents' names, by whom married and date of marriage. This is the only marriage records which records more than the name of the bride, groom, date and name of official. There are very few records left and they exist only for 1875-1876
One may not expect to find a marriage notice for most pre-1900 GA marriages. Those that do exist are found mostly in newspapers from large towns.
A marriage bann is a public notice stating that a man and a woman have plans to marry on a certain date. State laws, dating from 1799 thru 1863refer to the publication of marriage banns in a church for at least three weeks before the marriage. One can expect to find few, if any, references to marriagebanns, either in County Marriage Books, or Church Minute Books.
You can call the GA Dept. of Archives and History 404-656-2350. They will have a recorded message that will give you the fees for research, etc.I hope this has helped the numerous people who have asked for marriage lookups. The CD is not the best way to go, but certainly helps some of us. I do know that the Archives have marriage/divorce fiche.
Ms. Adrian Hopkins, P.O. Box 1463, Tucker, Georgia 30085-1463
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