Washington County Utah Early Marriage Index

Female Surname Index: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Male Surname Index: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Washington County, Utah - Family Research Series, No. 5 & 6
EARLY MARRIAGES (1862 -1919)

by: Wesley W. Craig, Ph.D.

Contained in this publication are citations of over 2,000 marriages performed in Washington County during the period 1862 - 1919. Both male and female surname indexes are provided. Information includes: names, date married, age at time of marriage, home residences of both bride and groom, town in which married, and source of information.


Washington County was established as a county in territorial Utah on March 3, 1852. The only community in the county at the time was located at Harmony, in the northern part of the county. Prior to that period the Paiute Indians were the only occupants of the area, though various explorations by whites had penetrated the region.

Between 1852 and 1862 other small settlements were established by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) including: Santa Clara, Tonaquint, Pinto, Pine Valley, Washington, Gunlock, Virgin City, Toquerville, Heberville, Grafton, Harrisburg, Adventure (Rockville), Duncan's Retreat and Mountain Dell.

In late 1861 and into early 1862 a major colonizing effort was initiated by Brigham Young which resulted in 309 heads of families being "called" from Northern Utah to settle at what became St. George, which also became the county seat for the county.

Sources of Marriage Information: 1862 - 1888

The earliest record of a marriage during this early period does not surface until 1862. During the first ten years of settlement (1852-1862) we have not been able to locate a recorded marriage. Perhaps private records will help to fill this void as they are uncovered.

The first law (8 February 1851) passed by the Legislature of the State of Deseret (Utah) required that marriages be registered. It required that every duly organized branch and ward of the L.D.S. Church keep a record of marriages performed within its jurisdiction. Lyman Platt notes that "This requirement was seldom met..."1. For the period 1847-1906 only 1,490 marriages were recorded in the branches and wards of the L.D.S. Church in Utah, less than 5% of the estimated 30,000 marriages that probably took place during this period.2 Among the factors which resulted in this paucity of recorded information was the issue of polygyny among the Mormons and the stance of the Federal government against its practice.

In the early 1980's a study was carried out by Lyman Platt, Ph.D. and associates, under the auspices of the Utah Genealogical Society, which attempted to identify all early territorial marriages that could be obtained from known written sources entitled, Territorial Vital Records....3. Included in this data were marriages mentioned in early L.D.S. Ward/Branch histories of Washington County. This has provided the largest amount of marriage information for the early period of this index.

Another source of early marriage data has been the L.D.S. Genealogical Surveys of Utah (34 vols.) which was undertaken in the 1930's by the Utah Genealogical Society. Data was compiled from pioneer biographies and interviews with surviving family members.4

Some marriage information was secured from The St. George Temple Signature Book5. This information came from couples going to the temple for the first time to have their prior civil marriage solemnized (sealed). At that time the couple recorded their original marriage date and place in the Signature Book of that temple. Though not a primary source, it is often the only source available.

Marriage records after 1887 -

In 1887 the Edmunds-Tucker Act of Congress was passed which required that any marriage performed after that date needed to "be certified by a certificate stating the fact and nature of such ceremony."and be recorded in the county or district court having probate jurisdiction in that county in which the marriage was to take place.

In 1887 marriage records began to be kept by Washington County authorities and are located in the County Clerk Office in St. George. For the period 1887-1888 records of marriages were kept in several small journal books. Beginning in 1887 large marriage books were initiated which have been numbered by letters: "A" for the period 1888 -1909; and (B) for the period 1909 -1926. Subsequent books "C" - "L" continue the records up to 1969. An on-going process of computerizing these marriage records has been accomplished by the County Clerk staff for the period from the present back to 1969. Work currently in progress will eventually result in computerized information from records back to 1919 being accessible in the Clerk's Office.

Marriage Licenses for the period starting March 1919 to the present were given consecutive numbers and extend from number 1 - 27,800 (1919 - 1998). This was a determining factor as to how far to extend this volume of marriages in the county. Thus, this volume will provide the County Clerk with indexed information for the earlier period (1887 - 1919) for which they did not have comprehensive indexing of their records. Also, this volume will provide the Clerk's office with earlier marriage data (1862 - 1887) for which they have had no information.

In addition to the Marriage Licenses the county also has kept copies of Marriage Applications with information which includes names of parents and, in some instances, places of the parents birth. The applications have been legally determined to be private information and are not available to the public, nor were they made available for this publication.

Upon petition, the writer was given access to the public portions of the marriage records (the books) by the County Recorder. The fact that the original Marriage Licenses are filed with the Marriage Applications precluded access to the copies of the original License manuscripts.6

It should be noted that the information in the Marriage License Books had been copied, by hand, from the original completed licenses by different clerks, and so, in themselves, do not constitute the original source marriage documents. These books provided the sources from which the author was allowed to extract marriage information for this publication.Earlier micro-films of these Book records for the period 1887 to 1969 are available through the Salt Lake Family History Library.7 Even with the limitations mentioned, it is hoped that this volume will prove useful to researchers having an interest in the early history of Washington County and its people.


The author extends his appreciation to Lyman D. Platt for making available his invaluable information on the early period of Washington County marriages and also for his very helpful orientation and encouragement during the course of this project.

Washington County Clerk Calvin Robins and his staff have been particularly helpful, cordial and supportive of this effort, allowing access to the Marriage Books as well as space in their offices in which to carry out the extraction of the marriage information.

My thanks also, to the early help of Francis Engle who assisted in the early extraction process and subsequent computer inputting.

Copies of the marriage information acquired during this research will be provided to the Washington County Clerk's Office, to the St. George, Enterprise and Hurricane Family History Centers, and to the Salt Lake Family History Library. In addition the information will become available, at no cost, on the USGENWEB site for Washington County, Utah, located at: http://www.lofthouse.com/USA/Utah/washington/index.html

This publication is the fourth in a series devoted to the compilation of basic genealogical data for Washington County. Earlier index volumes have focused on cemeteries, burials and pioneers and are available on the above noted USGENWEB site for Washington County and the Family History Centers in Washington County.


Key to "Sources" column in both indexes:

A-232 = Book A, page 232 (in Recorders Office);

1887-201 = Year 1887 Book, p. 201;

LDS Surv-1 = LDS Genealogical Surveys of Utah vol. 1.;

GS 213,897 = Utah Genealogical Society Microfilm, number 213,897;

MS1029 = S.L. Family History Library, Utah County & Endowment House Marriages

LDS 725,732 = S.L. Family History Library, Microfilm 725,732

SRJPD = Silver Reef Justice of the Peace Docket

1 Lyman D. Platt, "The History of Marriage in Utah: 1847-1905", Utah Genealogical Journal, Vol. 12, No. 1, Spring 1983, p.29-30.
2 Platt, Ibid., p. 33
3 Lyman D. Platt, Territorial Vital Records: Births, Divorces, Guardianship, Marriages, Naturalization and Wills (1800's - 1906). (Published as a CD in 1994 by Genealogical CD Publishers).
4 Salt Lake Family History Library under the call number: 289.3-G286g
5 Utah Genealogical Society Microfilm 874,247.
6 It is reported that in some cases the original marriage licenses cannot be located. For instance, there is a gap between January 1927 - January 1933.
7 Utah Genealogical Society Microfilms - #04844821 (1877-1909); #0484822 (1909-1936); #0484823 (1936-1952)
Washington County, Utah Marriages: 1862 - 1919

These indexes are copyrighted and are offered for personal use and research only. 
They are not to be reprinted or used for commercial purposes without written permission.

Copyright 1998 by Wesley W. Craig

Male Surname Index: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Female Surname Index: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


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