Recording a Marriage


You may have a Marriage Certificate or a Marriage Register Entry from a Church, Chapel, Synagogue or other religious venue, and want to understand how you record information from that Source. This article describes how you do that.

A companion article discusses some of the issues associated with Recording a Civil Partnership.

Capturing Certificate Details

Certificate details for the couple should be captured in a Family Marriage Event with a Source Citation.

Usually a Method 1 or ‘source splitters’ Source record will be created with a meaningful Title, a transcript in the Text From Source, and an image linked via the Media tab. Alternatively, a Method 2 or ‘source lumpers’ Source Citation will have one Source record for all Marriage Records, and each Citation will provide specific details including Media.

Automatic Source Citations could be enabled, and associated Individuals such as parents and witnesses, created or updated with Residence and Occupation facts.

A note on ages: Sometimes the Age is given as Full that is not allowed in a GEDCOM Age field, so enter > 21 yrs, which is what it means (or > whatever the relevant age of consent is at the time of the marriage). Sometimes Minor or Underage is given, and < 21 yrs can be entered.

Recording Ceremony Witnesses

In this context, Witnesses are not just the Marriage Witnesses named on the Certificate, but may also be the minister, bridesmaids, best man, etc.

From the perspective of the Witness Individual, those roles are not currently included in the Individual Records Window, nor Query or Diagram or Report, except for Narrative Reports.

Witnesses employ a non-standard GEDCOM structure not recognised by most other products, although this is partly mitigated by the Export Gedcom File plugin that creates synthetic facts for the Witness roles.

To list any roles in a marriage, right-click the Marriage Event and choose Witnesses, then use the Go To button and Locate Event for Witness to show their Property Box.

Using Ancestral Sources

Once you understand the data recording process including how to create and cite Source Records, all the above steps can be performed using Ancestral Sources in a convenient and reliable way.

Ancestral Sources has options for recording the ƒh V6 Fact Witnesses but see Witness Facts for further advice.

Other Family Events

Other standard GEDCOM Family events related to marriage are Engagement, Divorce Filed, Divorce, Annulment, and Marriage Banns/Contract/Licence/Settlement.

Annulment effectively means the couple were Never Married and applying that Status makes the marriage lines dotted in Diagrams.

Related Plugins

Last update: 25 Apr 2021