Transcribing Marriage Records

Marriage records are valuable pieces of information to find in terms of genealogical search. It allows you to make a bridge into an entirely different branch of your family tree, if you hadn’t already. However, it is vital that you are able to depict them otherwise they will be of no help to you.

Some of the earlier registers on record contained simple statements such as ‘John Smith married Alice Jones’ and that would be it. Or sometimes, if they were from a different parish, it would be labelled as ‘John Smith p. Ruardean and Alice Jones’. This can be a useful bit of information as it can point you in the right direction for further research. Transcribing all of these pieces of information into one place, i.e a database, can be easier for you to access all of the marriage records you come across.

What to transcribe into your database?

Transcribing the important data is vital for when you come back to your marriage database. If you write down the irrelevant information, you may find yourself stuck at a later date. If you note the following information, you will know exactly where marriages fit into your timeline and where they sit in your family tree.

It can be a hassle as you have to enter the parish on every line of your database, however if you practice writing in abbreviations then you can work through it all much faster. If you need to elongate each of the parishes at a later date, make a key of each of the abbreviations and you can change them when you need too.

The register entry number
These were pre-printed in later style registers and not so much in early registers. If you are attempting to transcribe an earlier marriage record, then just leave this field blank as it isn’t an essential. But if you can find it, all the better.

The recommended format we suggest you use is: dd month yyyy
This format is unambiguous as it makes you type out the month. It does contradict the American format of placing the month first, however there is no doubt in this format. With technology trying to anticipate what we want to type, it may sometimes confuse the dates. To combat this, type it in as a simple text so that you get the correct date.

Bride/Groom First name
This is simply the Christian names of the couple. Occasionally when entering data, there may be someone with multiple names. There is no problem with noting down all of the names, however it interferes with the final printed transcript, (if you are to print it off, if you aren’t going to print it off then it is not much of a problem)

Bride/Groom Surname
Generally speaking, most of the registers only show the father’s surname. Get into good practice of typing out the real surname in all capitals so there isn’t any confusion at a later date of which is a Christian name and which is a surname.

Bride/Groom Age
Earlier records don’t contain a specific age, but rather ‘full’ or ‘minor’ (if they are under 21 years of age) in which case you can enter ‘full’ or ‘minor’. Only in the later records do ages start getting specific. Type out the age rather than inputting the numbers for it.

In this column, you can jot down any extra information that you think could be useful to you at the time or at a later date. This can vary from length of marriage to other Christian names that you didn’t want to enter into the original column. A tip for making notes would be to keep them as short as possible, but as long as you understand them then it doesn’t matter too much about the format of it all.

Still need Help with Transcribing?

If you are still in need of help, there is no reason to worry. You can sign up to a free to use forum at You can ask thousands of people at one time any question you may have on transcribing marriage records, or any other questions for that matter.