Under Texas law, duplicate copies of marriage certificates are not provided to the Department of State Health Services.
Since this is the case, it’s far easier to pull Texas marriage records online.
When you use the online route, it’s faster and far more efficient than going the traditional route. Before we discuss the easy route, let us look at the traditional way to get these records in the state of Texas.
How to Get Texas Marriage Records Offline
If you attempt to find marriage records in Texas without doing it online, you’ll need the following information:
- Names: The first and last names of those married as well as the maiden name.
- County: The county or city in which the marriage took place.
- Date: The date in which the marriage occurred.
As you can imagine, this information can be difficult to find in some cases. For example, if your mother has passed away and you know she was married in Texas to another man but you don’t know his name or when the marriage occurred, you’ll need to do a lot of research.
The county clerk in each county will hold all of the marriage records pertaining to that county.
But a lot of people underestimate the size of Texas. The state has more counties than any other in the United States, with 254 counties in total.
You would need to visit or contact each of the 254 county clerks to find out if your mother’s marriage records exist. But it gets even more difficult. If her name is Jennifer Smith, for example, you’ll find hits in virtually every county leading to:
- Lots and lots of fees
- More research
In short, I never recommend anyone go to the county clerk because it’s a tedious, mundane way to obtain Texas marriage records.
Plus, waiting in long lines or for documents in undermanned counties (you know, the type where there is just one clerk?), you’ll be waiting an absurd amount of time to get a response back on your request.
Texas Marriage Records Online
Online marriage records are the way to go. I had a dreadful time trying to get a family member’s marriage certificate in Texas – the process was ungodly slow. And I almost gave up until I tried an online search.
But I do want to give you a word of warning:
Avoid Ancestry.Com Marriage Records
Ancestry.com is great for genealogy, and I have gotten lost on the site in the past, searching for ancestors, marriage records and information about my family. The addiction will keep you glued to the screen, and if you’re trying to find new information, it may prove to be impossible.
When you use Ancestry.com, you’ll pay a high fee for the service ($20 – $44.99 depending on the membership), and this is a monthly deal. So, you’ll be paying for an entire month for the service and all you care about is Texas marriage records.
Worse, you’ll be on a recurring billing cycle.
I hate recurring subscriptions for anything I want to use just once or twice because I always forget to cancel the service, and the next thing I know, I am holding an unwanted credit card balance.
Then it gets even worse (trust me, I know from personal experience).
Ancestry is a great service, but they have two issues:
- Prices are inflated to insane levels
- Records lack current data
When trying to locate a record from a year prior, I found myself verifying data over and over, but there was no information available. In short, Ancestry didn’t have the data I needed to find a particular marriage record because the record was too recent.
Whew, after the whole Ancestry debacle, I continued my search online and found a site called TruthFinder.com that was able to produce fast, up-to-date and efficient results (search here). When you go to use online sites dedicated to marriage records, you get results fast.
You don’t need a ton of information either. All you need is a:
- First name
- Last name
And once you’ve done this, the service will pull out all of the matches and in-depth information to display to you so that you can pick the right person. You’ll see the person’s name, age and other information that will allow you to say, “Yeah, that’s the right person.”
With online marriage record searches, you’ll find all of the available records.
Many people don’t realize that even the state records in Texas are out of date. Many of these records only go up to 2011, or up to the past 4 to 5 years. Unless you go straight to the county clerk office, you’re going to have one heck of a time trying to find these records from the state.
When you use online records, you’re often offered even more information. Sometimes this information is provided in your initial fee, and sometimes it’s not included. But I have found that this information can be very useful in some circumstances. Information that may be provided includes:
- Past addresses
- Divorce records
- Criminal records
- Background information
Big deal. Right?
Well, the information comes in handy in a lot of circumstances. First and foremost, this information allows you to match the records to the person that you’re seeking for 100% verification. You’ll also find out their background, if and when they’ve been divorced, and other vital information that paints a clear picture of the person’s life – before, during and after marriage.
Texas marriage records online take the pain out of your search by providing you with the records you need – without needing to become Sherlock Holmes in the process.