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What Does An English Marriage Certificate Look Like And What Information Does It Have?

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Monica Stott Profile
Monica Stott answered
An English marriage certificate is usually printed on a green or red paper and intricate design is used for security purposes to prevent any forgery attempts. The paper used to produce it is slightly longer and narrower than a normal A4 sized paper. All certificates from July 1837 when civil registration was initiated have more or less the same type of information with the parish marriage register.

However, it was the discretion of the parish priest to enter information to the birth certificates that were produced before that period. As time progressed, these priests began to include more personal information of the groom and bride as well as any other details that would be considered crucial to a marriage. Among the information it contains is the district, sub-district and the church where the marriage was solemnised and any other relevant location.

There are also details of the groom and bride that may include their names and ages. For the older certificates, they just have words "of age” to mean that the couple is over 21 years while for the modern ones they indicate the exact age of the bride and groom, their occupation and marital status before they got married to determine if they were divorced. From the certificate, you will also get details on whether a marriage was solemnised after the reading of banns or by licence and this makes the intention of the two to get married publicly known. It also gives people with objections to the marriage being solemnised to bring the information to the attention of the priest. The certificates have signatures of the couple and witnesses accompanying them and in case you are doing a family history then the names and occupations of the couple as well as the names of their parents are the most important piece of information in an English marriage certificate.
Kath Senior Profile
Kath Senior answered
A birth certificate is printed on green paper, with an intricate design to prevent forgery. The paper is slightly longer and slightly narrower than an A4 piece of paper.

A marriage certificate dating from any time since July 1 1837, when civil registration began, contains exactly the same information as the parish register entry for a marriage. The certificate shows the district, subdistrict and church where the marriage took place, or the registry office or other location. It also gives the names of the bride and the groom, and their ages.

Older certificates often say 'of age' meaning that the bride or groom had reached the age of 21, but more modern certificates just give the exact age. There is a column to record the place of residence of the groom and the bride, their occupations and whether they were single or had been married before (and either widowed or divorced).

The most useful information on a marriage certificate for someone doing family history is the names and occupations of the bride and groom's fathers.

The certificate also says whether the marriage took place after the reading of banns or by licence and has the signatures or marks of the bride and groom and at least two witnesses to the marriage.

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