PLEASE NOTE THAT CERTIFICATE NUMBERS ARE OFTEN VERY FAINT, BUT THEY ARE THERE. CERTIFICATE NUMBERS HAVE BEEN STAMPED ON THE RECORD BY THE CLERK OF COURT, AND SHOULD BE IN CONSECUTIVE ORDER. THEY ARE OFTEN PROCEEDED BY THE YEAR, EX. 77-002351. SOME CERTIFICATES DO NOT INCLUDE THE TWO-DIGIT YEAR AND THE HYPHEN. IN THAT CASE JUST TYPE IT AS YOU SEE IT.
Marriage certificates are among the most requested records here at the Maryland State Archives. These records are needed to apply for a driver’s license, passport, Social Security and health benefits, a mortgage, and for other important life events. Women especially need these documents to prove name changes over the course of a life that might include divorce, death of a spouse, or remarriage. Marriage certificates are also very valuable to genealogical research. Maryland certificates are organized first by year and month, then by one of 24 counties or jurisdictions, and then by certificate number. Indexes are vital in the retrieval of marriage certificates, yet some record years were transferred to the Archives without any indexing whatsoever. Many paper indexes were also damaged before they could be digitized, leaving many gaps. The search for a particular certificate may take some time as the person requesting it may not recall the year, month, or country in which the marriage took place, and almost never knows the certificate number. This project will make these 1981 marriage certificates far easier to retrieve, allowing the Archives to quickly get much-needed records to our patrons.