This is what marriage certificates looked like in the late 1800s

Published April 10, 2015 by teacher dahl

Have you ever wondered what it was like for your grandparents or great-grandparents to fill out a marriage certificate?
Here are 10 marriage certificates from the late 1800s, which we found through searching the Library of Congress.

MC 1

1840-1850

Here’s a marriage certificate that was popular in the 1840s and 1850s. It features an image of a married couple in the center, with requirements for the husband on the left and requirements of the wife on the right. The requirements, which cite Bible verses, ask for the husband and wife to be loyal to each other.
1857
Here’s a marriage certificate from 1857 that comes from a mayor’s office. Though the writing is tough to read, the focus is on the two hands shaking at the bottom, which highlights the sense of unity the married couple will share together.

MC2

1869
This certificate from 1869 is as simple as it gets. There’s a beautiful photo of a married couple at the top, with spaces for the couple’s witnesses signatures at the bottom. Those definitely seem like the easy days of filling out a form, since it merely asks for the couples to write their names.

MC 31871
Two years later, we get this marriage certificate, which has two vacant circles for the couples’ personal portraits. This one specifically comes from New York City.

MC 4

1875
This marriage certificate includes beautiful flowers on the outskirts, which is a welcomed spice for the otherwise mundane certificate. It comes from 1875 and, much like the 1871 rendition, includes spaces for the marrying couple’s portraits.

MC5

1877

This marriage certificate from 1877 is more about the outside images than the rest of it. There are two married couples on the certificate, outlined by an exceptional bouquet of flowers. It’s a pretty marriage certificate, more than some of the plainer versions from earlier years. This also highlights a trend of marriage certificates including flowery images as the 19th century progressed.

MC 6

1880
And lastly, here’s Theodore Roosevelt’s marriage certificate from 1880 . That’s right. Teddy Roosevelt’s marriage certificate to Alice Lee. This certificate includes a space that asks which number marriage this is for the bride and groom respectively.

By : Herb Scribner national desaretnews.com

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