Original records of marriages in Lincoln County, Missouri from the earliest times (1819) to the present reside at the County Court House in Troy in the office of the Recorder of Deeds. Be advised that the earliest records only contain the marriage date and names of the bride and groom and of the officiant; there is no information about parents or other relatives. According to the FHL catalog listing of the microfilm reels, it appears that a requirement to obtain a marriage license began in 1882, and those are recorded separately from the marriage records, at least through 1931 (available as FHL film 973692, item 3). The marriage license record MAY contain additional personal information.
Marriages in Lincoln County, Missouri are available to researchers in various collections of indexes and lists. Traditional sources are various printed and other hardcopy publications and microform media as well as certain commercial online facilities that require a paid subscription. However, index listings of marriages in Lincoln County are available FREE online to researchers in four collections. The traditional sources have roughly corresponding, but possibly varying, data. The first two free collections are databases on this website; the third and fourth are available through external links.
Each free online collection is described in the following sections. A Lincoln County marriage index is also available at at least one fee-based service. However, it is apparently less complete and probably less accurate than the free indexes. See notes at end.
Some printed and other hardcopy resources are listed at: Lincoln County USGenWeb site Bibliography, "Marriage Records" section. However, these printed listings were produced to meet the needs of their time, long before the internet became widespread with searchable online databases, and are limited in scope. Some of them are listed at the end of this page; see Hard Copy Sources.
Microfilm copies of the actual marriage records in the Recorder's office
available for loan from the
LDS Family History Library (FHL)
This includes an index 1860-1907, the marriage records 1825-1918 and
marriage licenses 1882-1931.
The LDS catalog citation reads:
Marriage Records, 1825-1931; Marriage Index, 1860-1907.
Lincoln County Circuit Clerk.
Original records at the Lincoln County Courthouse in Troy, MO.
The film reels and accompanying numbers are:
Family History Library US/CAN Film (all)
Marriage Index, vol. 1-5 1860-1907 0973688 Marriage records, vol. 1-3 1825-1879 0973688 Marriage records, vol. 4-6 1879-1893 0973689 Marriage records, vol. 7-9 1893-1909 0973690 Marriage records, vol. 10-11 1909-1918 0973691 Marriage Licenses 1882-1931 0973692, items 1-2 Marriage records (colored) 1865-1901 0973692, item 3A separate, additional reel:
Black Marriage records 1865-1881 1547662, item 4Last check of FHL catalog October 2013 shows the above list to be current. Apparently no underlying marriage records from 1919 to 1931 have been filmed. I do not know how the "Black Marriage records 1865-1881 1547662, item 4" differs from "Marriage records (colored) 1865-1901 0973692, item 3." The latter actually only covers 1865-1881. Presumably the former is a newer filming, as they occasionally made repeat filmings of the same set of records to get better quality images.
Contact and other information about the Lincoln County Recorder's offices is at Researching at the Courthouse .
One such circuit rider was Rev. Wesley Browning, a Methodist Episcopal preacher, who apparently performed marriages in the area mid 1860's but dropped off his records for recording in St. Louis. (Included in IGI batch M515697.)
Other reasons: the preacher or JP simply forgot to submit the return or the return was lost.
Handwriting of the original records was often extremely difficult to decipher, which I found out first hand from my own attempt at transcribing the Lincoln County records. Consequently, the computerized databases do contain discrepancies, either through misinterpretation or typos. In my brief reviews, I have found a few. Consequently, the best approach is to check all applicable databases and try various approaches in searching. But as always, only the original record is considered the authoritative source.
I am not local to Lincoln County and do not have access to original records at the court house or the FHL microfilms except the one I discuss, so am unable to resolve discrepancies.
The Marriage Licenses 1882-1931 series (FHL Film 0973692, items 1-2) consists of two books. Both books are register-style listings of participants' names and dates and do NOT include any other information. One single line for each license record. The microfilm does NOT show any application forms. I do not know if an application form was filled out, what information that form may have included and if forms were saved and filed. The first book list covers the licenses issued from 25 May 1882 through 15 March 1903 and is 119 pages. It lists groom, bride and date the license was issued. The list in the second book covers the licenses issued from 21 March 1903 through 21 January 1931 and is 114 pages. It lists groom, bride, date the license was issued, the date of the marriage return (a few just say "returned" or are blank) and the name of the officiant. Colored are noted "(col.)" by the respective names as they were no longer listed in a separate book. The handwriting in these books is fairly good and readable.
I subsequently discovered that the
Dunard transcription did not include the so-called
kept in separate book in the Recorder's office
beginning 27 July 1865 and going through
This book was microfilmed by the Family History Library and
is available on microfilm:
Marriage records (colored) 1865-1901 0973692, item 3 A separate, additional reel:
Black Marriage records 1865-1881 1547662, item 4. The FHL library catalog says the index of the first runs from 1865 to 1901; however, the last actual record is 1881. I did not see anything after that year and have no idea how they came up with 1901. The 1881 end coincides with beginning of the marriage license series in 1882, probably not a coincidence. I do not know how the two films differ, having only seen the older one. They occasionally made repeat filmings of the same set of records to get better quality images.
I borrowed a copy of the FHL film, transcribed the marriages and added the records to the database. There were 331. In the Dunard database section, the Volume field shows the page number and sequence number within the page. It is shown prefixed with code 'CO'. Page 1 was blank for no apparent reason, so that number does not appear.
There are two parts to the Colored series: An index book and the record book containing the marriage recordings. The record book was a handwritten copy done by the county recorder clerk of a marriage record submitted by the officiant, either a minister or justice of the peace. Each marriage record was re-written in full by the clerk. There were three to five marriage records per page.
The index book was an attempt at an alphabetical list by surname and reference to the page numbers of the records book to ease location. One part of the index was for grooms. The other part was for brides. I found instances were grooms were missed in the index and the brides part was substantially incomplete, so the index was only usable for clarifying some handwriting issues. As described later, there are further limitations and issues with the index and it is not reliable.
Viewing the actual underlying records is always more revealing and informative than just looking at a computerized index. The following are a few observations and comments.
The earliest marriages in Lincoln County took place between 1819 and 1825 and are listed in the Dunard transcription with a Book code of "BC". These specific marriages were apparently copied into his database from a transcription of marriages written in the 1990's from those recorded in the Lincoln County Recorder of Deeds, Book C. That explains the "BC" book code. The adjoining number is the page. Apparently in these very early days, marriages were recorded in the same book as all other county business such as real estate transfers. In 1825, somebody (thankfully) made the decision to record marriages in a separate ledger book. Thus began the first marriage book starting with Book code number "01". In certain descriptions of these records, the term "volume" may be used. It's the same as "book number" (I think).
Unlike the marriages beginning with Book code "01", those with code "BC" are not included in the International Genealogical Index (IGI). That is likely because those marriages were mixed in with other Recorder's transactions, they were not noticed by the initial transcribers and the list is a third-party transcription from the 1990's. I have been advised by the original transcriber in October 2012, that one early marriage may have been missed in the transcription.
The sequence indicated by the page numbers generally corresponds to the marriage date. However, in some cases, the sequence of dates does not precisely parallel with the page numbers. In these early days, marriages were often recorded long after they took place. Travel was difficult, knowledge of legal requirements haphazard and other priorities, like survival, took precedence.
The "BC" code marriages from the Dunard transcription are:
BC-012 WRIGHT MORGAN 07-21-1819 DUNCAN FRANCES BC-346 MURDOCK JAMES 09-05-1819 LYNN ANN BC-073 CALLAWAY JAMES 01-18-1820 LEWIS URSULA BC-181 THOMAS DAVID C. 08-16-1821 ALLEN MATILDA BC-188 HAYES HENRY 10-28-1821 COTTLE SOPHRONIA BC-343 GIBSON JOSEPH 01-15-1824 COPHER MATILDA BC-360 BEAN JAMES 07-27-1824 LEWIS ELIZABETH BC-343 PRESSLEY GEORGE 09-23-1824 CALLAWAY HANNAH BC-349 SITTON JOSHUA M. 02-22-1825 BELL ELIZABETH BC-360 HOWDESHELL HIRAM 03-31-1825 BERRY PALIA M. BC-373 GALE JAMES 09-15-1825 GALLOWAY MARY
Book "01" marriages date from 1825 to September 1841; Book "02" begins November 1841. The first fifteen Book "01" marriages, which include all those from 1825 are:
01-001 ENGLISH JOHN 08-03-1825 DAVIS KATHERINE 01-001 WOMMACK RICHARD 08-18-1825 SMILEY CINTHY 01-001 CANNON EPHRIAM [1825*] 11-20-1825 HUNTER DOROTHY 01-002 KERR WILLIAM [1826*] 01-19-1825 DRAPER PATSEY 01-002 JAMESON JOHN 11-12-1825 GILLILAND POLLY 01-002 GILILLAND JOHN 12-25-1825 PRESLEY ELIZABETH 01-002 OAKLEY HARRY [1825*] 12-25-1826 WILLSON SUSANNA MRS. 01-003 SIMPSON THOMAS [1826*] 03-18-1825 GALLOWAY BETSEY 01-003 EVANS ABRAHAM [1825*] 10-13-1825 SHRUM LENNEY 01-003 COX JOHN B. 01-22-1826 WILLSON BATHSHEBA 01-004 SITTON SAMUEL G. 02-23-1826 PORTERRE BECKY 01-004 ALLEN EDWIN 05-06-1826 WADE JANE 01-004 HUBBARD ELI 07-23-1826 CANNON KESIAH 01-004 SAPP SAMUEL 07-27-1826 SAPP MILLINDA * Year as shown in IGI.
Marriage is a key area of study for anthropologists and social scientists, and a significant aspect is when people get married. In current times, June is the most desired marriage month, but that apparently wasn't so in times past. Other priorities took precedence in an agrarian society which included planting the crops in the spring, chores during the summer, harvesting in the fall and transportation in winter. Consequently, at least in Lincoln County, late fall was the popular time to get married, after the harvest which hopefully was successful and cause for celebration.
Breakdown of marriages by month, from the Dunard data:
1818-1945 16,000 January 7.69% February 8.31 March 7.72 April 7.55 May 6.61 June 7.07 July 5.90 August 7.92 September 9.47 October 10.54 November 10.25 December 10.97 1818-1860 1861-1902 1903-1945 # of marriages: 2,064 5,517 8,396 January 9.88% 8.70% 6.49% February 10.56 8.66 7.49 March 9.16 8.45 6.90 April 7.46 7.23 7.75 May 6.64 5.40 7.37 June 5.28 5.13 8.84 July 5.57 4.19 7.11 August 6.69 5.71 9.68 September 7.61 9.73 9.74 October 9.06 12.33 9.72 November 10.22 11.29 9.60 December 11.87 13.18 9.31
See Lincoln County Missouri page, sections beginning at Births.
The first print-out covered the years 1818-1945 and was separate listings by groom surname and bride surname, each consisting of 288 unnumbered pages containing 15,997 marriages. Page 1 was a banner page with no marriage data and page 288 was blank. The banner page describes the listing as "LINCOLN COUNTY MARRIAGES FOR YEARS 1818-1945" even though the first marriage listed was July 21, 1819. (See below.)
The second print-out covered the years 1946-2002 and consisted of 196 unnumbered pages containing 10,950 marriages.
There was no description of the methodology or source(s) used to compile the data. But since Mr. Dunard lived in Troy and the records include the Book and Page number, it is presumed that they were transcribed onsite directly from the original marriage books at the Lincoln County Courthouse in Troy. Based on this apparent origin, my actual use of this database, my informal comparison to the other databases and my random comparison to various known marriages from other sources, at this point the presumption should be that the Dunard database is the most comprehensive and accurate single published database of marriages in Lincoln County for the years 1825-2002. I have found a few discrepancies in names and dates due to probable typo errors or misinterpretation of difficult to read handwriting. However, those discrepancies are generally not significant enough to prevent locating the desired records through reasonable search parameters. But do not assume that either the spelling of names or dates are precisely correct. Consult the original marriage record, as that is considered the primary evidence source, not a third-party index.
I ran scanner images of the pages onsite and later OCR'd them into text files. The OCR did a very accurate job of translating the printed characters into computer text (99%+ accuracy), but column alignment was a problem and took some manual effort to correct. I have skimmed through the results and corrected the few OCR errors found, but did not do a field-by-field proof-read. I am confident in the results, but a few OCR errors or anomolies may remain.
In addition to the 26,957 Dunard records, the database contains marriage records from two additional sources:
I subsequently discovered that the so-called "Colored" marriage records were not included in the Dunard transcription, so I obtained the FHL film, transcribed them and added them to the database. Those are 331 records. I can personally vouch for the difficulty in reading and properly interpreting some very bad handwriting. Description of these records in the preceding section.
The marriage license reports in the Troy Free Press are for the years 1884, 1887, 1897, 1898, 1900, 1911, 1916, 1917, 1918, 1922, 1923 and contain 1,441 records. I am not sure whether the dates shown are the date of the license or the date of the actual marriage and were recorded from a return of the license. The date reported may have varied depending on the inclination of the transcriber.
Corresponding to the four groups described above, the Group codes are:
A - Dunard 1818-1945
B - Dunard 1946-2002
C - Colored 1865-1881
D - Troy Free Press - Eleven non-consecutive years
Alvin E. Dunard was born 30 September 1933 and died 18 February 2005, last residence in Troy, Lincoln County, Missouri (SSDI). I looked for an obituary for him but could not find one. According to the 1940 census in Bedford Township (outside Troy, Sheet 5A), he was born in Missouri (presumed rural Bedford Township), son of Joseph N. and Daisy V. (Deffendall) Dunard and brother of Mary Louise, Charles, Florence and Barbara Dunard. Possibly younger siblings born after 1940.
Joseph Nicholas Dunard was born 3 October 1886 in Lincoln Co., Missouri son of Charles Dunard and Naomi (Neoma) Cox (married 10 January 1886 at Lincoln County); died about 15 July 1956 near Silex and was buried at Troy City Cemetery. It appears Joseph was married first 24 Sep 1913 at Lincoln County to a Bette E. Weber. Daisy Victoria Deffendall was born 24 March 1909; died 7 January 1998 presumably at Springfield, Greene County, Missouri (last SSDI residence); presumably buried at Troy City Cemetery in front of Joseph (marker present but appears to be a cremation interment or a cenotaph).
Behavior of this link is unpredictable and depends on the browser/version and possibly computer's operating system. Further, pop-up blockers may block this "Details" page and must be set to allow display from this website (lincolnmo.awardspace.com). For some unknown reason, when using the Firefox browser, clicking on the "details" link also generates some kind of page with a listing of errors. Just close out that page.
One such circuit rider was Rev. Wesley Browning, a Methodist Episcopal preacher, who apparently performed marriages in the area mid 1860's but dropped off his records for recording in St. Louis. (Included in IGI batch M515697.)
Other reasons: the preacher simply forgot to submit the return, the return was lost or the marriage may have been performed and/or recorded in a neighboring county.
Generally, I am very hesitant to change the original data from the transcription print-out, especially since I do not have access to the original, underlying marriage records to check. I would not change clerk's recording. I have seen apparent errors and others have been communicated to me. Some errors appear to be due to clerks of original records and spelling variations in original records. However, others likely due to error in deciphering difficult-to-read handwriting and simple typo's. I have decided to handle apparent errors as follows:
288 pages total, not numbered 144 leaves 286 data pages 1 - Cover, preface 2 - Start of data 288 - Last page (blank) 56 lines per page, exceptions: 53 first page 40 last page 15,997 total original records, a few are apparent duplicates.
196 pages total, not numbered 98 leaves 196 data pages 1 - Start of data 56 lines per page, exceptions: 30 last page 10,950 total original records
This database was submitted 09 March 2008 by Emily Wilson. It contains 7,596 marriages for Lincoln County, Missouri extracted from the following sources:
The original file was supplied in GEDCOM format which I converted to a database for search and display on a website.
Searching this database is similar to the Dunard database.
The Lincoln County USGenWeb site online postings include "County Recorder's Marriage Records," Vol. 1, 1825-1842 (Missouri State Archives Microfilm #C 3902); transcriptions of marriage licenses published in the Troy Free Press for eleven selected years 1884-1923 and miscellaneous submissions. See Lincoln County "Marriage & Divorce Records"
The International Genealogical Index (IGI) is based on extractions of original marriage records of Lincoln County by the LDS (Mormon) Church for the period 1825-1881. The records were (presumably) originally microfilmed at the County Courthouse in Troy and later indexed into their computer database. The microfilms are available to the public and the index can be searched online at their FamilySearch website.
Records in the IGI are organized in "Batches." Although it is possible to search the IGI on just name(s), knowing the Batch Number allows one to focus the search, in this case to Lincoln County. Further, just entering the batch number will display all entries on that batch; entering just the surname is also allowed. Be forewarned that in searching it is always necessary to select the "Region", which in this case is North America.
IGI batches for Lincoln County are:
index: M515341 Dates: 1825-1879, Source Call No.: 0973688 V. 1-3 index: M515342 Dates: 1879-1885, Source Call No.: 0973689 V. 4-5 index: M515343 Dates: 1865-1881, Source Call No.: 0973692 It 3
In addition to these specific batches derived from the original handwritten records, the IGI also includes patron-submissions. Those submissions are in other batches. Those submissions usually do not cite sources, so must be used with caution. However, they may, or may not, supply additional information and/or alternate (sometimes correct) spellings.
However, during 2012, separate access to the IGI as a separate database via the Family Search website was reportedly discontinued. The data has been incorporated into the Family Search global search facility which acts as a kitchen sink search. One problem with the IGI is that it had become saturated with uncited patron submissions which too many researchers relied upon as proven fact, in addition to the extractions from primary source records. The batch numbers will continue to be displayed in the detail search results page, but it does not appear to be possible to search on batch number through the global search. But as of October 2012, the following link still works to bring up a panel to search just the IGI. Note the radio buttons to select either: "Community Indexed IGI" - which will be primary source extractions OR "Community Contributed IGI" - which could be just about anything. Hopefully this hidden gem will remain.
The main search menu for Lincoln County is at Missouri Marriage Records, 1805-2002 > Lincoln The subsidiary menus are:
Following are some old, pre-internet printed listings of Lincoln County marriages, citation text from LDS catalog listing:
Lincoln County, Missouri Marriage Records, 1825-1844. Compiled by Elizabeth Prather Ellsberry, 1961. * Film rental thru Family History Center, microfilm #0897450, item 3 * Book at St. Louis Genealogical Society library, St. Louis, MO. * Book at Seattle Public Library, Seattle, WA. * Book at Mid-Continent Public Library, Independence, KS. #929.3 EL59Li Lincoln County Missouri, Marriages. By Anna Henson. Bowling Green, MO: Ram Pub., 1991? (vol. 1 1825-1845; vol. 2 1846-1859; vol. 3 1860-c1879; vol. 4. 1879-1887) * Books at Family History Library at Salt Lake City * All volumes at Mid-Continent Public Library, Independence, KS. (#977.837 H398 v. 1, 2, 3, 4) [FHL catalog: NOT on microfilm] Minutes, Lincoln County, Missouri Marriages. (25 May) 1882-(25 Mar) 1903. St. Charles, MO: St. Charles Co. Geneal. Society, c1992. * Book at Family History Library at Salt Lake City * Book at Mid-Continent Public Library, Independence KS. #977.837 M668 Lincoln County, Missouri marriages : 1819-1842 compiled & indexed by George W. Giles authors: Giles, George W. format: Books/Monographs language: English publication: Moscow Mills, Missouri : Lincoln County Genealogical Society (Missouri), c1999 physical: v. subject class: 977.837 V2 Register of baptisms, deaths & marriages in the Catholic church at Hannibal, Mo. & adjoining stations in Marion, Ralls, Pike & Lincoln Co.'s, Missouri, commenced May 23, 1848 stmt. resp.: by Kathleen Wilham authors: Wilham, Kathleen format: Books/Monographs language: English publication: Shelbyville, Missouri : K. Wilham Geneal. Research & Pub., c1987 physical: 21 leaves. subject class: 977.8 K2 Notes Title from cover. It appears that the majority of the records in this book represent Marion and Ralls counties. The other counties mentioned in the title were not noted in the contents though they may, in fact, be represented because many entries lack locality indicators. Includes index. Missouri marriages to 1850 stmt. resp.: by Linda Barber Brooks authors: Brooks, Linda Barber format: Books/Monographs language: English publication: St. Louis, Missouri : Ingmire Publications, c1983- physical: v. subject class: 977.8 V2 Notes Title from cover. Includes bride's index in each volume. Arrangement of records is alphabetical by groom's name. Volumes one and two include Andrew, Audrain, Barry, Caldwell, Callaway, Cape Girardeau, Cass, Chariton, Cole, Harrison, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, Linn, Moniteau, Nodaway, Perry, Pike, Putman, Ralls, Saline, Shelby, St. Francois, St. Genevieve, Texas, Van Buren, and Warren counties. Volume three includes Adair, Boone, Callaway, Cedar, Clark, Daviess, DeKalb, Franklin, Gasconade, Grundy, Holt, Howard, Jefferson, Knox, Lafayette, Lawrence, Lewis, Lincoln, Madison, Marion, Miller, Monroe, Oregon, Osage, Perry, Pike, Platte, Polk, Randolph, Ripley, Schuyler, Scotland, Scott, St. Charles, Sullivan, and Washington counties. Contents: v. 1. A-K -- v. 2. L-Z -- v. 3. A-Z. Early Missouri marriages to 1840 taken from the following counties : Audrain, Barry, Benton, Buchanan, Callaway, Carroll, Chariton, Clay, Clinton, Cole, Cooper, Daviess, Henry, Howard, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Lafayette, Lincoln, Pettis, Pike, Platte, Randolph, Ray, Saline stmt. resp.: compiled by Mrs. J.R. Carter authors: Carter, J. R., Mrs. format: Books/Monographs/Book with Film language: English publication: Sedalia, Missouri : [s.n., 190-?] physical: 3 v. subject class: 977.8 V25 Copies Call Number Location Collection/Shelf Availability 977.8 V25c Family History Library US/CAN Book Available 977.8 V25c v. 2 Family History Library US/CAN Book Available 977.8 V25c v. 3 Family History Library US/CAN Book Available Film Notes Note Location Film v. 1, A - G, v. 3, N - Z also on microfilm. Salt Lake City : Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1971. on 1 microfilm reel ; 35 mm. Family History Library US/CAN Film 928077 Items 4-5 v. 2, H - M also on microfilm. Salt Lake City : Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1976. on 1 microfilm reel ; 35 mm. Family History Library US/CAN Film 823928 Item 4 Yearly Marriage License Lists Published in the Troy Free Press. * 1911 Marriage Licenses - Troy Free Press, (Troy, Lincoln Co., MO) 19 January 1912, page 7 * 1916 Marriage Licenses - Troy Free Press (Troy, Lincoln Co., MO) 19 January 1917, page 8 * 1922 Marriage Licenses - Troy Free Press (Troy, Lincoln Co., MO) 19 January 1923, page 7 * 1923 Marriage Licenses - Troy Free Press (Troy, Lincoln Co., MO) 25 January 1924, page 7
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