The decision was made to have the digitized marriage licenses be available for researchers to view and handle through the Central Rappahannock Heritage Center in Fredericksburg, VA.
The original documents were to be archived since there would be a digital copy available of the license and any supporting documentation. We are pleased the Heritage Center has offered to be the repository for these documents. And some of the supporting material will be a gold mine for genealogists!!
The title of this blog post is such because these licenses are not just for Fredericksburg or Virginia residents only. Virginia was and still is a Gretna Green where anyone can come, get a license, and be married immediately. Not only did couples drive south from New York and New England, but also east from the surrounding states. Since Fredericksburg is conveniently located to several military bases, like Quantico, many military personnel received their licenses from the Fredericksburg Circuit Court.
Our digitizing efforts recently experienced a number of marriages that occurred during World War II. We worked our way through a large number of marriages just after the war, and were a bit surprised that this week’s number for the year of 1942 was the largest we have ever done – 335!! We suspect 1940 and 1941 will also be big years for marriages.
So, when looking for a marriage license for ancestors especially in the east, and/or in the military, don’t rule out Virginia.