Explore marriage notices sourced from our extensive collection of British newspapers. Discover how your ancestors announced their marriages in the pages of the press and unlock fascinating new details to add to your family tree.
Each record consists of a transcript and original image of the newspaper page where the marriage notice was published. Marriage notices were submitted to newspapers after the marriage had taken place. They contained the details of the newlyweds, oftentimes alongside the names of their parents, and the location where the wedding service was held. By investigating the original newspaper image, you may even learn the name of the officiant who conducted the service and the occupations of those in the wedding party.
The amount of information included in every marriage notice will vary, but you will be able to uncover a combination of the following:
First and last names
Marriage year and marriage date
Marriage county and country
Residence county and country
Spouse’s first and last names
Spouse's residence place
Spouse’s residence county and country
Parents’ first and last names
Spouse’s parents’ first and last names
You can also find the following information about the publication in which the marriage notice appeared:
Publication date and year
Publication town or city
These marriage notices have been sourced from our collection of newspapers from across England, Wales, and Scotland, and span the 19th and 20th centuries. Marriage notices often sat alongside other types of family notices, such as notices of births and deaths, and in memoriam notices. Whilst the early press did contain such announcements, it was not until the 19th century that these types of notices became more formalised.
As the amount of newspapers increased in Britain, and literacy rates improved, readers were encouraged to submit notices of family events for a fee. Indeed, the fact that these announcements had to be paid for would often affect the phrasing and the length of the notice. This economic factor also means that not all of the population would have been able to afford the insertion of their important life events into the press.
However, you will find that many newspapers often devoted multiple columns to their notices of births, marriages and deaths. They appeared as a recurring feature in daily and weekly publications, and their popularity endures even today.
Some marriage notices will contain just the initials and surnames of those who had tied the knot, especially in the case of the groom. This is less common in the case of the bride, so it might be worth beginning your search with the bride’s full name.
Marriage notices are filled with all sorts of abbreviations, from those to do with dates, such as ‘on the 5th inst.’ (short for ‘the 5th of this month’) and occupations, such as ‘Rev’ (short for ‘Reverend’). Others denote rank, like ‘Esq. ‘(short for ‘Esquire’), which historically denoted a landed proprietor or country squire.
Watch out for mistakes. We know that not everything printed in the press is true, and this can even be said of marriage notices. Names may be spelled incorrectly at the time of printing. To mitigate this, you can use our name variants tool, or even or wild card search functionality.
The location search can be used to narrow down multiple results. Check the location of the nearest town or city to where the marriage occurred and use this to hone your search. Most towns had their own local newspaper by the end of the 19th century, meaning that you can be specific with your location search. Alternatively, a couple may have chosen to submit their marriage notice to a newspaper in one of the larger towns or cities in their home county.