Marriage Licenses of Washington County, North Carolina
1851 - 1890

Introduction and Instructions

We are deeply indebted to Henry Floyd "Hank" Phelps, Patsy Campbell, Kathy Lowery and Judy Jackson Scovronski for their help in transcribing these records and to the Washington County Genealogical Society for contributing their transcription of Volume 1 of the marriage register for use herein. We have teamed up in an ongoing project to transcribe the marriage licenses of Washington County through 1919. Since this is a "work in progress," you will have to check periodically for additions. The date at the bottom of the page will tell you when the last addition was made and the years listed in the table below will tell you how far we have gotten.

No marriage licenses exist for Washington County until the year 1880. The source of all marriage records prior to that year is marriage registers. There are two marriage registers, one of several volumes that contains marriages from 1851 to the present. There is also a marriage register that records acknowledgements of Freedmen's marriages from 1866 to 1868 and "a record of colored marriages" from 8 March, 1867 to 6 June 1872. The Freedmen's Register records slave marriages legalized after the Civil War between 1866 and 1868. Some of these marriages occurred 40 years before the Civil War. The record tells how long each couple has cohabited.

In order to provide the best information available from both of these registers and existing licenses, we are transcribing all marriage licenses and ONLY those marriage register entries for which no license exists. The project to transcribe these licenses and marriage register entries will terminate at the year 1920 to avoid living persons.

The sequence of events in this project is to transcribe both marriage registers to the year 1881 first. We will then transcribe all licenses, compare them to the marriage register and then transcribe marriage register entries for which no license was found.

We are also indexing all brides, grooms, mothers and fathers listed in the marriage register and the marriage licenses. Parents were generally not recorded in the marriage register in the earlier years. Information found in parental consent data concerning relationships will also be included and indexed. Witnesses, applicants, the county Register of Deeds, Justices of the Peace and Ministers will not be indexed. The index also shows the type of the surname for females and the source of the surname. Entries for type surname will indicate whether a female's surname appears to be a MAIDEN surname or a MARRIED surname based on age and other information in the marriage license or marriage register. Entries for source will be either LICENSE, REGISTER or IMPLIED. LICENSE means the surname is as written on the license. REGISTER means the surname is as written on the marriage register. IMPLIED means the surname is implied from other data on the license. Examples of this are:
(1) - The new surname the bride acquires by virtue of the marriage. The entry in type surname in this case is MARRIED and the source is IMPLIED. Every bride has an entry of this type, even if she is marrying someone with the same surname.
(2) - Where the bride's surname is different from her father's surname the license is probably for a second or third marriage so the bride's maiden surname can be implied from the father's surname.
(3) - Where a mother's surname is different from the father's surname it may be her maiden surname, so a married surname can be implied. If the father is dead and the mother living, it can also indicate a subsequent marriage.
There are, of course, other circumstances such as bastardy, etc. which can make these assumptions not valid. But since the purpose of the index is solely as a finding aid the resulting errors do no harm. By indexing the way we have, you can find those second and third marriages you didn't know about and locate females whose maiden name is unknown.

You may read through the marriage licenses and register entries by using the table below. Licenses and register entries are arranged in chronological sequence by license date. All pages are linked to the next page and previous page. If you are searching for a specific person or surname use the index. Pick the approriate index in males or females below. This will take you to an alphabetical index of names. Once you find a name of interest, click on it and you will be taken to the license or marriage register entry in which that person appears. To return to the index where you left it use the "back" button on your browser.

The licenses you will view are virtual copies of the actual licenses. The only thing missing is the numbered superscripts to each blank, underlined area on the license where information was to be entered and the legend to the superscripts explaining what information to enter in the blanks. These were omitted to save space. A facsimile of a complete blank license with superscripts and legend may be viewed by clicking here. A few licenses were hand written. These have been transcribed as if a form was used and annotated below the license. Marriage register entries contain all information in the actual register.


MALE A B C D - F G - I J - L M - O P - R S T - Z

FEMALE A B C D E - F G H I - K L - M N - O P - Q R S T - V W - Z

NOTE: Index includes register and marriage licenses through 1890.


1851 1852 1853 1854 1855 1856 1857 1858 1859 1860
1861 1862 1863 1864 1865 1866 1867 1868 1869 1870
1871 1872 1873 1874 1875 1876 1877 1878 1879 1880
1881 1882 1883 1884 1885 1886 1887 1888 1889 1890

NOTE: Register complete through 1890. Comparison to licenses complete.


1880 1881 1882 1883 1884 1885 1886 1887 1888 1889 1890

NOTE: All licenses indexed through 1890.


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77
78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97
98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113

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