Marriage licenses which dated from 1850 can be retrieved from the California Marriage Records. These records were kept and organized according to name, counties and date. The County Recorder, which is the California Department of Public Health Office of Vital Records, keeps the data and can be accessed by the public upon special request. Although, the California Public Records Act has made the information available to the public, some of the public marriage licenses are not indexed. Only the public marriage licenses which were indexed on 1949-1986 and 1998-1999 can be accessed.


Marriage records can be retrieved at any county office in California. The most common reason these records are accessed or requested are for general research, checking family background and legal or undertaking reasons. Requesting for a certified marriage license one would need to pay the standard fee of $14.00 to the Office of Vital Records. However, special request such are printing hardcopies or burning the information on to a CD or DVD would need an additional charge for the specialized computer application installed, supplies used, time consumed and labor of the employee.

There are some simple requirements that are needed to be accomplished before the marriage records can be released. One has to fill out the marriage certificate form which has to be notarized and the statement on the penalty of perjury has to be signed as well. In addition to that, the requesting party should know important information such as the name of the bride and groom along with the date of marriage. On the 1st of July 2003, a new bill passed wherein a copy of the birth certificate of the one requesting for the record has to be submitted. Without all the requirements mentioned, the Office of the Vital Records would not be able to release the requested marriage record.

California has made the marriage records request much easier to the public as it can be released via email. It can also be retrieved through third party companies where they can hasten the process for an additional fee. The use of a third-party company to access the record for you is best if the one who request for the data is located in a different state. Getting the record on your own may be easy and hassle-free but it may take time since the Office of the Vital Records may have other accumulated requests from several months.

With technology offering new ways to access data faster and more convenient, getting the California Marriage Records yourself may be the best way to avoid having to pay additional fee and to fall in line and maybe spend a whole day to process the request.