Sunday, April 26, 2009

Confidential Connubiality

Rosemary E. Bachelor has a post up called "California's Confidential Marriages: Secret Unions a Genealogist’s Nightmare."

Confidential marriage means very secret. For nearly a century, the State of California did not keep records of these marriages. It is impossible to determine if they took place, unless, perhaps, the couple later—for personal reasons—filled out an affidavit and swore to it under oath. County recorders keep a list of such marriages, but they are not permitted to divulge them. Technically, a clergyman is not supposed to reveal them either. In a few very rare cases, such information has been found among private records of deceased clergy.


Wow. I didn't even know these existed. Do all states have them?


Apparently just California and Michigan allow "secret" marriages.


I know that "Confidential Marriage Licences" are issued in California. My own son and his wife were married under a "Confidential Marriage Licence". Ironically they had a formal marriage ceremony with several family and friends in attendance! Even as a PARENT of the groom, I am unable to get a copy of their marriage licence or certificate. Copies of these records are only available to the Bride/Groom. AS I understand it, this type of licence (in California) are issued where the couple had been co-habitating for a certain amount of time, and they waive the blood test requirement, but are still required to wait the three days before the nuptials.

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