The Resource Essex County (Va.) Ministers' Returns

Essex County (Va.) Ministers' Returns

Essex County (Va.) Ministers' Returns, 1850-1854
Essex County (Va.) Ministers' Returns
Inclusive dates
Essex County (Va.) Ministers' Returns, 1850-1854, records the returns made by individual minsters within the county. Returns in this volume, prior to 1853, record the names of the parties, the date of the marriage ceremony and the minister's name and denomination. As part of the return process, ministers filed marriage certificates with the county clerk. These signed documents certified that a minister had performed the actual marriage ceremony between the named individuals on a certain date. By 1853, more information was included in lists or certificates from the individual ministers such as the status or condition of the parties, the ages of the parties, where the parties resided, their places of birth, names of their parents and the occupation of the groom. Marriages between free persons of color are noted in 1853 and 1854 (pages 5 and 9.)
Member of
  • Accessioned
  • Described
Biographical or historical data
  • Essex County was formed from old Rappahannock County in 1692. The county was named probably for the English county or perhaps for Algernon Capell, second earl of Essex.
  • Until 1780, marriages could be performed only by ministers of the Established Church, who were required by law to record marriages in the parish register. In 1780, dissenting ministers (only four per county from each sect) were permitted to perform marriage ceremonies. In order to have a record of all marriages, ministers were required to sign a certificate to be filed with the county clerk. Initially, ministers sent marriage certificates to the clerk every three months. Some ministers adopted a custom of making collected returns--a list of marriages performed within a period of time such as a year or several years. Beginning in 1784, marriage certificates were returned annually. The law was rarely enforced, and ministers' returns were sometimes late, incorrect, incomplete and in many instances, not made at all. County clerks compiled a register of marriages based, in part, on ministers' returns.
  • The ministers' returns, found in the original volume, were created by the County Court.
Cataloging source
Location of other archival material
  • Additional Essex County Marriage Records can be found on microfilm at the Library of Virginia. Consult "A Guide to Virginia County and City Records On Microfilm" found on the Library of Virginia's web site.
  • These volumes are located at the State Records Center. Please contact Archives Research Services.
Essex County (Va.) Ministers' Returns
  • The original volume came to the Virginia State Library (now the Library of Virginia) in a transfer of court papers from Essex County
  • A photocopy was created, under the accession number 27508, by the staff of the Virginia State Library's (now the Library of Virginia) Archives Division
  • Microfilm Reel 457 was generated by Backstage Library Works through the Library of Virginia's Circuit Court Records Preservation Program
Arranged chronologically.
  • The Library of Virginia
  • 2
  • 1
Governing access note
There are no restrictions
Immediate source of acquisition
  • Essex County Circuit Court
  • Virginia State Library's Archives Division
  • Backstage Library Works
Reproduction note
Terms governing use
Use microfilm copy, Essex County (Va.) Reel 457.
Type of unit
  • v. (26 p.)
  • microfilm reel.

Library Locations

    • Library of VirginiaBorrow it
      800 East Broad Street, Richmond, VA, 23219, US
      37.5415632 -77.4360805
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