The Resource Henrico County (Va.) Ministers' Returns

Henrico County (Va.) Ministers' Returns

Henrico County (Va.) Ministers' Returns, 1815-1853
Henrico County (Va.) Ministers' Returns
Inclusive dates
Title variation
Henrico County (Va.) Records at Large,
Title variation date
  • Henrico County (Va.) Ministers' Returns, 1815-1853, records information from the returns made by individual ministers of marriages performed within the county. Returns noted 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. Returns also took the form of lists
  • By 1853, more information was included in lists or certificates from the individual ministers such as the ages of the parties, country of origin (in this case, Germany), occupation of husband, status of parties before marriage and where parties were married. In addition, the parents' names of both parties and the birthplaces of both parties were sometimes noted. Marriages between free persons of color are noted, from 1825-1853, in various returns. There is an internal index to the volume following the returns. This index is organized alphabetically A-Y, by the groom's surname, according to the order of the page numbers in the volume. Surnames with B, G, S or W are found on additional pages in the index. Colored persons or free persons of color are noted with parentheses. The volumes was originally titled "Records at Large, 1815-1853."
  • This volume also contains information from marriage licenses prepared by the county clerk and presented to the minister who would perform the ceremony. These signed documents "authorized and licensed" or "licensed and permitted" the ministers to perform the actual marriage ceremonies. The license indicated to the minister and the public that there were no impediments to the marriage. The county court clerk compiled this volume from the original ministers' returns, marriage certificates and marriage licenses
Member of
Biographical or historical data
  • Henrico County was one of the eight original shires, or counties, first enumerated in 1634. The county was named for Henry, Prince of Wales, eldest son of King James I.
  • Prior to 1853, when the Commonwealth began recording vital statistics, Virginia marriages were recorded at the county or city level. Beginning in 1661, in order to be married by license, the groom was required to go before the county clerk and give bond with security that there was no lawful reason to prevent the marriage. The license, issued then by the clerk, was given to the minister who performed the service. Written consent from a parent or guardian was needed for individuals younger than twenty-one years.
  • 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 first 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. Intially, 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 original marriage records, from which this volume was compiled, were created by the County Court.
Cataloging source
Location of other archival material
  • This volume is found at the State Records Center. Contact Archives Research Services for access information, directions and hours.
  • Additional Henrico 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.
  • Henrico County is one of Virginia's Lost Records Localities. Additional Henrico County Court Records may be found in the Virginia Lost Records Localities Collection at the Library of Virginia. Search the "Lost Records Localities Database" found at the Library of Virginia web site.
Henrico County (Va.) Ministers' Returns
  • This original volume came to the Virginia State Library (now the Library of Virginia) in a transfer of court papers from Henrico County
  • Reel 89 was generated by the Genealogical Society of Utah while filming at the Henrico County Courthouse
  • The Library of Virginia
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Governing access note
There are no restrictions
Immediate source of acquisition
  • Henrico County Circuit Court
  • The Genealogical Society of Utah
Terms governing use
Use microfilm copy, Henrico County (Va.) Reel 89.
Type of unit
  • v. (188 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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