The Resource Louisa County (Va.) Ministers' Returns

Louisa County (Va.) Ministers' Returns

Louisa County (Va.) Ministers' Returns, 1781-1853
Louisa County (Va.) Ministers' Returns
Inclusive dates
Title variation
Louisa County (Va.) Marriage Returns,
Title variation date
Louisa County (Va.) Ministers' Returns, 1781-1853, records the returns made by individual ministers of marriages performed within the county. This volume was originally entitled, "Marriage Returns." Returns in this volume, prior to 1853, record the names of the parties, the date of the marriage ceremony--either month, day and year or month and year 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. The majority of returns in this volume are in the form of lists. By 1853, more information was included in lists or certificates from the individual ministers such as the place of the marriage ceremony, the names of the parties, the ages of the parties, the status of the parties before marriage and the occupation of the groom. In addition, the parents' names of both parties and the birthplaces of both parties were sometimes noted
Member of
Biographical or historical data
  • Louisa County was formed from Hanover County in 1742. The county was named for Louisa, a daughter of King George II.
  • 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 ministers' returns, from which this volume was compiled, were created by the County Court.
Cataloging source
Location of other archival material
  • This volume is located at the State Records Center. Contact Archives Research Services for access information, directions and hours.
  • Additional Louisa 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.
Louisa 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 Louisa County
  • Reel 136 was generated by Backstage Library Works through the Library of Virginia's Circuit Court Records Preservation Program
  • The Library of Virginia
  • 1
  • 1
Immediate source of acquisition
  • Louisa County Circuit Court
  • Backstage Library Works
Terms governing use
Use microfilm copy, Louisa County (Va.) Reel 136.
Type of unit
  • v. (127 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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