California is an open state which means that the residents of the state have access to their personal documents. CA marriage records are one of the documents that have been opened according to the Freedom of Information Act.
Marriage records in California are vital documents in genealogy. Once an individual marries, the family tree has to be updated in a timely manner. Aside from genealogy, a marriage certificate is also required when processing transactions in the government. These transactions includes, but not limited to, insurance or financial related matters as well as the declaration of properties and assists of a couple. Ironically, a marriage certificate is needed when filing for separation.
The information that can be found on a California marriage record originally has only the basic details such as the names of the bride and the groom and the details as to when and where they got married. Also, the names of the witnesses and the official who declared them husband and wife are indicated on the file. Now, this has been expanded. A marriage certificate now would have the maiden name of the bride and the personal information of the couple such as their birth details, occupations, address and nationality. Furthermore, marriage certificates now would contain the names of the parents of the couple along with their birth details.
Marriage records in California have been available since 1850’s but the state only releases certificates since July 1905. This is because of the limited information documented back then. The state has not indexed records between 1987 and 1995. One has to go to the county where the marriage was registered in order to get a copy of the license. A processing fee of $14 has to be paid when requesting it at the office of the Vital Records Section. Fees would vary if the request was made at the county office. In order to get a copy of the marriage license, one has to provide some basic information about the file being requested. By doing so, the retrieval process can go smoothly. Mail request can also be sent to the state office but it usually takes time.
To avoid any delay in the retrieval process, one can take advantage of the Internet since marriage records of California can now be obtained online. This method helps obtain the document without putting much effort into it since the document can be requested at home and in just a few clicks on the mouse, the results of the search are displayed.
Many websites now offer to obtain the document for you. Some would allow you to get marriage records free of any charges, while others can only do the search after you pay for the processing fee online. There are websites lets their users test their system before they are urged to pay. It is up to the user if they want to pay for the service or not.