Family Stories

100 Years of Washington County Marriages – and Marion County, Too!

Hooray, hooray!  At long last I have finished typing the Washington County, Kentucky, marriage records from 1792 to 1892.  I know that some of you mathematicians out there are saying – but that’s 101 years!  Washington County was formed June 1, 1792 – six months into the year.  So I thought it best to include 1892 to make sure I had 100 years worth of marriages!  Also, since Marion County was part of Washington until 1834, there are 42 years of marriage records from early Marion County!  John Hunt Morgan unfortunately chose to burn the Marion County Courthouse – along with all the records since 1834 – on July 5, 1863, during his raid of the county.  When reading through the early Washington County records I recognize names that are truly now in Marion County!  Just a thought for all of you looking for early Marion County records – and that goes for wills, deeds, etc., – not only marriage records.  Before 1834 look to Washington County!

There are 9,533 marriage records in my Excel spreadsheet.  The columns listed are:  County, Groom’s Surname, Year, Description, Bride’s Surname, Date and Event.  A record would look like the following:

Washington Cty., KY – Abell – 1804 – Enoch Abell married Elizabeth Purcell – Purcell – 05 Oct 1804 – Marriage

The file can be sorted by any column – by groom’s last name, date, year, bride’s last name or description.  If you sort by groom’s last name, and then description, you will have a file sorted by last name of groom, and then all with that last name sorted by first name.  An Excel spreadsheet is a very helpful tool in finding the exact piece of information you need.

Since I cannot just type a list and let it go at that, there are many statistics I have put together for you concerning this 100 years of marriages.  Which month would you guess have the most marriages?  Typically we think of June brides – or perhaps May.  For the years 1792 to 1892, January was the month in which most couples were married – by more than 100!  There were a total of 1,089 weddings in January.  Surprisingly October was the next favorite month with 971 marriages.  And which month had the fewest – June!  By far the cooler months of the year were when most marriage were performed – October through February.  Could it have something to do with planting and harvesting being busy times?

The individual years were interesting to look at also.  1792, especially since it was just half a year, had only 11 marriages.  But as the years to 1799 continued there was a steady climb of 10-15 marriages per year – until the century turns.  There was a drop of 20 marriages from 1799 to 1800 – and in 1801 it jumped up again.  Could this be the old superstition of the world going to end with the turn of the century?  Perhaps this was something everyone through the years worried about – and perhaps it’s just a fluke.  I just thought it noteworthy.  Marriages continue to climb until 1832 with a record number of 135!  But the years 1835-1846 dropped down to 55-75.  There was a modest increase for the next 7 years, but only 55 marriages performed in 1854.  The middle years of the Civil War saw a sharp decrease in marriages.  There were only 46 marriages performed in 1862 – not since 1800 had there been such few.  At the end of the war marriages picked up again until 1875-1881 when everyone got married!  1878 was a record year – 160 weddings!

Now I have a question for you – which month and day had the most marriages?  It wasn’t June 25th!  During the 100 year period there were only 7 marriages performed on that date!  Let’s have a little contest!  Send your guesses in and whoever picks the correct date will received my 100 Years of Washington County Marriages CD!  We’ll let this run for a week.  Next Sunday, October 7th, I will announce the winner!  You can post a comment to this blog with your answer, email me at home or leave your guess on the Kentucky Kindred Facebook page.

The CD will be ready in a couple of weeks.  I did want to tell you there are 2,329 surnames on the CD – bride and groom combined.  I will have a list for you – more information in upcoming blogs!  Don’t forget to send me your guess!

5 replies »

  1. Most marriages:  July 4th?

    Will you post a list of surnames so we will know if we should purchase the CD?  Also, any plans to offer electronic delivery of the .xls rather than CD?

    Thanks, and I always enjoy your posts.

      Bart Emanuel ________________________________


    • Yes, I will post a list of surnames. Electronic delivery is a good idea! I’ll try sending the file to myself at work – make sure it’s not too big. It shouldn’t be since it’s just a spreadsheet. Probably couldn’t do that with some of my cemetery CDs with all the photos!

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