Got Missing Californian Couples? Try Vegas.

Got Missing Californian Couples? Try Vegas.

by Kerry Scott on 8 April 2010

Lately I’ve had a string of 20th century Californians I’ve been working on (even though I’m supposed to be cleaning up my files and not doing research.  I’m undisciplined.  So sue me.).

Ancestry has a California marriage index for 1960-1985, which (theoretically) should have included nearly all of the people I was working on.  I couldn’t find them, and I couldn’t figure out why.  Sure, people get missed, names get entered wrong, things happen…but I had five missing couples, out of six I was seeking.  That’s a lot of missed people.

Then I remembered that when I lived in Southern California, a lot of my friends went to Vegas to get married.  Could these people be in Nevada?

Yep.  They were.  The Southern Californians got married in Las Vegas, and the Northern Californians got married in Reno.  I found all five couples in the Nevada Marriage Index 1956-2005.

Try it, and see if your missing Californians don’t turn up there.

Photo by Mike Fleming

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

mouse April 8, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Funny I never really thought about it. But now that you mention it, the only pair of my friends in California who didn’t get married in Nevada are the ones for whom I officiated their ceremony. And I still probably wouldn’t have come up with your solution. You’re undisciplined and I’m slow. Heh.


ABDPBT April 8, 2010 at 10:37 pm

Totally makes sense! So many people do that, in fact, these days I bet it’s not just CA couples, either
.-= ABDPBT´s last blog ..The ABDPBT Media Kit Is Finally Ready For Review =-.


Amy Coffin April 9, 2010 at 9:05 am

A-ha! Good find.
.-= Amy Coffin´s last blog ..Follow Friday: Starring Asheville and Buncombe County =-.


Susan Tiner April 9, 2010 at 7:02 pm

Can someone please explain why people want to get married in Las Vegas?


Fionn April 6, 2011 at 7:55 am

Some people actually live in Las Vegas, so they get married at home.

People who don’t live in Las Vegas — well, it’s a resort/vacation town, and there’s no residency requirements, nor is there any waiting period.

Basically, if you want a quick, no-hassle, very-little-paperwork wedding, you go there.


Nancy April 10, 2010 at 12:35 am

Congratulations! I’ve chosen your blog to receive the Ancestor Approved Award. To learn more about it and get the award image, please go to My Ancestors and Me at
.-= Nancy´s last blog ..Hoping My Ancestors Approve =-.


Kerry Scott April 10, 2010 at 6:47 am

Susan—I hate Vegas (I don’t drink, don’t gamble, don’t have much use for hookers, and I’m horribly allergic to cigarette smoke to boot). But I think the appeal is that it’s quick and easy…no family drama to deal with, no months/years of planning, no $20K bill afterward. Sometimes people get so caught up in the wedding that the getting married gets lost in the shuffle. So in a strange way, I think some people go to Vegas (or Reno, or where ever) to put the focus back on that, instead of on the whole putting-on-a-big-show thing.

Nancy—Oh wow…thank you very much!


Margaret August 14, 2010 at 12:16 am

Most of our Californians were either married before the moved here or they’re all very recent, but this is one of those Research Problem Solver type-tips.

Sometimes genealogy is a course in lateral thinking.


Sherry Kimbrough April 6, 2011 at 5:49 pm

I laughed out loud at the first paragraph. Glad to meet a kindred soul! Thanks for all the “clues” – I appreciate this blog.


Kerry Scott April 6, 2011 at 5:55 pm

Thank you!


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