Marriages of Grand County, Colorado
The First Hundred Years
Phil has compiled the only known index to the marriages of Grand County, Marriages of Grand County, Colorado, the First Hundred Years, covering the period 1874-1974. The print version is © Copyright Philip A. Wargo, 1991, Library of Congress Catalog Number 91-65936.
The printed book presents the complete database indexed in three formats: alphabetical by grooms, alphabetical by brides, and chronologically. The online version of the book provided here does not provide the chronological format.
Endnote or Footnote format:
Philip A. Wargo, Marriages of Grand County, Colorado - The First Hundred Years, online <http://www.wargo.org/grandcomarriages.htm>, printout dated ## Month 2003. Previously published in hard copy (Hot Sulphur Springs, Colorado, author, 1991).
Wargo, Philip A. Marriages of Grand County, Colorado - The First Hundred Years. Hot Sulphur Springs, Colorado:author, 1991. Online <http://www.wargo.org/grandcomarriages.htm>. Printout dated ## Month 2003.
|Please Read This First|
Grand County, Colorado was created by an act of the Colorado Territorial Legislature in February, 1874; it was progeny of Summit County. The first election of county officials was held on September 8, 1874, and the newly elected county clerk accepted the first document for recording the following November. The clerk's office would have to wait some three years, however, for the opportunity of recording the first marriage certificate. Grand County's first documented marriage was the union of Frank Byers and Elizabeth McQueary on October 31, 1877.
This work is a listing of the 2,239 marriages recorded between 1874 and 1974 in the first five Marriage Books of the records of the Grand County Clerk and Recorder. For those researchers unfamiliar with Colorado laws, a brief explanation may be in order. A marriage license may be obtained at the office of any county clerk of the state, and is valid throughout the entire state. The return on the license, and/or the marriage certificate, must be filed with the county clerk which issued the license. As a result, quite a number of marriages are recorded in Grand County even though the marriage ceremonies were not held in Grand County. It must surely be the case, too, however, that the certificates of marriage for many ceremonies held in Grand County are actually recorded in other counties of the state.
The careful genealogist who wishes to know with certainty the location of a marriage should obtain a copy of the recorded certificate from the office of the clerk and recorder. In your request, be sure to provide not only the names of the bride and groom and the date of the marriage, but also cite the marriage book number and the page number of the recorded marriage certificate. This will enable the clerk's staff to service your request more quickly.
Some acknowledgements are, of course, in order. The compiler is grateful for the assistance received from Grand County Clerk and Recorder Sara L. Rosene, who allowed him the liberty to work with the books and files at convenient times and places. And a special thanks to the friendly and helpful staff in the recording office: Sue Henry, Karla Liebelt, and Mary Elaine Olsen.
While every effort has been made to insure the accuracy of the information presented herein, some inaccuracies have certainly slipped in. For the errors which are the compiler's, a sincere apology is offered.
Many errors were made by the recorders of the original records. Some of the early clerks, and their deputies, were notoriously bad spellers. They probably recorded the names like they thought they heard them. Sometimes, though, even they did not spell a name the same way twice. For example, the spelling of a name on a certificate often differed from the spelling of the same name as found in the book's index of names. In such cases, the compiler first relied upon personal knowledge of county families to choose the correct variation. For unfamiliar names, a value judgement was necessarily made of the most-likely-to-be-correct variation of the name.
Other than choosing between alternative spellings, the compiler did not correct any spelling unless the correct spelling was found elsewhere in the official records for the marriage. Similarly, initials were not expanded into full names, nor were nicknames changed to "proper" names, even when the compiler knew who the subjects were. Every effort has been made to present the names precisely as they appear in the files. The only exceptions to this policy were that in some instances, full middle names were shortened to an initial if space requirements made such a change necessary. This most commonly occurred in the case of previously-married brides whose names included the notation "(Mrs.)."
Unfortunately, it is not only possible, but likely, that some errors have been made because the compiler incorrectly deciphered the handwriting of the various recorders. To reduce the incidence of such interpretive errors, the following procedures were followed:
Every name of a bride and groom appearing on a hand-written recorded certificate was checked against the name index found in the front of each book. Often, the index entries were clearer than the recorded entries, and sometimes, even written by a different hand.
If a name was undecipherable after comparing the two variations, the "stub" of the original marriage license (found in the original bound marriage license book) was checked for additional entries of the name. The licenses were often issued by a person other than the individual later recording the certificate, and so, were often written by a different hand. In some books, these "stubs" included the license application, and were personally signed by the groom, or by both the bride and groom. Occasionally, a separate application for the marriage license (completed by the bride and/or groom) was found attached to the license stub in the book.
If a name was still undecipherable, then the original license and/or the original certificate of marriage was pulled from filing drawers and checked again. Sometimes, these documents would have the names written by yet a different person, such as a judge or clergyman. By the 1940's, these original certificates were usually filed with typed blood test certificates, from which no interpretive mistakes could be made.
Frequently, at any one or more of the above steps, the compiler solicited the opinions of other persons for assistance in interpreting unclear handwriting.
Having concluded this process, it is believed that the names as presented in this work are as accurate as can reasonably be expected. Here's the good news--the marriage certificates recorded in Books 4 and 5 were typed, so there was no possibility of interpretive errors on these newer certificates (which constitute fully 30% of the total marriages indexed).
Accepting that some mistakes have been made, below is a short list of the most troublesome interpretations encountered with these records. If the genealogical researcher relying on this work is unable to find the exact record desired, it is suggested that some variations in spellings be tried, using these guidelines. Be alert to phonetical pronunciations, and not just spellings.
UPPER CASE LETTERS: These pairs of upper case letters, especially where used in initials only, proved troublesome. These letters, when used in last names, were properly interpreted since each name was checked against the alphabetical index of each volume:
F and T
M and W
U and V
LOWER CASE LETTERS: These pairs or groups of letters were troublesome, especially when several were used in a consecutive string:
a, o, and u
b, h, and k
e and i
r and s
m and n
m and w
r and n
u and v
Making two or more simple interpretive errors in a name might have a significant result. As a hypothetical example, "Roy Jones" might be read as "Ray James."
Note: The print version of the Index includes a chronological listing of all Grand County marriages, enabling the researcher to browse by date. That feature is not included here in the on line version.
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