|Louisiana Division/City Archives|
New Orleans Public Library
219 Loyola Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70112
New Orleans (La.) Justices of the Peace.|
Index to Marriage Records, 1846-1880
[The index is now COMPLETE]|
Go to the index for GROOMS with surnames beginning with letter:
[A] [B] [C] [D] [E] [F] [G] [H] [I] [J] [K] [L] [M] Mc] [N] [O] [P] [Q] [R] [S] [T] [U] [V] [W] [XYZ]
Ordering Marriage Records:
If you would like to order a photocopy of a marriage license or certificate reference located in the online Index, please send your request with a fee of $2.00 per reference to the address given at right above. Check or money order should be made payable to New Orleans Public Library. Although we will accept cash, we do not recommend that you send cash through the mail. Please limit your order to 5 items per request. When you receive our response, you may send another request.
Link here for an order form.
From 1846 to 1870, the Justices of the Peace were the exclusive source for civil marriage licenses in Orleans Parish,
which was divided into 6 districts, each of which was to elect a justice. Justices continued to function until 1880, when
the judges of the newly established City Court assumed responsibility for issuance of civil marriage licenses. The
legislation authorizing this process also allowed Justices of the Peace to perform marriage ceremonies and instructed
them to keep appropriate records.
The records, in 171 volumes, are for the most part printed forms filled in by the Justices of the Peace. Marriage Licenses carry call number VEA-VEI678 and Marriage Certificates are designated by VEA-VEI658; a handful of volumes contain both marriage licenses and certificates and a few contain receipts for licenses rather than copies of the actual licenses.
The Licenses, generally, are printed forms in three parts: first, a statement of two witnesses swearing that the parties applying for the license are over the age of twenty-one, signed by the justice of the peace granting the license; second, a bond posted by the groom and attested to by one witness as security that no legal impediment to the marriage existed when the license was granted (should no such impediment appear within two years, the obligation was voided); third, a statement giving consent for a minor to be married, including the minor's age and the signature of the family member consenting to the marriage and of the justice of the peace. In the case of minors, age is recorded. Sometimes, the name of the minister or magistrate licensed to perform the ceremony is also recorded. The forms, of course, are dated.
The Marriage Certificates are for marriages performed by the Justices of the Peace themselves. (With the exception of a few volumes of certificates returned to Justices of the Peace as proof of marriage, certificates for ceremonies performed by priests, ministers or other celebrants are available only in church records or, after 1870, in the records of the Board of Health.) Although the actual wording of the certificates (usually printed forms) varies over time, all certificates give the following information: date of marriage and names of bride, groom, three witnesses, and the justice of the peace performing the ceremony. Records from the antebellum period, certificates and licenses alike, include some free black persons, and a few slaves. Post-1864 records include all segments of the population.
A card index to the records, arranged by name of bride and groom, is located in the Louisiana Division. Since the page numbers on the cards do not appear in the microfilmed records, it is essential to note the call number (e.g., VEB678) and date shown on an individual card. If you do not find a known or suspected marriage listed in the index, you may want to search for an unindexed document. A guide to the boundaries of Justice of the Peace districts is available in the Louisiana Division.
The transcription of some of these pages was done by members of The New Orleans Volunteers Association (NOVA). New Orleans Public Library staff member Charlie Brown continued the project, WHICH ISNOW COMPLETE!
Go to the index for GROOMS with surnames beginning with letter:|
[A] [B] [C] [D] [E] [F] [G] [H] [I] [J] [K] [L] [M] [Mc] [N] [O] [P] [Q] [R] [S] [T] [U] [V] [W] [XYZ]