Marriage Records Research

Marriage records are recorded in various forms:

  • legal documents kept by the individual and often filed with the state or county
  • entries recorded in family Bibles
  • compiled sources by organizations or societies
  • reprinted announcements in local newspapers and bulletins
  • recorded events in church records

When seeking information on your ancestor, it is advisable to check all available references, and please remember, the same information is not consistent with every source. Also, depending on the time frame wherein the event occurred, recorded information may vary tremendously.

Most records, regardless of how early, will always list the name of the groom, the name of the bride, the date of the marriage, and the officiating pastor or court representative, and often times, the witnesses. Beyond that, consider yourself lucky if the ages appear, and the location is listed. To find names of parents, residences at time of event, birthplaces of individuals, and other pertinent data, we suggest you seek the “Marriage Application;” however, not all of these have survived nor are all of them complete. However, in many cases it is a greater source of data than the Marriage Record itself.

Researchers must keep in mind the “error factor” recorded in any so-called “official” record. Brides and Grooms did not always give exact information for one reason or another.

If you are seeking a marriage record in Pottawattamie County, we suggest you contact the Pottawattamie County Genealogical Society, P. O. Box 394, Council Bluffs, Iowa, 51502 or email us. We have indexes from the very earliest through 1935.  After that, we need the month and year of the marriage to be able to search for the record.

If you wish to do your own research,
the following information is provided for your convenience.

The marriage records of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, begin in 1848.
From that time through 1903, the applications and/or records have been published by the East Pottawattamie County, Botna Valley Genealogical Society, and are available through:

Iowa Genealogical Society
P. O. Box 7735
Des Moines, IA 50322-7735

The Pottawattamie County Genealogical Society has marriage books available for the following dates:


November 1902 – December 1905

1906-1910    (9,056 names)

1911-1915    (9,604 names)

1916-1920    (9,792 names)

1921-1925    (21,564 names)

1926-1930    (11,648 names)

1931 – 1935 (# of names unknown)

The Avoca Courthouse records book also has marriages from 1885 to 1921. 

To purchase any of these books, please visit here.

Marriage information is also available in our library on the early Mormon families who briefly settled in our county before moving on to Salt Lake City, Utah. The events of the marriages of Latter Days Saints between 1849-1852 were recorded in the local newspaper, the Frontier Guardian.

If you have any questions, or desire further information, please email us.

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