If you're in search of marriage records in California, there are several things you must know. Running down these records can be easy for some and a challenge for others. Eventually most people find the records they need, but it may take some patience and perseverance. Plenty of solid online resources are out there to help you in your search, and because you're looking in California, you may be in lucky. The records there are better than in other parts of the country. If you're on the hunt for marriage records in California, here are some things to know.
There is no centralized database of marriage records in the US
If you know about the NCIC for criminal background checks, you might think there's a great resource for marriage records just the same. Unfortunately you'd be wrong. For one reason or another, there is not a great national database you can use to find what you need. Don't let this dishearten you, though. This just means you'll have to get a little more creative with your search to find what you need.
A free online search is a good place to start
Google will almost certainly return some marriage records in California, but you may have to dig a level deeper than that to find the things you need. A free records search for marriage records in California will provide most people with what they need. Keep in mind that these searches are only as good as the information you bring to the table. If the person you're searching has undergone a few name changes, you might have more difficulty finding what you need in a free search. The good news is that you have very little to lose by searching in this way, so you should go ahead and fire away with the free search.
Enlisting the help of an investigator to run down hard-to-find records
If you're struggling to find the critical record you must have, it's always possible to use a private investigator to help you. In some cases, private investigators will have access to databases you can't find online. In other cases, PIs can run down the information you need to facilitate your own search. This will be expensive, so it should only be used as a last resort for people who can't make good use of online resources. Still, if you're after hard-to-find records and they seem to be eluding you, then enlisting the help of a PI is always a good idea.
People looking for marriage records in California will have more success than, say, a person searching for records in the heart of the unorganized South. In most cases, you should find what you're looking for, including marriage information, divorce information, and any court filings to that effect. Just know that you may have to do two or three levels of searching to finally get what you need. Don't give up hope if your first searches are fruitless. There are always options for people who truly want the information. Just how bad do you need to know about that marriage record you're after?