The most popular hobby for Americans is gardening, but right behind it in second place is genealogy. Finding out as much as possible about your great-great aunt and the people related to her has become a leisure pursuit that went from rummaging through old attics for family documents and photos to conducting online searches of the internet in just a couple of decades.
A popular source of information for genealogy researchers are public records. Death certificates, birth records and marriage records that can now be accessed through online databases, as well as in person, can provide valuable information about the names, race, occupation and more about your ancestors. For example, if your great-great aunt lived in Detroit, Michigan marriage records can help move your research along and possibly lead you to the names of other people who might shed light on your family's history.
Researching Michigan marriage records
Michigan marriage records are available through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Its office of vital records has marriage, death and birth records dating back to 1867, but divorce records only go back as early as 1897.
Limitations on accessing some state records
Privacy laws might limit your access to some vital records. Michigan restricts access to birth records that are less than 100 years old to the following people:
- Party named in the record
- Parent or legal guardian of the child
- An attorney representing the child
- An heir if the child is deceased
- Anyone possessing a court order for the record
Marriage records do not have the same restrictions attached to them, so you can request copies of the records.
Types of copies of Michigan marriage records available to the public
An online or in person request for Michigan marriage records can yield one of four types of copies. The use to which you intend to put the records could determine the type of copy you request. Following are the four types of copies offered by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services:
- Certified Copies: When you ask for a certified copy of Michigan marriage records, you will receive the record printed on security paper with a raised seal. There is a fee to obtain a certified copy. Certification means the copy is the equivalent of the original document for all uses.
- Authenticated Copies: If you need a copy of a marriage or other record for use in an international adoption or to obtain a work visa in another country, many foreign governments require authenticated copies of records that contain an apostille. An apostille authenticates the seal that appears on your copy of the record.
- Veteran's Benefits Copy: A veteran can obtain a free copy of Michigan marriage records. The copy can be used for pension or other purposes related to the individual's military service.
- Verification of Vital Records Facts: Instead of requesting a copy of a marriage record, you can provide the state with information and ask them to verify it as being the same as contained in the official records.
Other resources available to you
Michigan marriage records are accessible through many commercial websites if you prefer doing your research in that manner. Commercial websites might charge fees for their services, so make certain you are aware of them before you begin your search.