Dorset Marriage Index

The Dorset Marriage Index is a computerised index of marriages which took place in the old county of Dorset.

Over a period of years, volunteer members of this society have transcribed the details of marriages from the register books of Dorset parishes, which contain entries made between 1538 ( the commencement of the earliest surviving registers) and 1837 (the start of Civil Registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths)

The Dorset Marriage Index is virtually complete except for entries from registers which have been lost, destroyed, not deposited, or are illegible for a number of reasons. However, where possible, these sources have been augmented by checking with Bishops Transcripts, Phillimore's printed transcripts and a number of other sources.

The details of each marriage entry have been entered onto slips of paper, one each for the groom and bride. The slips, sorted in alphabetical sequence, firstly by surname, secondly by Christian name, form the basis of the Marriage Index enquiry service.

The detail in a register entry can vary between the basic name of bride and groom with date and parish, to a highly detailed entry which records many more facts, including parish of residence, marital state of bride or groom and names of witnesses.

Somerset Marriage Index

The Somerset Marriage Index is divided into two separate datasets:

The Pre-1754 Index 

The Pre-1754 Somerset Marriage Index is a computerised index, started in 1994, which is mainly made up, at the present time, of entries extracted from the printed volumes of Phillimores Somerset Marriages. These are being augmented by extracts from Dwelly's Bishops Transcripts and a small number of Parish Register transcripts which have been donated to the Society, and lodged in its library. Once these sources are exhausted, the systematic extraction of pre-1754 marriages from the Parish registers deposited at the Somerset Record office in Taunton, will be used as the main source of entries for the Index.

In 1751 we changed from the Julian Calendar, where the New Year started on 25th March to the Georgian Calendar where the New Year started on 1st January. To facilitate the transition the 3rd-13th September 1752 was omitted from the calendar. Wherever possible we have tried to keep to the actual dates on which the marriage took place.

The detail on a register entry for the Pre-1754 period can be quite sparse. Witnesses rarely appear. Some entries simply state John Smith was marryed, while others give the spouse's name, parish of residence and marital status. Occasionally an occupation or a parent's name may be mentioned.

The 1754-1837 Index 

The 1754-1837 Somerset marriage Index is a card slip index of marriages which took place in the old county of Somerset (before the 1974 reorganisation).

Over a period of years, volunteer members of this society have transcribed the details of marriages from the register books of Somerset parishes and other sources, which contain entries made between 1754 and 1837 (the start of civil registration of Births, Marriages and Deaths). Because the whole book has been transcribed there are a number of entries before and after the above dates, the earlier ones having been transferred to the pre-1754 Index. The marriage details have been entered onto slips of paper, one each for the groom and the bride. These slips, sorted into alphabetical sequence, are the basis of the Marriage Index enquiry service.

Click here to download a list of parishes (in .rtf format) included in the Index. 

The detail on a register entry varies between a basic name of bride and groom with date and parish, to a highly detailed entry which records many more facts

Database Search

The Society's volunteers can search the database for you. For details of research charges see here.