I hope to finish the series on the Colony Schools which I started in 2019 but I still need to do a lot of research on them. Due to carpal tunnel I limit my time on the computer. Therefore I am planning on taking off the month of August to work on some other projects. In lieu of the regular columns I am providing information on some of the publications we have available for sale.
In the early years of our county three records were processed for each marriage - marriage bond, marriage license, and the minister’s return or the register for the certificate. If either the bride or groom was under age 21 a permission slip from a parent or guardian was also needed. The groom had to be bonded before a license was issued. That was the law and I assume it was written to protect the bride. I believe the groom or his family member usually posted the bond. The sureties were often completed by the bride’s family but they did not have to be. The surety signature often provides clues concerning the bride’s family. The Marriage License was then given to the groom to take to a minister or someone else who was legally allowed to perform the ceremony. I think the family was allowed to keep the original license but there are some licenses and certificates in the marriage boxes.
The Minister was then supposed to return to the courthouse and certify that he had performed the ceremony. Here is where things get interesting. Many ministers had circuits in more than one county so they did not always return to the courthouse where the license was issued. This means that the groom could take the permission slip to Laurel County and be bonded. He could take the license he received to Clay County and get married there. Then the minister could go to Knox County and record the marriage. That is the reason why you will occasionally find a marriage record in two or possibly three counties. I have found some in two but never in three different counties.
These marriage records are located in the Laurel County Court Clerk’s office on the first floor if you enter from Main Street. You are allowed to go in there and look through them. Most of them are also available online. Any records stored in the boxes such as the permission slips are not online. In our library we have 4 books with copies of many of the early permission slips. Jan Sparkman has labored diligently to fully index those books. We also have three marriage books for sale. Here’s some information about them.
1. Laurel County Marriage Book AA for years 1826-1853 - This was first published in 1986 and revised in 1995. It includes the names of the bride, groom, witnesses and person officiating and
the dates the license was obtained and/or the marriage was performed. The price is $5.00.
2 & 3. Laurel County Marriage Index for Brides and Grooms for the years 1826-1937 - These were published in 1996 in separate volumes for the brides and grooms. Both volumes are arranged alphabetically. This information was transcribed from the microfilm copy of the Groom's Index. The original index is located in the Laurel County Court Clerk's office. Our books only list the names of the bride, groom, and date of license/marriage. We did not attempt to verify information found in the index. The actual records include more information such as the book where the Clerk’s copy of the bond or license is located. The price is $22.00 per volume.
If you can are interested in purchasing any of these books you may drop by the library from 10 to 3 on Monday, Wednesday or Friday. You can also mail a check payable to Laurel County Historical Society with your request to 310 West 3rd Street, London KY 40741. Orders which are mailed will also need to send additional money for postage and handling. That cost is $6 for the first book and $2 each for additional books. If you need additional assistance call us at 606-864-0607 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.