Nemaha County Courthouse
The marriage records of Nemaha County, Kansas are located in the District Court office. Jane Heinen is the clerk of district court. These records have been microfilmed by the LDS church and are available both at LDS family history centers and at the Kansas Center for Historical Research. The original records are in book form and have been retained by the Nemaha County office.
The earliest marriage record in the county is for Mr. Olne Whitcum and Miss Margaret Catherine Craig, both from the territory of Nebraska, who were married by H. N. Lanham, Justice of the Peace on 26 Feb 1861, according to the laws of the territory of Kansas. This record is recorded as a marriage register entry. The record does not indicate their age nor the identity of their parents. The record also includes the signature and title of the issuing official and the identity of the person officiating the marriage. The identity of a parent is only given when consent for the marriage is necessary. Even though this is the first marriage recorded, the information in the record is typical of the entries in the marriage registry books. The last marriage recorded in the marriage registry book is for 7 Dec 1872.
Beginning with a marriage recorded 28 May 1867, the county switched to licenses and returns. There is an overlap with the registry books until 1872. After 1872, the marriage registry was not continued. The marriage licenses gives the name, age and residence of both the bride and groom along with the signature and title of the issuing official. The identity of a parent is only given when consent for the marriage is necessary. The return provides the date of marriage and the name of the party who performed the wedding. In some cases, the witnesses are recorded.
Beginning in January 1891, the county switched to a book where the affidavit information, marriage license and return were all recorded on the same page. These records provide the name, age and residence of both the bride and groom, the date the licenses was issued, and the date the marriage was performed. The identity of a parent is only given when consent for the marriage is necessary. In addition, the record identifies the person performing the marriage and the signature and title of the official granting the license.
The information contained in the original copies of the application for a marriage license was copied into the marriage books. The original applications from 1904 to 1991 have been transferred to the Nemaha County Historical Society and are available for use in their museum. Some of these papers include the consent forms signed by a parent or guardian. The applications since 1991 are still housed in the courthouse, but will be transferred to the historical society.
Even though the type of record has not changed since the late 1800's the amount of information contained in a record has increased over time. More recent applications contain more specific information, including the names of the witnesses and the address of the church.