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The process of marrying in French societies potentially generated several different records:

  • Pre-marriage investigation (l'information, la diligence, ou certificat de mariage)
  • Parish marriage register entry (certificat de mariage)
  • Marriage dispensation (exemption maritale)
  • Church and civil court records relating to marital relations
  • Dowry inventories and pre-nuptial/post-nuptial contracts

The first two record types on the above list relate to the marriage performed by the parish priest. The third one refers to the application by a future bride and groom to the bishop, and subsequent investigation to waive an impediment to the proposed marriage. The fourth category refers generally to broken promises to marry—lawsuits and prosecutions relating to marital conflicts and annulments found in the diocesan and civil courts. The last items are contracts defining property contributions to and ultimate property distributions from the marriage, often not only involving the bride and groom, but their respective parents as well.


Marriage records for most French countries may include the following information, depending on the time period when they were created:

  • Date of the marriage
  • Given name and surnames of the bride and groom
  • Marital status of the bride and groom
  • Age of the bride and groom
  • Profession of the bride and groom
  • Given names, surnames, residence and birthplaces of the parents
  • Note regarding the reading of the banns
  • Note as to impediments dispensed with
  • Names of witnesses
  • Name or signature of the officiating priest

The information included in these records usually follows a specific order; however, it is not uncommon to find the same information in different order. See example below.​

See also:

French Records Extraction Guide - Chapter 3 : Section 2 - Marriage Entries​​.


Paul Vachon Marriage Record.jpg
  1. Marginal Notes
  2. Temporal Reference Phrase
  3. Place Phrase
  4. Record Date Phrase
  5. General Ceremony Phrase
  6. Groom: Identification Phrase - Name and Origin
  7. Groom: Parents Identification Phrase
  8. Groom: Additional Information
  9. Bride: Identification Phrase - Name and Origin
  10. Bride: Parents Identification Phrase
  11. Bride: Additional Information
  12. Banns Phrase
  13. Confession and Mass Phrase
  14. Priest Phrase
  15. Marriage and Veiling Phrase
  16. Witnesses Phrase
  17. Certification Phrase



M-122 ​​​​​​​​​​​​P.Vachone Marguerite l’Anglois

Le mes​​me jour e tôs apres publication faite de Trois Bans le 12 18 E° 19 0Ct ne s’estant trouvé aucun empeschement le v. p. Barthel(emy) Vimon ayant commision a interrogé Paul Vachone fils de Vincent Vachone e de Sapience Rateau de la Paroisse de Comp-Chamer en poitou, e Marguerite l’Anglois fille de Noel Langlois e Françoise Garnier de cette paroisse, lesquels ayant donné leur mutuel consentement par paroles de present il a solennellement mariés au logis du Sieur de la ferté en presence de tesmoins Eugene, robert Giffar, Seign(eur) de Beauport, Jean Juchereau S(ieur) de la ferté.





M-122 P. Vachone Marguerite l'Anglois

 The same day and shortly after the publication of three banns the 12 18 190 and not being found any objection the v. p. Barthel(emy) Vimon having authority questioned Paul Vachone son of Vincent Vachone and of Sapience Rateau of the Parish of Comp-Chamer in Poitou, and Marguerite l'Anglois daughter of Noel Langlois and Françoise Garnier of this parish, the which having given their mutual consent by words of        present assent he solemnly married at the home of the Mister de la Ferté in the presence of witnesses Eugene, robert Giffar, Seign(eur) of Beauport, Jean Suchereau Lord of la Ferté.


header.png   For more examples of  Marriage parish records c​lick here​​.​

To learn how to find similar additional documents from different countries and years, click here to visit the FamilySearch catalog. ​
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