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Oregon Marriage Licenses and other Vital Records (with a side of baby names)


If you get your marriage license in one Oregon county and get married in another, where can you get a certified copy of your marriage license 30 years later?

This is a slightly different question from the one I answered a little while ago: How do I find out if someone in Oregon or Washington is married? But the research is similar – and the following information also applies to Domestic Partnership records.

1) Check the Oregon county where you got your marriage license (the issuing county), not the one where the ceremony was held. Or, preferably (assuming a certain passage of time), contact the Oregon Center for Health Statistics, where you will find the Oregon’s vital records office, the resting place for Oregon birth, marriage, divorce, and death records.

(You can also find a database of Oregon Baby Names at the OCHS website – who knew?)

2) After a county issues a marriage license, there is a waiting period and then the couple can get married in any county in Oregon within a certain time period (that’s why the place and date are on the license). The marriage certificate that the officiant fills out isn’t official proof of marriage. (See instructions for officiants.)

3) After recording, counties send the original marriage license to the Vital Records Office in Portland. The county of issue is where the license is recorded and no additional cross referencing is currently done.

4) In the past, there was a period of time when there was an affidavit of sorts recorded in the county of marriage when the license was recorded in the county of purchase. When counties run across these “affidavits“, they might be able to certify a copy for someone, but generally in those cases, the parties are urged to get a certified copy from the state vital records or the county of purchase, instead. These affidavits are helpful when people are doing genealogical research, but would probably not be accepted as the best proof of marriage for someone wishing a certified copy for that purpose.

5) 2007 ORS 106.100 says “The county clerk who issues the marriage license shall maintain records relating to marriages licensed in the county.” 2007 ORS 106.170 says “A person solemnizing a marriage shall, within 10 days after the marriage ceremony, complete the original application, license and record of marriage form and deliver the form to the county clerk who issued the marriage license.”

6) Sample marriage license (aka certificate) webpages:
Washington County Marriage License Application
Multnomah County Marriage License Application
Oregon Center for Health Statistics, Vital Records

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