Columbiana County was established in the year 1803-preceding the formation of all but seven Ohio counties. It was the parent county, in whole or in part, to Stark, Wayne, Carroll, and Mahoning counties in Ohio, and it lies adjacent to Beaver County, Pennsylvania; and Hancock County, West Virginia.
Narrower in scope than Mrs. Bell’s prodigious index to Ohio wills above, Columbiana County, Ohio Marriages, 1800-1870 is, nonetheless, no ordinary marriage book. Since many Ohio ministers failed to file returns of marriages with the Columbiana court house and since some Columbiana couples opted to be married in neighboring Pennsylvania, where a marriage license was not required by law, Mrs. Bell did not limit her research to just official marriage bonds and returns. Instead, she broadened her pursuit of marriage “evidences” to wills and other probate records, deeds, birth and death records, and, importantly, to local newspapers, where marriage notices were frequently published. In all, the compiler devoted twenty years, off and on, to compiling the most comprehensive collection of early Columbiana County marriage records we are likely to set our eyes on.
The marriages entries themselves are laid out in a familiar format. The abstracts are arranged alphabetically according to the surname of the groom (a separate index to brides and other persons named in the abstracts may be found at the back of the book). Then follows the maiden name of the bride and the date of the marriage. In many cases, the abstracts also provide the name of the person who performed the ceremony, the site of the marriage, the home town and/or age of the bride and/or groom, and other details. In all, Mrs. Bell has produced a compilation of more than 6,000 marriage entries, many from obscure sources.
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