How to Interpret a Marriage Record?

Standard Entry in a Marriage Record 


Latin Terms Appearing in the Form

Numerus Serialis or Nr. posit. (Serial Number or Position Number)
Dies et Mensis Natus et Baptisatus  (Day and Month of Birth and Baptism) Numerus Domus (House Number)
Sponsus (groom)
Sponsa (bride)
Nomen (Name)
Religio (Religion)
Coelebes/Viduus or Vidua/Aetas (Unmarried/Widower or Widow/Age)
filius (son of…)
filia (daughter of…)         sometimes abbreviated for both (fil.)
filius leg. (legitimate son)
filia leg. (legitimate daughter)
fil. leg. (abbreviation for both)
de (of)
de domo (of the house of)
ex (from)
nata (born – with the maiden name)
habit. (in + place name residing in…)
de (+ place name from…)
nat. in (+ place name born in…)
p.d. (post delicta)
deceasedReligio (Religion)
Catholica/Accatholica or Catholica/Ant Alia (Catholic/Non Catholic)
“r.l.” or “r.g.” This stands for Latin Rite (or Roman Catholic) for the first, and Greek Rite (or Greek Catholic/Ukrainian Catholic) for the second.
graeco cath. (Greek Catholic)
rom. cath. (Roman Catholic).
Coelebs/Viduus (for the Groom) (Unmarried/Widower) and
Coelebs/Vidua (for the bride) (Unmarried/Widow)
Aetas (Age)
Testes (Witnesses)
Testes et Conditio (Witnesses and Occupations)


NOTES: When searching for ancestors, never concentrate solely on one village, or even one parish for that matter. Although it’s commonly thought that people never moved great distances outside their birth village, you will find people often marrying into families in neighboring villages and/or parishes.

Numerus Serialis or Nr. posit. (Serial Number or Position Number)

The priest numbered each marriage record sequentially (1, 2, 3, etc.).   Each year the priest started over with number one. This was done to show that no one’s marriage could have been added or removed at a later date.

Dies et Mensis Natus et Baptisatus  (Day and Month of Birth and Baptism)

Note the confusion over the written number of the month, in the case of 7-bris, 8-bris, 9-bris, and 10-bris (or 7ber, 8ber, 9ber, 10ber). These are NOT the numbers correlated to the way we count months today! They are based on the old calendar where the first month of the year wasn’t January, but March. This makes sense if you look at the Latin meaning behind these four months. Study the roots of these months:

Sept” stands for Seven (7) in Latin. Therefore: 7-bris is September, not July “Octo” stands for Eight (8) in Latin. Think of the word “octagon”Novem” stands for Nine (9) in Latin. “Decem” stands for Ten (10) in Latin. Think “decade” or “decagram”

Therefore:  8-bris  is October, not August 9-bris is November, not September 10-bris is December, not October

Numerus Domus (House Number)

Sponsus (groom) and Sponsa (bride)

Under each of these two main columns are the following columns: Nomen (Name) Religio (Religion) Coelebes/Viduus or Vidua/Aetas (Unmarried/Widower or Widow/Age)

Here is each of the categories listed for both the groom and bride.

Nomen (Name)

Some of the early records of the beginning of the 19th Century list only the groom’s and bride’s name. As the years went on, the priest in the parish (both Roman Catholic and Greek Catholic) began to include more information, such as the parents of the newlyweds.

Sometimes, you may find the priest noted the maiden name of both the groom’s and bride’s mother. For showing maiden names, you may find these various Latin terms: Pay particular attention to the names of the spouses. Remarriage was very popular in the event of a spouse’s death. Reasons based on financial, social and religious well being vary for the individual. The surname listed for the woman may be her maiden name, the surname of her first husband, or the surname of her current husband.  In turn, you must be careful of these names in the future. Other information the priest might include, if you’re lucky, pertains to birthplace, current residence, and occupation.

Testes (Witnesses) Testes et Conditio (Witnesses and Occupations)

The priest indicated the name of the witnesses of the marriage, often along with their occupation. Sometimes the priest indicated if the witness was from a different village or parish.

Bottom of the Record

Sometimes a priest wrote a formal statement at the bottom of the marriage record about the marriage agreement. Sometimes, this was not done. Sometimes, the priest simply signed his own name. This statement can be found in Latin, Polish, Ukrainian or even a mix of languages. The priest sometimes included some information here that may not be in the above columns.

This statement often proclaimed that the parents of the newlyweds agree to the marriage. In one case, the name of the father of a groom is not listed in the columns, but appears in the handwritten statement by the priest.


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