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Tom Leatherwood
The State of Tennessee required a blood test beginning July 1, 1942. The waiting period may have been different in other states such as Mississippi and Arkansas. The age at which one could get married without parental consent may also have been different in those states. For these and other reasons, many couples traveled to DeSoto County Mississippi to get a marriage license. Crittenden County Arkansas and Marshall County Mississippi were also places to obtain marriage licenses quickly, but were not used nearly as frequently as DeSoto County. DeSoto County marriages are indexed online from about 1954 to the present.

DeSoto County Courthouse
Attn. Circuit Court Clerk
2535 HWY 51 South
Hernando, MS 38632
(662) 429-1325
Crittenden County
Attn. Circuit Court Clerk
100 Court Square
Marion, AR 72364
(870) 739-3248
http://www.desotoms.info/
Marshall County
Attn. Circuit Court Clerk
128 E. Van Dorn Ave.
Holly Springs, MS 38635
(662) 252-3434
http://www.marshallcoms.org/index.php?e=2

Couples who lived or worked in the extreme north or east end of the county may have obtained a marriage license in either Tipton County (north) or Fayette County (east). As of 2009, the Tipton County Clerk had nearly all of their marriages indexed in a computer-and they have no problem doing lookups and providing information over the phone.

Tipton County
Attn. County Clerk
P.O. Box 528
220 HWY 51 North, Suite 2
Covington, TN 38019
(901) 476-0207
http://tiptonco.com/dept_clerk.htm
Fayette County
Attn. County Clerk
P.O. Box 218
Rm 101 Courthouse
Somerville, TN 38068
(901) 465-5213
http://www.fayettetn.us/County Depts/County Clerk2.htm


In many cases, there was no requirement for the bride-to-be to be present at the Clerk's office when the license was obtained, nor did she have to sign the marriage book. As such, while the marriage may have taken place in Shelby County, the marriage license may have been obtained by her husband elsewhere.

In the 1980's, the County Clerk opened up two additional offices to issue marriage licenses-one in Millington and the other in Germantown. These books filled up at different rates, the Millington books taking some two to three years to be completed while the downtown and Germantown books would take only two to four months. Because of this, anyone who does marriage searches must be careful to search ALL books that cover the dates to be searched.

The marriage indexes are arranged by first letter of the last name and then the first vowel in the last name, excluding the first letter of the last name. At the top of every page is the first letter of the last name, the book number, and the dates that the index page covers. Both the groom's and bride's names are cross indexed, with the primary indexed name above and the secondary indexed name below. To the right of the couple's name is the page number in the book.

Some notes to remember about searching the indexes include watching for crossed out vowels. When a clerk "ran out of room" in the O column, they might cross out the U and continue indexing. Handwritten notes of where to continue looking in an index are also common. Be sure that all index pages for a marriage book have been searched-oftentimes the clerk would not fill out the lines all the way to the bottom of the page.