HomeNewsRunaway Brides: Discovering Historic "Gretna Greens" within the U.S. — Begin Researching...

Runaway Brides: Discovering Historic “Gretna Greens” within the U.S. — Begin Researching | The Global Today

2 January 2023, by Sherri Mastrangelo

When on the lookout for marriage information, you’ll assume the wedding passed off in your ancestor’s place of residence, or the hometown of the bride. However what occurs while you’ve exhausted your search and nonetheless can’t discover any information? The place did your ancestors go to get married, and why? How have you learnt the place to look?

The reply might need one thing to do with “Gretna Greens”, the time period for a well known place for out-of-town marriage ceremony locations.

The phrase got here into use after the Scottish village Gretna Inexperienced grew to become a well-liked marriage ceremony sanctuary for England’s youth within the 18th century. “Positioned on the previous teaching route between London and Edinburgh, Gretna Inexperienced was the primary village reached when you entered Scotland. After Lord Hardwick’s marriage act in 1754 outlawed marriage in England with out paternal consent earlier than the age of 21, younger {couples} began to elope ‘over the border’ to Gretna Inexperienced, the place they might be married at 16 years of age.” (- The Gretna Marriage ceremony Bureau).

Moreover the GWB shares “many an notorious ‘chase’ has taken place alongside that previous teaching path to Gretna Inexperienced, and there are various legendary tales of livid fathers in pursuit all through the night time, all the time reaching Gretna Inexperienced just a bit too late. The residents of the small village of Gretna Inexperienced have been effectively know for serving to run-away {couples} and lots of an inn and watering station alongside the route might be counted on to, ‘by chance’ delay any pursuers, permitting the {couples} to securely attain Gretna Inexperienced.” (- The Gretna Marriage ceremony Bureau)

Within the 18th by way of twentieth centuries, sure places in the USA grew to become referred to as “Gretna Greens”, if not in title then in spirit, as these fashionable marriage ceremony locations normally supplied much less marriage restrictions to these hoping to tie the knot. Not all who traveled to those locations the place underneath age (although it was usually the case). Maybe they have been seeking to keep away from parental consent necessities, for much less of a ready interval, for decrease charges for a license, or to keep away from well being check necessities and medical examinations. Maybe they got here from a dry city and needed to serve alcohol on the reception. Or maybe they simply needed a well-liked and romantic marriage ceremony vacation spot.

Regardless of the case could also be for his or her travels, discovering the place the favored “marriage mills” have been close to your ancestors’ properties would possibly provide help to slim down your search. When figuring out your analysis plan, contemplate the ages of your bride and groom and the wedding legal guidelines throughout the state, in addition to close by states. Did they want a fast marriage for any motive? Was there a beginning shortly after the marriage, or at a younger age? Additionally look if they’d household in neighboring states, or causes to journey.

After getting some thought the place to look, test the free (with registration) information at, looking out the catalog by county for marriage information throughout your time-frame.

Gretna Greens throughout the US could lie simply over the state border, or simply over the Canadian or Mexican border. They is likely to be army posts, or cities alongside the rivers, or alongside the railroad stops. They could have been close to fashionable honeymoon places, like Niagara Falls.

Within the under record of recognized marriage mill places throughout the US, remember every could have been fashionable at totally different instances, relying on state legal guidelines. Additionally concentrate on county borders and modifications over time.


  • Yuma (Yuma County)

  • Salome (La Paz)


  • Texarkana (Miller County)

  • Marion (Crittenden County)


  • Groton (New London)

  • Thompson (Windham)


  • Wilmington (Delaware County)


  • Rome (Floyd)

  • Rossville (Walker County)


  • Bear Lake County

  • Coeur d’Alene (Kootenai County)

  • Payette (Payette)

  • Weiser (Washington)


  • Chicago (Cook dinner County)


  • Angola (Steuben County)

  • Crown Level (Lake County)

  • Evansville (Vanderburgh County)

  • Floyd County

  • Jeffersonville (Clark County)

  • Lawrenceburg (Dearborn County)

  • Valparaiso (Porter County)


  • Keokuk (Lee County)

  • Nashua (Chickasaw County)


  • Bellevue (Johnson County)


  • Ashtabula County

  • Greenup County

  • Maysville (Mason)

  • Pike County


  • Gretna (Jefferson Parish)


  • Elkton (Cecil County)

  • Chestertown (Kent County)

  • Garrett County

  • Hartford County

  • Howard County

  • Rockville (Montgomery County)

  • Westminister (Carroll County)


  • Lowell (Middlesex)


  • Port Huron (St. Clair County)

  • St. Joseph (Berrien County)


  • Moorhead (Clay County)

  • Waukegan (Lake County)

  • Winona County


  • Alcorn County

  • DeSoto County

  • Tishomingo County


  • Liberty (Clay County)


  • Omaha (Douglas County)


  • Las Vegas (Clark)

  • Reno (Washoe)

  • Wendover (Elko)

  • West Wendover (Elko)

  • Winnemucca (Humboldt)

New Hampshire

  • Seabrook (Rockingham County)

New Mexico

  • Curry County

  • Raton (Colfax)

New York

  • Buffalo (Eirie County)

  • Crown Level (Essex County)

  • Kings County

  • New York Metropolis

  • Niagara Falls (Niagara County)

  • Ogdensburg (St. Lawrence)

North Carolina

  • Mount Ethereal (Surry)


  • Aberdeen (Brown)

  • Bowling Inexperienced (Wooden County)

  • Cincinnati (Hamilton)


  • Love County

  • Bryan County


  • Media (Delaware County)

  • Pittsburgh (Allegheny)

  • Studying (Berks)

  • Washington County


  • Gatlinburg (Sevier County)

  • Roane County


  • Liberty County

  • Orange County

  • Fort Bend County


  • Farmington (Davis)


  • Alexandria (Fairfax)

  • Frederiksburg

  • Manassas (Prince William)

  • Warrenton (Fauquier County)

  • Winchester (Frederick County)


  • Port Orchard (Kitsap)

  • Clark County

  • Skamania County

West Virginia

  • Level Nice (Mason)

  • Wellsburg (Brooke County)

  • West Alexander (Washington)

  • Wheeling (Ohio County)


  • Evanstan (Uinta County)

Have any extra so as to add to the record? Please share through feedback or e-mail.

Sources & Extra Info:

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