Monday, November 07, 2022

Updated Rules for Issuing TN Marriage License(1939)

In March of 1939, the spread of venereal disease was becoming a major health issue--especially syphilis and its side effects.  Tennessee passed requirements that must be met before a marriage license could be issued.  While searching for a marriage from a few years before that time period, I found that the paperwork explaining the requirements were microfilmed along with the marriage records.  This didn't go into effect until July of 1941.  The snippet below from the pages contains the dates.  More information on the requirements and exemptions can be found in the scans of the paper which was tucked in the Rutherford Co TN marriage books and can be read here(You'll need to log in to FamilySearch but registration is free.) 

I did a search of "syphilis outbreak" in the newspapers for Tennessee during the time period from 1930-1945 and found it mentioned many times.  One in particular, the 23 Sep 1941 edition of The Tennessean on page 4 gave some pretty alarming statistics.  Broadening the search to cover the country rather than just Tennessee showed this outbreak was happening all across the USA during that same time period.


"Tennessee, County Marriages, 1790-1950," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 7 Nov 2022), Rutherford > Marriage records, 1936-1939, vol 14-15 > image 311 of 665; citing Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville and county clerk offices from various counties.

“Mens Sana in Corpore Sano,” The Tennessean, 23 Sep 1941, p. 4, col. 2; digital images, ( : accessed 7 Nov 2022).

No comments:

Post a Comment