White

English translation: from the white book (records of marriages between white people)

GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
English term or phrase:White
Selected answer:from the white book (records of marriages between white people)
Entered by: Charles Davis

07:45 Sep 27, 2011
English language (monolingual) [PRO]
Certificates, Diplomas, Licenses, CVs / Marriage license record
English term or phrase: White
Could you please help me understand what the word "white" means in the following statement?

Marriage license record - white.

The record was made in the State of Mississippi.
Zoya Nayshtut
Russian Federation
Local time: 22:46
from the white book (records of marriages between white people)
Explanation:
It could be, as Demi suggests, that "white" refers here to the white of official copy of the marriage certificate, as opposed to the blue "souvenir" copy retained by the couple. I do not know whether this practice exists in Mississippi, but even if it does, it seems to me that "white", in these terms, is a tautology: all official vital records are "white", so there seems no reason to specify that on the certificate.

I think this is to do with race, and with segregated record-keeping in Mississippi.

It comes as no great surprise to learn that, after the Civil War, "separate books for African-American marriages were kept [in Mississippi"
Alice Eichholz, Red book: American state, county & town sources, p. 367
http://books.google.es/books?id=chC81in93GUC&pg=PA367&lpg=PA...

There were "white", "colored" and "mixed" books:
"Miss Emma Giles married James Clearman on March 9, 1899. The record appears on pg. 219 of the Perry County [Mississippi] Colored Marriage Book covering the dates of August 17, 1897 through January 4, 1900, which is currently housed in the Forrest County courthouse system. The marriage books for the region were divided into either white, colored, or mixed races."
http://webpages.charter.net/djyontz/066.html

This was still going on up to 1960:
"Lauderdale County [Mississippi] MS Marriage Records Lookups by Elizabeth Hagwood
Marriage Records 1800 to 1960 (white book)"
http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~mslauder/marrage/marr-04.h...

But in 1977, after the Civil Rights legislation? Apparently so, at least in rural Alabama, according to an article in the Lawrence Journal-World dated July 21st, 1991:
"A Civil War-era custom of recording marriages in books marked "white" and "colored" is still practiced in rural Chambers County.
At the red-brick courthouse, where the civil rights movie "Mississippi Burning" was filmed, probate office workers conceded that having segregated records seems outdated, but they said there is nothing sinister about it. [...]
In the case of interracial marriages, 'you have to write it down in both books', said one probate clerk."
http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2199&dat=19910721&id=S...

If the practice survived until the 1990s in Chambers County, Alabama, and only came to light by chance, it seems perfectly possible, indeed quite likely, that the same thing was still going on in Mississippi in 1977.
Selected response from:

Charles Davis
Spain
Local time: 19:46
Grading comment
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



SUMMARY OF ALL EXPLANATIONS PROVIDED
4 +3from the white book (records of marriages between white people)
Charles Davis
4marriage officially authorized
Vaddy Peters
3White form - official record
Demi Ebrite
Summary of reference entries provided
In support of Charles' suggestion
Alison MacG

Discussion entries: 9





  

Answers


10 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
white
marriage officially authorized


Explanation:
the couple is authorized to marry either by a church or state authority

Vaddy Peters
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
white
White form - official record


Explanation:

Each state seems to have different laws and formalities regarding the marriage certificate, license, and official documentation.

In most states, ministers who perform marriages must file the marriage certificate within a certain amount of time after the marriage is performed to create an official record which is attached to the license and filed with the county and state.

The reference URL notes that the "white" form must be filed, while the "blue" form is the fancy, souvenir record for the bride and groom.

In this case, it may be that the title "white" is the name of the form.




    Reference: http://www.co.washoe.nv.us/repository/files/24/Minister%20vi...
Demi Ebrite
United States
Local time: 12:46
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +3
white
from the white book (records of marriages between white people)


Explanation:
It could be, as Demi suggests, that "white" refers here to the white of official copy of the marriage certificate, as opposed to the blue "souvenir" copy retained by the couple. I do not know whether this practice exists in Mississippi, but even if it does, it seems to me that "white", in these terms, is a tautology: all official vital records are "white", so there seems no reason to specify that on the certificate.

I think this is to do with race, and with segregated record-keeping in Mississippi.

It comes as no great surprise to learn that, after the Civil War, "separate books for African-American marriages were kept [in Mississippi"
Alice Eichholz, Red book: American state, county & town sources, p. 367
http://books.google.es/books?id=chC81in93GUC&pg=PA367&lpg=PA...

There were "white", "colored" and "mixed" books:
"Miss Emma Giles married James Clearman on March 9, 1899. The record appears on pg. 219 of the Perry County [Mississippi] Colored Marriage Book covering the dates of August 17, 1897 through January 4, 1900, which is currently housed in the Forrest County courthouse system. The marriage books for the region were divided into either white, colored, or mixed races."
http://webpages.charter.net/djyontz/066.html

This was still going on up to 1960:
"Lauderdale County [Mississippi] MS Marriage Records Lookups by Elizabeth Hagwood
Marriage Records 1800 to 1960 (white book)"
http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~mslauder/marrage/marr-04.h...

But in 1977, after the Civil Rights legislation? Apparently so, at least in rural Alabama, according to an article in the Lawrence Journal-World dated July 21st, 1991:
"A Civil War-era custom of recording marriages in books marked "white" and "colored" is still practiced in rural Chambers County.
At the red-brick courthouse, where the civil rights movie "Mississippi Burning" was filmed, probate office workers conceded that having segregated records seems outdated, but they said there is nothing sinister about it. [...]
In the case of interracial marriages, 'you have to write it down in both books', said one probate clerk."
http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2199&dat=19910721&id=S...

If the practice survived until the 1990s in Chambers County, Alabama, and only came to light by chance, it seems perfectly possible, indeed quite likely, that the same thing was still going on in Mississippi in 1977.

Charles Davis
Spain
Local time: 19:46
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 20
Notes to answerer
Asker: Charles, thank you very much for your extensive research.


Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Demi Ebrite: This is fantastic information! I am amending my response here, Charles, as your references and Alison's supporting refs add up. Apparently, AL and MS have not updated laws in several hundred years! :-) I have enjoyed perusing the information. Great work!
1 hr
  -> Thanks, Demi! I was really impressed by your white/blue thing // That's very generous of you; I appreciate it. Somehow it seems plausible that this practice should have survived in MS: general bureaucratic inertia plus ingrained resistance to integration.

agree  Alison MacG: I am inclined to agree with this interpretation (see also reference section)
3 hrs
  -> Many thanks for this, Alison, and for the additional references!

agree  jccantrell: If we had a date for the document, we could be more certain, but this is what occurred to me too.
4 hrs
  -> Thank you, JC! Zoya tells us in the discussion that the certificate is dated 1977. It seems a little surprising that they still had a "white book" as late as this, but old habits die hard, I guess.
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Reference comments


6 hrs peer agreement (net): +1
Reference: In support of Charles' suggestion

Reference information:
This assumes that "Marriage License Record - White" is the title of the volume from which a certified extract/copy is taken/made.

Marriages
41. MARRIAGE LICENSE RECORD (White), Aug. 1, 1936--. 1 vol. (3). Transcripts of the various marriage documents, including: application for marriage license, physician’s certificate, consent to the marriage of a minor, marriage bond, marriage license, marriage certificate, and probate judge’s certificate of authenticity of record. Arr. chron. by date application entered. Indexed alph. by initial letters of groom’s surname and chron. thereunder by date of entry.
42. MARRIAGE LICENSE RECORD (Negro), Aug. 1, 1936--. 2 vols. (19, 20). Transcripts of the various marriage documents as in entry 52.
http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=qBlGAQAAIAAJ&q="marriage ...

MARRIAGE AND BOND BOOKS 1-14
1 Marriage License Record Apr. 1823 - Sept. 1825
2 Marriage License Record White Dec. 1827 - Nov. 1834
3 Marriage License Record White Jan. 1835 - Apr. 1840, etc.
The markings on the spines of these volumes are as indicated above but records of marriage of free persons of color are included.
http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=uxK_YM-fxGUC&pg=PP5&dq="m...

1. Certified copy of Marriage License Record maintained by the Circuit Court of Lamar County, MS (Page 76, Marriage License Record-White) and original Marriage License
http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com/users/c/l/e/Aaron-R-Cle...

Hussey, Index to Marriage License Records - White - 1898 to 12/31/02, Geneva County, AL
http://boards.ancestry.com/localities.northam.usa.states.ala...

Alison MacG
United Kingdom
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish

Peer comments on this reference comment (and responses from the reference poster)
agree  Demi Ebrite: Good research!
3 hrs
  -> Many thanks, Demi.
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