What Happened in Vegas, Stayed in Vegas…Until Now

Ancestry logo.bmpAncestry has sent out the following press release: 


Infamous Records Tell All – 50 Years of Hook-Ups and Break-Ups Unleashed in Ancestry.com’s Nevada Marriage & Divorce Records Collection; This Valentine’s Day – What’s Love Got to Do with It? Find Out What Really Went On…

PROVO, UTAH – February 7, 2007 – For more than 9 million people who said their ‘I do’s’ and ‘I don’ts’ in Nevada between 1956 and 2005 – the cat’s out of the bag. Ancestry.com, the world’s largest online family history resource, today announced it is unleashing a unique collection of Nevada’s infamous marriage and divorce records.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the collection provides an inside look into this iconic location for marriages and divorces in the United States – from high profile hook-ups and break-ups to nuptials of the common folk. A cross-section of the collection reveals some fascinating and fun facts on getting together, splitting up and everything in between – celebrity sightings, most popular days of the week to get married, percent of marriages that take place in Nevada vs. nationwide, how many marriages take place per minute, number of divorces per capita, shortest marriages of Nevada history, repeat offenders and more.

“Only in Nevada could you find a collection that’s as enlightening as it is light-hearted, amusing and, at times, even absurd,” said Megan Smolenyak, Chief Family Historian at Ancestry.com. “Whether you’re interested in celebrity gossip, statistics on marriage, picking a date for a Vegas wedding, this collection has something for everyone whether you’re researching your family history or simply being nosy.” 

Crunching the data from the collection, Ancestry.com is launching VegasWeddingOdds.com, an online marriage-predicting site, which, based on your first name, will give you the first names of the people you’re most likely to marry in Nevada. At VegasWeddingOdds.com you will be given the Nevada odds that you will, in fact, someday wed that special someone in your life. Visit VegasWeddingOdds.com to get a glimpse of your odds in Vegas.
As icing on the wedding cake, Ancestry.com and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority are partnering to bring the site to life in Las Vegas for Valentine’s Day – the most popular day of the year to tie the knot. Couples waiting in the extra long lines at the Clark County Marriage Bureau for their marriage license can bet on love at a special VegasWeddingOdds.com kiosk to see what’s in the cards before joining the ranks of this collection’s infamous newlyweds. In fabulous Las Vegas-style, couples will be joined by Las Vegas showgirls and Vegas wedding icons as they roll the dice before they walk down the aisle.

Trends, Highlights and History from the Wedding Capital of America on Ancestry.com

High-Profile Hook-Ups:

  • Elizabeth Taylor (as Elizabeth Taylor Todd) married husband No. 4 out of 8, Eddie Fisher, on May 12, 1959, in Las Vegas 
  • Mickey Rooney: Traditional rumors hold that Mickey married 7 of his 8 wives in Las Vegas; however Ancestry.com can confirm only two
  • Elvis Presley & Priscilla (1967)
  • Angelina Jolie (as Angelina Jolie Voight) & Billy Bob Thornton (2000)
  • Bruce Willis (as Walter Bruce Willis) & Demi Moore (1987)
  • Dennis Rodman & Carmen Electra (as Tara Patrick) (1998)
  • Richard Gere & Cindy Crawford (as Cynthia Ann Crawford) (1991)
  • Frank Sinatra (Francis Sinatra) & Mia Farrow (1966)
  • Glynn “Scotty” Wolfe tied the knot with just one of his 29 brides in Nevada

Big-Time Break-Ups:

  • Britney Spears & Jason Alexander, January 2004 in Las Vegas – annulled 55 hours later: One of the shortest marriages in Nevada history
  • Nicky Hilton (as Nicholai Olivia Hilton) & Todd Meister, August 2004 in Las Vegas, annulled November 2004

“I Do” Rates:

  • A couple gets married every three minutes in Nevada
  • Nevada has the highest marriage rate per capita of any state in the United States – 62 marriages per 1,000 people (Hawaii comes in 2nd place with only 22 marriages per 1,000)
  • Odds of someone being married in Nevada rather than somewhere else in the United States are 1 in 17 – in 2004, approximately 7 percent of all U.S. marriages took place in Nevada
  • Between 1970 and 2004, more than 4 million marriages took place in Nevada, the majority in Clark County, home of Las Vegas

The Nevada Wedding Planner’s Guide: Who, When, Where

  • More than 3.5 million California residents have crossed the border to marry in Nevada
  • Eight of the top 10 states of residence for brides and grooms marrying in Nevada are western U.S. states
  • Most popular wedding days in Nevada, in ranked order, include: Valentine’s Day (4.5 times higher than an average day), Saturday before Labor Day, New Years Eve, Fourth of July and New Years Day
  • More than 3,000 weddings took place in Nevada on Valentine’s Day 2004 (that’s more than 2 marriages per minute; almost 131 marriage per hour)
  • Saturday is the most popular Nevada wedding day with an average of 900 marriages taking place every Saturday – 39 percent of weekly Nevada marriages take place on Saturday
  • August is the most popular month for Nevada marriages with an average of 16,000 couples tying the knot in August each year
  • January is the least popular month for marriages

Digging up the Dirt:

  • Search, by name, marriage records of more than 9 million people married in Nevada between 1956 and 2005
  • Each record includes full names of both the bride and groom and marriage date and place; in addition, many also include state of residence for the bride and groom
  • Check the collection to see if that steamy office romance turned into wedding vows during a quick weekend trip to Las Vegas – really, it’s OK
  • Search the records to see if your sister was telling the truth that “nothing happened” between her and the guy she met that one weekend in Vegas last summer.

History of Nevada Marriages & Divorces:

  • Nevada’s reputation as a “marriage Mecca” dates back to Prohibition days, when California’s three-day waiting period on marriage licenses pushed impulsive couples over the Nevada border – where marriage licenses could be obtained immediately
  • Immediate access to marriage licenses is available today in many states, but Nevada remains the nation’s wedding capital; Not only is there something sentimental about getting hitched in Vegas, but there’s 24/7 access to wedding chapels statewide
  • Nevada is also the U.S. divorce capital – In 1931, feeling the economic stress of the Great Depression, Nevada changed its divorce residency requirement to only six weeks; During the Depression, Reno earned the nickname “the divorce capital of the world” 
  • The six-week residency requirement is still in effect today – the lowest requirement in the nation – helping to keep divorce rate in Nevada higher than the national average; Not surprisingly, Clark County grants some 62 percent of Nevada divorces

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, Ancestry.com is offering free access to the Nevada Marriage & Divorce Records Collection for the month of February.

Note: The Nevada marriage and divorce data comes from publicly available records from various Nevada county and State archives.

About Ancestry.com
With more than 5 billion names and 23,000 searchable databases and titles, Ancestry.com is the No. 1 online source for family history information. Since its launch almost a decade ago, Ancestry.com has been the premier resource for family history, simplifying genealogical research for millions of people by providing them with many easy-to-use tools and resources to build their own unique family trees. Ancestry.com received more than 4 million unique site visitors and 295 million page views in November 2006 (© comScore Media Metrix, Worldwide, November 2006).

Media Contact
Julia Burgon
Coltrin & Associates for Ancestry.com
212-221-1616 ext. 124
[email protected]

Tola St. Matthew-Daniel
Coltrin & Associates for Ancestry.com
212-221-1616 ext. 101
[email protected]

4 thoughts on “What Happened in Vegas, Stayed in Vegas…Until Now

  1. I was under the impression that Reno was still the divorce
    capital of the world.

    What about Mexico as a mecca for marriage and divorce?

    I was married in Juarez in 1950, divorced in Reno in 1956.
    Divorce is now easier in the state where I live. You’ll be
    happy to know my second marriage ended only by death after
    48 years.
    (Please do not publish my name.)

    (please do not publish my name.)

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