The Dorset Marriage Index was compiled by the Somerset & Dorset Family History Society from Dorset parish registers. The index covers about 150,000 marriages, dating from 1538, of which all but a thousand are pre-1837; it includes all the marriages that the Society has been able to find in the Dorset Record Office and other sources. As far as possible it is complete up to 1837 and has been double checked. Most records were transcribed from the original parish registers, some from the Bishops Transcripts, and some from non-conformist circuit registers.
While most marriages were by banns, some were by licence. Whether the marriage was by banns or licence, the record is of the actual marriage, not of the reading of banns or of the issuing of the licence.
As well as the names of the married couple, the witness names are also included, so that the index contains over half a million names in total.