I'm seeking to better understand the history of how marriage licenses came about, and specifically, the transition from cohabitation and public announcement of the marriage to requiring a literal certification of the marriage from a civil authority. I'm told that English common law allowed marriages to be certified and tracked by local parish vicars who did not communicate with one-another when checking to see if someone had already been married, and that this role was taken over by the state governments around the time of the formation of the United States. If this is true that seems to be a topic that would have a large amount of lore surrounding the adoption of such a change as a handover of marriage certification between "the first two estates" of society.
My interest was kindled by an actual historical legal case in the United States, where a woman named Ella Chase believed herself to be in a common law marriage but was informed by the courts that her husband was permitted to "remarry" without getting a divorce. For more information on her case I have provided the following: