Pennsylvania, County Marriages - FamilySearch Historical Records
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Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885-1950
|This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.|
|Flag of Pennsylvania|
|Location of Pennsylvania|
|Pennsylvania County Courts|
- 1 What is in This Collection?
- 2 What Can These Records Tell Me?
- 3 Collection Content
- 4 How Do I Search This Collection?
- 5 What Do I Do Next?
- 6 Known Issues
- 7 Citing This Collection
What is in This Collection?[edit | edit source]
This collection includes civil marriage records created in Pennsylvania counties for the years 1885 to 1950. The records include registers, affidavits and marriage licenses. In some instances, divorce records are recorded with marriages. Some records for the city of Philadelphia and Philadelphia County are included. Most indexed records for the city and county of Philadelphia can be found in Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Marriage Indexes, 1885-1951.
Marriages were recorded to legalize marital relationships and to safeguard the interests of the wife and other heirs. The most reliable information is the date and place of the marriage and license date. Other information is dependent upon the reliability of the informant.
On January 12, 1852, the Pennsylvania Legislature enacted its first statewide law requiring the registration of vital records, including marriages. Probably due to lack of compliance, the law was repealed in 1855. On October 1, 1885, a new law went into effect that made it illegal for any “minister of the gospel, justice of the peace, or other officers, or persons authorized by law to solemnize marriages” to marry any couple who did not first obtain a marriage license. Since then, marriage licenses have been recorded without interruption with the Clerk of the Orphans’ Court within each county. Before 1885, marriage records created by ministers, justices of the peace, and larger cities may still be kept by the originator, but the bulk of the marriages recorded in Pennsylvania are in this collection. Counties in the state generally achieved 90 percent compliance by 1915.
Image Visibility[edit | edit source]
Whenever possible FamilySearch makes images and indexes available for all users. However, rights to view these data are limited by contract and subject to change. Because of this there may be limitations on where and how images and indexes are available or who can see them. Please be aware some collections consist only of partial information indexed from the records and do not contain any images. For additional information about image restrictions see Restrictions for Viewing Images in FamilySearch Historical Record Collections.
To Browse This Collection[edit | edit source]
|You can browse through images in this collection using the waypoints on the Collection Browse Page for Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885-1950.|
What Can These Records Tell Me?[edit | edit source]
The following information may be found in these records:
- Full names of the bride and groom
- Date and place of marriage
- Current residence(s) of the bride and groom
- Age, race, occupation and nativity of bride and groom
- Notes of a previous marriage
- Names of parents
- Notes of parental consent, if required
- Date of the license
- Name of person performing the ceremony
- Maiden name of mothers
- Birthplaces of the father and mother
Collection Content[edit | edit source]
Sample Image[edit | edit source]
Coverage Table[edit | edit source]
This table shows the number of record in this collection for each county. To search a specific county click the link in the Search column.
Digital Folder List[edit | edit source]
This collection was originally published as a DGS browse collection. These collections do not include any human-readable waypoint data making them difficult to use. A table showing each DGS number and its contents can be found in Pennsylvania, County Marriages Digital Folder Number List. The list can be sorted by DGS number, GS number, county, author, title, and film note.
How Do I Search This Collection?[edit | edit source]
Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:
- The name of your ancestor
- The approximate date of marriage
Search the Index[edit | edit source]Search by name on the Collection Details Page.
- Fill in the search boxes in the Search Collection section with the information you know
- Click Search to show possible matches
View the Images[edit | edit source]View images in this collection by visiting the Collection Browse Page:
- Select County
- Select Record Type, Date Range and volume to view the images
|More images are available in the FamilySearch Catalog at Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885-1950. Some catalog records link to multiple references. In this case, click on a reference to find a camera icon to see images.|
How Do I Analyze the Results?[edit | edit source]
Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.
What Do I Do Next?[edit | edit source]
Whenever possible, view the original records to verify the information and to find additional information that might not be reported. These pieces of information can lead you to additional records and family members.
I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]
- Add any new information to your records
- Use the information to find other vital records such as birth and death
- Use the information to find additional family members i census records
- Search for land and probate records
- Search for church records
I Can’t Find the Person I’m Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]
- Collect entries for every person who has the same surname. This list can help you identify possible relatives
- If you cannot locate your ancestor in the locality in which you believe they lived, then try searching records of a nearby locality
- Standard spelling of names typically did not exist. Try variations of your ancestor’s name
- Remember that sometimes individuals went by nicknames or alternated between using first and middle names, or even initials
Research Helps[edit | edit source]
The following articles will help you in your research for your family in the state of Pennsylvania.
Known Issues[edit | edit source]
Citing This Collection[edit | edit source]
Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.
When looking at a record, the citation can be viewed by clicking the drop-down arrow next to Document Information.
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.