Pennsylvania, County Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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{{Record_Search_articles
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{{FamilySearch Collection
 
|CID=CID1589502
 
|CID=CID1589502
|title=Pennsylvania County Marriages, 1885-1950
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|title=Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885-1950
|location=United States}}  
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|location=United States}} <br>
  
== Record Description<br> ==
+
== Record Description ==
  
Most of the records consist of marriage licenses, certificates, applications, docket books, and affidavits. Most are in bound volumes but there are some loose records. Marriages were recorded to legalize marital relationships and to safeguard the interests of the wife and other heirs.  
+
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.  
  
<br>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.
+
As of 2009, no marriage records are included for the following counties:  
 
+
<br>
+
 
+
== Record History<br> ==
+
 
+
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 Probably due to lack of compliance, the law was repealed in 1855.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.
+
 
+
No marriage records are included at present for the following counties:  
+
  
 
*Centre  
 
*Centre  
Line 34: Line 20:
 
No records are included for the city of Philadelphia and Philadelphia County. They are available as a separate collection.  
 
No records are included for the city of Philadelphia and Philadelphia County. They are available as a separate collection.  
  
=== Record Content<br> ===
+
For a list of records currently published in this collection, select the [https://familysearch.org/search/image/index#uri=https%3A//familysearch.org/records/collection/1589502/waypoints Browse] link from the collection landing page.
 +
 
 +
=== Coverage Table  ===
 +
 
 +
{{Coverage Table Feedback}} Coverage tables for this collection are available in the following wiki articles:
 +
 
 +
*[[Pennsylvania County Marriages Coverage Table A-F (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]
 +
*[[Pennsylvania County Marriages Coverage Table G-M (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]
 +
*[[Pennsylvania County Marriages Coverage Table N-R (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]
 +
*[[Pennsylvania County Marriages Coverage Table S-Z (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]
 +
 
 +
== Record Content ==
 +
 
 +
<gallery>
 +
Image:Pennsylvania County Marriages 1885-1950 (09-0015) DGS 004411327 00506.jpg|Marriage Record
 +
</gallery>
  
 
The following information may be found on a marriage license that was recorded between 1885 and 1913:  
 
The following information may be found on a marriage license that was recorded between 1885 and 1913:  
  
 
*Full names of the bride and groom  
 
*Full names of the bride and groom  
*Birth dates and places of the bride and groom  
+
*Date and place of marriage
*Occupations
+
*Current residence(s) of the bride and groom  
*Current residence
+
*Age, race, occupation and nativity of bride and groom
*Previous marriage
+
*Notes of a previous marriage
*Whether or not the parties are related
+
*Names of parents
*Date of the license
+
*Notes of parental consent, if required
 +
*Date of the license  
 +
*Name of person performing the ceremony
  
In addition to the previous information, marriage licenses after 1913 may also include [[Image:Pennsylvania County Marriages 1885-1950 (09-0015) DGS 004411327 00506.jpg|thumb]]the following:  
+
In addition to the previous information, marriage licenses after 1913 may also include the following:  
  
*Race
+
*Maiden name of mothers
*Name of the father and mother
+
*Birthplaces of the father and mother
*Birthplaces of the father and mother  
+
*Mother’s maiden name
+
  
If the duplicate marriage certificate has been returned, it will include the following:
+
== How to Use the Record  ==
  
*Names of the bride and groom
+
To begin your seacrh it is helpful to know the following:
*Date and place of the marriage
+
*Signatures of the witnesses
+
*Name of official or minister performing the ceremony
+
  
== How to Use the Record  ==
+
*The county where the marriage occurred
 +
*The names of the bride and groom at the time of marriage
 +
*The approximate marriage date and place
  
Marriage records are the best source for the identification of a family unit and marriage event details. The records are a great source for the legal names of the bride (including her maiden name) and the groom.
+
==== Search the Collection  ====
  
ther research clues may include the name of the officiator, ages, occupations, parents’ names, birthplaces, birth dates, residences, and consent statements. Anyone under age 21 was considered a minor.  
+
Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to find your ancestor. Keep in mind:
  
Obtaining a license when one or both parties were under this age required the consent of a parent or guardian. In that case, a separate form was filed which gave permission for the minor to marry.  
+
*There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
 +
*You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
 +
*Your ancestor may have used different names or variations of their name throughout their life.
 +
 
 +
For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line video at [http://broadcast.lds.org/familysearch/2011-12-03-familysearch-search-tips-1000k-eng.mp4 FamilySearch Search Tips].
 +
 
 +
==== Using the Information  ====
 +
 
 +
When you have located your ancestor’s marriage record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family. For example:
 +
 
 +
*Use the marriage date and place as the basis for compiling a new family group or for verifying existing information.
 +
*Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth of each partner to find a couple's birth records and parents' names.
 +
*Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth to find the family in census records.  
 +
*Use the residence and names of the parents to locate church and land records.
 +
*The name of the officiator is a clue to their religion or area of residence in the county. However, ministers may have reported marriages performed in other counties.
 +
*Compile the marriage entries for every person who has the same surname as the bride or groom; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual.
 +
*Continue to search the marriage records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives of the bride and groom who may have married in the same county or nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family or even the second marriage of a parent. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify.
 +
*Use the marriage number to identify previous marriages.
 +
*When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
 +
 
 +
==== Tips to Keep in Mind  ====
 +
 
 +
*The information in marriage records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the informant.
 +
*Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1800s.
 +
*There is also some variation in the information given from one marriage record to another record.
 +
 
 +
==== Unable to Find Your Ancestor?  ====
 +
 
 +
*Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
 +
*Search for the marriage record of the marriage partner if known.
 +
*Check for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume.
 +
*Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.
 +
 
 +
==== General Information About These Records  ====
 +
 
 +
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.&nbsp;
 +
 
 +
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.&nbsp;
 +
 
 +
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.&nbsp;
 +
 
 +
Counties in the state generally achieved 90 percent compliance by 1915.&nbsp;
  
 
== Known Issues with This Collection  ==
 
== Known Issues with This Collection  ==
  
{{HR Known Issues}}For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached [[Pennsylvania_County_Marriage_Records_(FamilySearch_Historical_Records)/Known Issues|Wiki article]]. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to [mailto:support@familysearch.org support@familysearch.org]. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.
+
{{HR Known Issues}}For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached [[Pennsylvania County Marriage Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)/Known Issues|Wiki article]]. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to [mailto:support@familysearch.org support@familysearch.org]. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.  
  
 
== Related Websites  ==
 
== Related Websites  ==
  
''This section of the article is incomplete. You can help FamilySearch Wiki by supplying links to related websites here.''
+
*[http://usgwarchives.net/marriages/pennsylvania/pennsylvania.htm US GenWeb Archives]
 +
*[http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/vital_records/8736/pennsylvania_marriage_and_divorce_records Pennsylvania Marriage and Divorce Records]
 +
*[http://www.alleghenycounty.us/wo/rec.aspx Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, How To Obtain a Marriage Record]
 +
*[http://www.buckscounty.org/government/rowofficers/registerofwills/marriagelicenses.aspx Bucks County Marriage Records]
  
== Related Wiki Articles<br> ==
+
== Related Wiki Articles ==
  
[[Pennsylvania Vital Records]]  
+
*[[Pennsylvania|Pennsylvania]]<br>
 +
*[[Pennsylvania Vital Records]]
  
<br>
+
== Contributions To This Article ==
 
+
== Contributor Invite ==
+
  
 
{{Contributor_invite}}  
 
{{Contributor_invite}}  
  
 
== Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections  ==
 
== Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections  ==
 +
 +
Citations for individual image records are available for this collection. Browse through images in this collection and click on the "Show Citation" box: [https://familysearch.org/search/image/index#uri=https://familysearch.org/records/collection/1589502/waypointsPennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885-1950]
  
 
When you copy information from a record, you should also list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.  
 
When you copy information from a record, you should also list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.  
  
A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the Wiki Article: [[Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections]].  
+
A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the Wiki Article: [[Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections]].
 +
 
 +
=== Citation for This Collection  ===
  
==== Examples of a Source Citation for a&nbsp; Marriage Record In This Collection  ====
+
The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Record collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.
  
*“Pennsylvania County Marriages Records, 1885-1950,” database and digital images, ''FamilySearch ''([https://www.familysearch.org:13 https://www.familysearch.org:13] March 2012), &gt;6040106327&gt;image&nbsp;40 of 691, images, Barney Shoop and Viola Whaffle, 1890;<!--bibdescbegin--> FamilySearch ([http://familysearch.org http://familysearch.org]); citing &nbsp;Digital images of originals housed at various county courthouses in the State of Pennsylvania. Marriage records. FHL microfilm. Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah. <!--bibdescend-->
+
{{Collection citation | text= "Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885-1950." Index and Images. <i>FamilySearch</i>. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013.}}
  
A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the Wiki Article: [[Help:How to Create Source Citations For FamilySearch Historical Records Collections]]
+
[[Pennsylvania County Marriage Records (FamilySearch Historical Records)#Citation_Example_for_a_Record_Found_in_This_Collection|Suggested citation format for a record in this collection.]]

Revision as of 20:14, 7 November 2013

FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.

Contents

Record Description

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.

As of 2009, no marriage records are included for the following counties:

  • Centre
  • Lycoming
  • Mifflin
  • Monroe
  • Pike
  • Union counties
  • Lackawanna (before 1926)

No records are included for the city of Philadelphia and Philadelphia County. They are available as a separate collection.

For a list of records currently published in this collection, select the Browse link from the collection landing page.

Coverage Table

Coverage tables for this collection are available in the following wiki articles:

Record Content

The following information may be found on a marriage license that was recorded between 1885 and 1913:

  • 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

In addition to the previous information, marriage licenses after 1913 may also include the following:

  • Maiden name of mothers
  • Birthplaces of the father and mother

How to Use the Record

To begin your seacrh it is helpful to know the following:

  • The county where the marriage occurred
  • The names of the bride and groom at the time of marriage
  • The approximate marriage date and place

Search the Collection

Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to find your ancestor. Keep in mind:

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
  • Your ancestor may have used different names or variations of their name throughout their life.

For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line video at FamilySearch Search Tips.

Using the Information

When you have located your ancestor’s marriage record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family. For example:

  • Use the marriage date and place as the basis for compiling a new family group or for verifying existing information.
  • Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth of each partner to find a couple's birth records and parents' names.
  • Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth to find the family in census records.
  • Use the residence and names of the parents to locate church and land records.
  • The name of the officiator is a clue to their religion or area of residence in the county. However, ministers may have reported marriages performed in other counties.
  • Compile the marriage entries for every person who has the same surname as the bride or groom; this is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual.
  • Continue to search the marriage records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives of the bride and groom who may have married in the same county or nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family or even the second marriage of a parent. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify.
  • Use the marriage number to identify previous marriages.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • The information in marriage records is usually reliable, but depends upon the reliability of the informant.
  • Earlier records may not contain as much information as the records created after the late 1800s.
  • There is also some variation in the information given from one marriage record to another record.

Unable to Find Your Ancestor?

  • Check for variant spellings of the surnames.
  • Search for the marriage record of the marriage partner if known.
  • Check for a different index. There are often indexes at the beginning of each volume.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby counties.

General Information About These Records

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. 

Known Issues with This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to support@familysearch.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Related Websites

Related Wiki Articles

Contributions To This Article

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. Guidelines are available to help you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide. If you would like to get more involved join the WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

Citations for individual image records are available for this collection. Browse through images in this collection and click on the "Show Citation" box: County Marriages, 1885-1950

When you copy information from a record, you should also list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.

A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the Wiki Article: Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.

Citation for This Collection

The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Record collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.

"Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885-1950." Index and Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013.

Suggested citation format for a record in this collection.