Pennsylvania Philadelphia Marriage Index (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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|This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.|
Access the records: Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Marriage Indexes, 1885-1951 .
Collection Time Period
This index covers recorded marriages in Philadelphia from 1885 to 1951.
The index entries are type written and arranged in columns.
Genealogical facts in the marriage index are:
- Given name (first name)
- Surname of the spouse
- Year of marriage
- Marriage record or certificate number
How to Use the Record
Begin your search by finding your ancestors in the index. Name indexes to marriages make it possible to access a specific marriage record quickly. Remember that these indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.
When searching the index it is helpful to know the following:
- The county where the marriage occurred.
- The name of the person at the time of marriage.
- The approximate marriage date.
- The marriage place.
- The name of the intended spouse.
Use the locator information found in the index (such as page, entry, or certificate number) to locate your ancestors in the marriage records. Some on-line indexes, such as indexes to FamilySearch Historical Records, will take you directly to an image. Compare the information in the marriage record to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct person. You may need to compare the information of more than one person to make this determination.
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.
- Occupations listed can lead you to employment records or other types of records such as military records.
- Use the parent’s birth places to find former residences and to establish a migration pattern for the family.
- 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.
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.
If you are unable to find the ancestors you are looking for, try the following:
- 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.
For a summary of this information see the wiki article: United States, How to Use the Records Summary (FamilySearch Historical Records)
The city and county of Philadelphia were combined in 1854. In 1860, the city passed a law requiring the Board of Health to register all marriages. In 1885, Pennsylvania authorized the Orphans’ Court in each county to register marriages. By 1885, all marriages were supposed to be licensed in Pennsylvania.
Why This Record Was Created
Marriage records validate a spouse’s legal claim to property. Marriage licenses grant permission for a marriage to be performed and replaced the previous requirements to post banns or intentions. The index was created to provide public officials with a quick and easy access to any specific marriage record.
The index is very reliable since it was created from the marriage records. As with any printed index there may be some typographical errors.
Known Issues with This Collection
Problem #1 - When browsing the Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Marriage Indexes 1885-1951 in Record Search, the description says, "Use the license number to find the actual marriage records in the collection." This Wiki Article provides additional information.
Problem #2 - Some of the images are either missing or numbered incorrectly.
For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection, please read the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, feel free to report them at email@example.com. 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.
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Contributions To This Article
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Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
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: How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.
Examples of Source Citations for a Record in This Collection
"Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Marriage Indexes, 1885-1951." index and images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org): accessed 1 April 2011. entry for Frederik John R Jones and Miss Fenner, married 1896; citing Marriage Indexes, digital folder 4,140,444, image 00,113; Philadelphia County Pennsylvania Clerk of the Orphan's Court, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Sources of Information for This Collection
"Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Marriage Indexes, 1885-1951", index and images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org), from Philadelphia County Pennsylvania Clerk of the Orphans' Court. "Pennsylvania Philadelphia marriage license index, 1885-1951." from Clerk of the Orphans Court, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. FHL microfilm, Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.
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