Pennsylvania Philadelphia Marriage Index (FamilySearch Historical Records)
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Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Marriage Indexes, 1885-1951 .
|This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.|
|Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States|
|Flag of Pennsylvania|
|Location of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania|
|Location of Pennsylvania|
- 1 What is in the Collection?
- 2 Collection Content
- 3 What Can this Collection Tell Me?
- 4 How Do I Search the Collection?
- 5 What Do I Do Next?
- 6 Known Issues with This Collection
- 7 Citing this Collection
- 8 How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?
What is in the Collection?
The collection consists of marriage indexes from Philadelphia for the years 1885 to 1951. The marriage indexes are arranged by the names of brides and grooms with the year of the marriage and the license number. The surname of the spouse is shown in parentheses. Use the license numbers listed in the index to find copies of the marriage license records. Microfilm containing marriage license records for years 1885-1915 can be located in the FamilySearch "Affidavit of applicant for marriage license (Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania), 1885-1915; index, 1885-1916" collection, and viewed at the Family History Library and Family History Centers. Marriage license records for years 1916-1951 are available at the City Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
|You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Marriage Indexes, 1885-1951.|
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. The index entries are type written and arranged in columns.
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. It is very reliable since it was created from the marriage records. As with any printed index there may be some typographical errors.
What Can this Collection Tell Me?
Information in the marriage index includes:
- Full name of person making application for license
- Surname only of spouse
- Gender of person making application
- Year of marriage
- Certificate number
How Do I Search the Collection?
To begin your search it is helpful to know the following:
- The name of the person at the time of marriage
- The county where the marriage occurred
- The approximate marriage date
- The marriage place
- The name of the intended spouse
Search by Name by visiting the Collection Page:
Fill in your ancestor’s name in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about those in the list to what you already know about your own ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person.
View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:
To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒Select the appropriate "Year range"
⇒Select the appropriate "First letter of surname" which takes you to the images. Keep in mind:
Look at each image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination.
With either search 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 article FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.
What Do I Do Next?
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.
I Found Who I was Looking for, What Now?
- 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, may take you directly to an image.
- 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.
- Use the parents’ birth places to find former residences and to establish a migration pattern for the family.
- Use the marriage number to identify previous marriages.
- 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.
- When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
- Occupations listed can lead you to other types of records such as employment records or military records.
- 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.
I Can't Find Who I'm Looking for, What Now?
- Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for nicknames and abbreviated names.
- 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.
|Don't overlook FHL Keyword Pennsylvania, Philadelphia items in the FamilySearch Catalog. For other libraries (local and national) or to gain access to items of interest, see the wiki article Pennsylvania Archives and Libraries.|
Known Issues with This Collection
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 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.
Citing this Collection
Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.
- "Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Marriage Indexes, 1885-1951." Database with Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Citing Clerk of the Orphan's Court. City Hall.
Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):
|The citation for a record is available with each record in this collection, at the bottom of the record screen. You can search records in this collection by visiting the search page for Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Marriage Indexes, 1885-1951.|
|The image citation is available by clicking on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Marriage Indexes, 1885-1951.|
How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?
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