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Genealogy: Marriage Records

This guide provides an overview of library resources that can help with genealogy and family history searching. Please reach out to the library if you have questions or would like additional information.

Introduction to Marriage Records

Til death do us part? Records are forever! At CLP, we "vow" to help you discover your family history and that includes marriages! There are many different sources to find marriage records! Let's explore those options and organizations below!

Civil registration of marriages officially began in Allegheny County in 1885. Prior to 1885, we have scattered marriage records that we can search for documentation of a marriage. CLP staff can also refer you to local religious archives to find older marriage records. Please contact CLP staff at for more information about different faiths. 

PHMC information on Marriage Records

Since September 30, 1885, marriage licenses have been issued by the Clerk of Orphans Court at each county courthouse. While the State Archives holds microfilm copies of these marriage records for some counties for use by on-site researchers, mail inquiries should be directed to the courthouse of the county in which the marriage took place. Staff of the State Archives do not search microfilmed county records. For a complete list of county marriage records found on microfilm at the Archives, check out their webpage.

Online Resources for Finding Marriage Records

While some marriage records are only available from the respective county courthouse, many of these records have been digitized and included in online collections on genealogy databases. Please keep in mind that these online collections are not all-encompassing and likely have gaps or may not include all regions within Pennsylvania.

Ancestry Library has a collection of Pennsylvania Marriages to 1790. This collection includes names of over 31,000 individuals who were issue marriages prior to 1790. This collection can be accessed with at a public library with Ancestry Library or by Ancestry subscription.

FamilySearch houses a collection index to marriage records in Pennsylvania from 1709-1940. This collection houses the index to these records and is mostly tool for locating where these records are housed.

FamilySearch houses a second collection of civil marriage records from Pennsylvania counties from 1885-1950. This collection features registers, affidavits, marriage licenses, and in some cases divorce records. 

Marriage Related Records that CLP houses

CLP holds the following records on microfilm

  • Marriage Notice Index (1786-1910, based on notices published in local newspapers) 

  • Minister’s Returns, City of Pittsburgh (Feb. 1875-June 1886, miscellaneous months) 

  • Index to Allegheny County Marriage Licenses Volumes 1-14 (1885-1925)  

  • Marriage License Docket Volumes 1-70 (1885-1905)

For copies of marriage certificates, contact the Department of Court Records at the Wills & Orphans’ Court for Allegheny County. CLP does not have copies of marriage licenses, just the dockets indicating licenses that were issued.