Philadelphia Marriage Indexes Online

FamilySearchLabs has made Philadelphia Marriage Indexes available for 1885-1951.  This is great news for those of us searching our roots in Philadelphia!  It should be noted that these are the indexes only, not the actual marriage licenses.  Also, you are not yet able to search the records with the name search since they have not completed the indexing, but you can browse the collection.

The collection is divided into several groupings:

  • 1885-1916
  • 1917-1938
  • 1939-1942
  • 1943-1946
  • 1947-1951

If you are researching the years 1885-1938, you’re in luck – the record groupings that span those years are alphabetical (and typed, so they are easy to read).  Simply to to the first letter of the surname you want to search and click on the number of images available and the records will appear on screen.  Then, jump forward in the alphabet until you find the name you are looking for.

What information will you see?  Simply the last name and first name of either the bride or groom, the last name of the spouse in parentheses, the year, and the license number.  You can then cross-reference the spouse’s name to get a first name for that person.  While this may not seem like a lot of information, it did help me track down some maiden names and the year of marriage for quite a few couples.  Of course, you can find out much more information by getting a copy of the actual marriage license, and now that you have the names, year, and license number it should not be too difficult.  See the Philadelphia Marriage License Bureau for more information.  For older marriages (pre-1915), you can obtain copies at the Philadelphia City Archives where the records are available on microfilm.  Some of the older records are available at LDS Family History Centers as well.

For the indexes from 1939-1951, the records are not strictly alphabetical, and they are printed instead of typed (printed very neatly, I might add).  They are grouped by year, then by the first letter of the last name, then by the first letter of the first name.  So, you’ll find all of the Pinto’s, Pater’s, Parker’s, Petruzzelli’s, and Portnoy’s jumbled together, but if you know the person’s first name, you can jump right to the section for that letter (so all of the Joseph’s, John’s, and Jacob’s with a last name beginning with “P” are together).  Because of this, the indexes for these years will take more time to look through.  But, the fact that they go all the way up to 1951 means that I should be able to find the marriage records for many cousins to help fill in some bare branches on the tree.

My only “pet peeve” is that I can not seem to access one record group.  For the years 1917-1938, the surnames beginning with X-Y-Z simply will not come up.  I can’t access the records for Zawodny!  I’ve sent a message via the “Feedback” form, so I’m sure the smart folks at Family Search Labs will fix the link soon. Update: As of 25 July 2008, this problem has been fixed on the site and the X-Y-Z records can now be accessed!

One word of caution: if you can’t find a couple listed in the index, try elsewhere.  All four of my grandparents were born and raised in Philadelphia, yet both couples got married – and therefore got their marriage licenses – in Media, PA (the county seat for Delaware County).  My only great-grandparents to be married in the U.S. chose Camden, NJ – despite the fact they both lived in Philadelphia.  Also, one of the most popular “marriage destinations” back then was Elkton, MD – apparently the legal age for marriage was younger here, so you didn’t need your parents’ permission as you would in PA!

You never know who you might find in these records – and you may not even realize it’s someone famous!  I already have this particular marriage record, but I looked the groom up in the index anyway.  It’s also a good example of what the 1939-1951 indexes look like:

Future Famous Couple

Future Famous Couple

Did you know that actor Gene Kelly was married in Philadelphia?  He and Betsy Blair (that’s her “stage name”) chose a spot “in the middle” for her New Jersey family and his Pittsburgh family.  They were literally on their way to Hollywood where Gene would begin his career (bonus points if any readers know which film was his first…without snooping on the net).  At least I finally found a way to combine my two GENE hobbies!

Related articles: When You Can’t Find Grampa’s Marriage Record (alternate locations) and More on Philadelphia Marriage Records (pre-1885 records)

18 thoughts on “Philadelphia Marriage Indexes Online

  1. Hi Donna. That’s cool, seeing the actual marriage entry for Gene and Betsy, but I noticed the date is 5th September, and I am sure that is not the date generally ‘out there’. Hirschorn states the 24th September.
    I know it does not really matter but you know me, I have to have everything just-so, Genewise!!

    Please, I know his first film!!! And his second, and third, and 43rd…….
    But it will be interesting to see if any none Gene-obsessives know.

  2. Hi, AuntSuzy!

    That’s just the date they got the license, not the actual marriage date. Not that Hirschhorn gets dates right…he even had Gene’s birthday wrong in the bio! And I *know* you know his first film!


  3. I”m not having any luck finding any records any from Philadelphia or Pennsylvania at all. I did a search for marriages in 1906 (all marriages) and only two appeared, and that’s because they were registered in Michigan. What gives?

  4. Paula,

    Perhaps they did not get married in Philadelphia, even if they lived there. Both Camden, NJ and Elkton, MD were popular wedding “destinations” since there was “no wait”. I’m not sure what the wait time was in Philadelphia back then, but it was at least a few days. You might want to try those two places and see if you have any luck.


  5. I am trying to find the marriage record of August Eisenman and Louise Schmidt. They were married in Philadelphia in 1908 or 1909.

    I have tried searching the Family Search site, but no luck. I thought I recently searched a hand written site, but now I can’t find it.

    Any suggestions?

  6. Marie,

    I just searched the Family Search site and it shows August H Eisenmann and a Schmid marrying in 1908. You have to send the license # to the city. I don’t know of any handwritten records for this time period online.


  7. Is this data still available on -line? I have not been able to find it? Today is 4/2/2009.
    Thanks for any help.

  8. All of my grandparents were born in Philly. This new index is exciting news, except that it still won’t give me the information I want, since 1905 records don’t have the parents names. This changed, accd to the Philly site, on July 28, 1913, when a marriage certificate added the parents names, too. I have two relatives on this new index which says they were both married in…1913, but I don’t know which month! Is it worth it for me to spend $35 per certificate and take the chance? Not at this point.

  9. Hi

    I’m trying to find a marriage record for my great-grandparents. My great-grandmother Margaret Ryan emigrated from Tipperary, Ireland circa 1885 met and married a Mr. Wheeler (I don’t know his first name)! circa 1886-1895. I’ve tried the family search site also but no luck either!!

    Can someone help me find this record. I’m living in Ireland and don’t know where to begin?

    Thanks in advance for any help.

  10. Something to note: If the LDS took photos/copies of the records and the photos did not come out well, they did not put them into their records. So some records may not be in their records specifically due to that.

  11. I cannot seem to find the Philadelphia Marriage Indexes on line anymore.Can anyone straighten me out.
    Patsy J

  12. I just noticed that my parents marriage license application has the word “Ward” circled where the choice is “…is the cild the ward of…”

    No other information is given. It was 1942 in Philly. How do I go about finding out why that word was circled? Both of my parents were “of age”.

  13. Sue Ann,

    I’ve never seen that so I don’t know the answer. I recommend joining the Philly-Roots mailing list on and asking the question there.


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