Summary Information
Title: Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records
Collection Number: AIS.1979.10
Creator: Pittsburgh (Pa.). Department of Public Health.

Collection Dates: 1875-1909
Extent: 53.0 microfilm reels

Language: English

Abstract:
This collection contains records submitted to the Department of Public Health pertaining to marriages performed by priests, rabbis, ministers, and aldermen within the City of Pittsburgh from 1875 to 1909.
Publisher:

ULS Archives Service Center
University of Pittsburgh Library System
7500 Thomas Boulevard
Pittsburgh, PA, 15260
412-648-3232
archives-ref@mail.pitt.edu
Date Published:

June 2013
Author:

Finding aid prepared by Matthew Sohner.
History

Pennsylvania's marriage laws were codified through a number of legislative acts over a 15 year period from 1870 to 1885. Pittsburgh first enacted a marriage law in 1870 in order to "establish a board of health, and [secure] the city of port of Pittsburg [sic] from the introduction of pestilential and contagious diseases." This law was a supplementary act to a state law enacted the same year by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that established that boards of health would keep registers of all marriage ceremonies performed in their jurisdictions. The law stipulated that all clergy and magistrates would keep records on the marriages they performed, as well as the penalties for noncompliance. This law also stipulated what information would be recorded on all parties involved in the marriage, and that these records would serve as "prima facie" evidence of said marriage in a court of law.

The state law was further amended in 1876 to grant boards of health the power to enact rules and regulations in order to carry out these duties. Marriage licenses were not issued in the state until an 1885 law established their creation, which further added provisions for age of consent and securing parent or guardian approval for marriage of individuals under the age of 21.


Collection Scope and Content Notes

The collection consists of 53 microfilm reels. Reel 1 is an index (alphabetical by husband's surname) of all marriage returns for the years 1875-1885, and also contains information about the collection's history and a brief history of Pennsylvania's marriage laws. The returns record the following information:

1. The husband's full name, occupation, residence, place of birth, and age at the time of marriage.

2. The wife's full name (maiden name), residence, place of birth, and age at the time of marriage.

3. Date and place of marriage ceremony, and the type of ceremony performed.

4. The race of both parties.

5. Name of the person performing the ceremony and their residence.

6. Date of the return.

According to the Index, only 50% of the married couples were residents of the City of Pittsburgh, while the remaining 50% were residents of Allegheny County, other western Pennsylvania counties, and other states. The records for 1875-1876 are either limited or missing, but all records following those years are complete. The original records reside at the Heinz History Center.


Subject Terms

Topics
  • Marriage records -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh

Genres/Forms
  • Marriage records

Category
  • Government

Access and Use
Access Restrictions:

No restrictions.

Preferred Citation:

Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, 1875-1909, AIS.1979.10, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

Processing Information:

This collection was processed by the Archives Service Center staff in 1982.

Copyright:

No copyright restrictions.

Location of Original Documents:

Pittsburgh, Pa. Department of Health, Marriage Returns, MSS# 458, Library and Archives Division, Heinz History Center, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Related Material:

Pittsburgh, Pa. Dept. of Public Health Birth and Death Records, 1870-1905, AIS.1975.06, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh


Collection Inventory

Microfilm-cabinet 2
Reel 1 Index
Reel 2 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, January 30, 1875 to December 31, 1876
Reel 3 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, January 1, 1877 to December 31, 1877
Reel 4 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, January 1, 1878 to December 31, 1878
Reel 5 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, January 1, 1879 to December 31, 1879
Reel 6 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, January 1, 1880 to December 31, 1880
Reel 7 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, January 1, 1881 to December 31, 1881
Reel 8 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, January 1, 1882 to September 30, 1882
Reel 9 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, October 1, 1882 to June 30, 1883
Reel 10 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, July 1, 1883 to March 31, 1884
Reel 11 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, April 1, 1884 to December 31, 1884
Reel 12 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, January 1, 1885 to September 30, 1885
Reel 13 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, October 1, 1885 to June 30, 1886
Reel 14 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, July 1, 1886 to March 31, 1887
Reel 15 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, April 1, 1887 to December 31, 1887
Reel 16 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, January 1, 1888 to September 30, 1888
Reel 17 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, October 1, 1888 to June 30, 1889
Reel 18 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, July 1, 1889 to March 31, 1890
Reel 19 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, April 1, 1890 to December 31, 1890
Reel 20 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, January 1, 1891 to September 30, 1891
Reel 21 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, October 1, 1891 to June 30, 1892
Reel 22 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, July 1, 1892 to March 31, 1893
Reel 23 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, April 1, 1893 to December 31, 1893
Reel 24 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, January 1, 1894 to December 31, 1894
Reel 25 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, January 1, 1895 to September 30, 1895
Reel 26 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, October 1, 1895 to June 30, 1896
Reel 27 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, July 1, 1896 to December 31, 1896
Reel 28 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, January 1, 1897 to June 30, 1897
Reel 29 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, July 1, 1897 to December 31, 1897
Reel 30 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, January 1, 1898 to June 30, 1898
Reel 31 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, July 1, 1898 to December 31, 1898
Reel 32 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, January 1, 1899 to June 30, 1899
Reel 33 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, July 1, 1899 to December 31, 1899
Reel 34 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, January 1, 1900 to June 30, 1900
Reel 35 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, July 1, 1900 to December 31, 1900
Reel 36 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, January 1, 1901 to May 31, 1901
Reel 37 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, September 1, 1901 to December 31, 1901
Reel 38 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, January 1, 1902 to June 30, 1902
Reel 39 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, July 1, 1902 to December 31, 1902
Reel 40 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, January 1, 1903 to June 30, 1903
Reel 41 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, July 1, 1903 to December 31, 1903
Reel 42 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, January 1, 1904 to June 30, 1904
Reel 43 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, July 1, 1904 to December 31, 1904
Reel 44 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, January 1, 1905 to June 30, 1905
Reel 45 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, July 1, 1905 to December 31, 1905
Reel 46 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, January 1, 1906 to June 30, 1906
Reel 47 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, July 1, 1906 to December 31, 1906
Reel 48 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, January 1, 1907 to June 30, 1907
Reel 49 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, July 1, 1907 to December 31, 1907
Reel 50 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, January 1, 1908 to June 30, 1908
Reel 51 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, July 1, 1908 to December 31, 1908
Reel 52 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, January 1, 1909 to June 30, 1909
Reel 53 Pittsburgh Marriage Return Records, July 1, 1909 to October 31, 1909