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Home: Regional: U.S. States: Pennsylvania: Erie County

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Re: marriage application, license
Posted by: Tim Gruber (ID *****9026) Date: March 30, 2011 at 02:41:42
In Reply to: marriage application, license by Kathleen Morgan of 1253

Unfortunately Pennsylvania, unlike many of the original colonies, did not start recording marriages until very late, 1885 to be exact. They continue to be recorded at the Register of Wills in the county the couple got the license. However there are several ways to discover the maiden name from 1866.

For a reference to the marriage itself you end up relying mostly on church, pastoral, justice of the peace records which are not always easy to come by. Often marriages were reported in the local and sometimes in religious newspapers. The degree to which this was done varies greatly from one area and newspaper to the next.

The easier route would be to get the death certificates for their children which should have the mother's maiden name, but the information on a death certificate is only as reliable as the informant's knowledge of the facts. Death certificates for many states are available online and I suggest getting several of their children's death certificates to make sure of what the maiden name was. Sometimes informants didn't know it or had it incorrectly.

Obituaries, depending on the time frame, often have the mother's maiden name. The later the date the more likely the mother's maiden name is mentioned.

Since the couple married ca 1866 their children probably didn't marry until after 1885 and possibility outside of Pennsylvania. Quite often marriage records will have data on the parents. The later the marriage the more likely it will include the mother's maiden name.

Sometimes the married names of daughters are mentioned in estate files and deeds. The problem is knowing which county and state the father or mother died in. In Pennsylvania estate files are recorded with the Register of Wills and property transfers at the Recorder of Deeds in each county.

For research in Erie County check with the Erie County Public Library, Erie Society for Genealogical Research and the Erie Family History Center.

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