Pittsburgh and Allegheny County

Thursday, July 10, 2014

How to Obtain a Marriage Record for Allegheny County

How to Obtain a Marriage Record for Allegheny County


How can I get a copy of a marriage record?

In Pennsylvania, the Clerk of the Orphans' Court of each county is responsible for maintaining the records of all marriages in the county where the marriage license was issued.
In Allegheny County, there are two (2) ways to obtain a marriage record:

  1.  Search and/or order marriage record(s) using the World Wide Web Icon Online Marriage License Search and/or Order website.  An email address and credit or debit card are required.
    • If your marriage license was issued in Allegheny County on January 1, 1996 or later, you can search and/or order your marriage record online.  NOTE:  Marriage record fees are applicable (refer to fees/costs listed below).
    • If your marriage license was issued in Allegheny County prior to January 1, 1996, you can order a marriage record online.  NOTE:  There is a search fee, even if the marriage record search is unsuccessful (refer to fees/costs listed below).
  2. Come into our office at the Marriage Records Department.

    Department of Court Records,
    Wills/Orphans' Court Division
    Marriage License Bureau
    414 Grant Street
    1st Floor, City-County Building
    Pittsburgh, PA 15219
All requests must provide the husband's or wife's complete name at the time of their marriage application and the year of their marriage, as well as the appropriate fee.
Upon receipt of a request, the Marriage Records section will immediately conduct a search and prepare the marriage record requested. It is important to remember that a marriage record is maintained in the county where the marriage license was issued.

Why would I need a copy of a marriage record?

There are a variety of reasons why an individual may need a copy of a marriage record. For example, the Social Security Administration requires a "triple seal" marriage record in order to complete a woman's name change.
Other reasons why you may need a copy of a Marriage Record include collecting Social Security or pension benefits; for mortgage, adoption or passport purposes and any other situation where proof of marriage is required.
It is recommended that before requesting a marriage record, first determine the type of record which is appropriate for your needs.

What type of marriage records are available?

There are two (2) types of marriage records available.  The 1st is a plain copy of the marriage record which is used for personal and historical use only and NOT for official use.  The 2nd type of marriage record is referred to as a “Triple-Seal” copy which can be used for any legal matter in or out of state.

What type of information is contained on a marriage record?

Over the years, the information required on a marriage application has changed. Traditionally, each applicant's full name, age, residence, occupation and place of birth are contained on marriage license applications. In addition, beginning in 1915, the name of each applicant's parents as well as their occupations and places of birth are a part of each application.
The Allegheny County Department of Court Records, Wills/Orphans' Court Division, Marriage Records section maintains all marriage records for licenses issued in Allegheny County from 1885 to the present. All of these records are open to the public and available for viewing.

What are the costs for a marriage record?

The costs for a marriage record vary from county to county. Allegheny County charges are as follows:
Marriage Record Search & Triple Seal
(With proper military identification, walk-ins are entitled to two (2) free triple-seals.)
Plain (non-certified)$ 4.00
Search Fee (Unsuccessful Search)$ 4.00

Duplicate marriage licenses:

The Allegheny County Marriage License Bureau offers certified marriage certificates that can be used in place of a lost marriage license. The particulars of a couple's wedding date are included on an attractive certificate that can be framed, placed in a scrapbook or given as a commemorative gift to couples celebrating a special wedding anniversary.

Office hours:

The Marriage Record section is open, exclusive of Holidays, Monday-Friday, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm.


Applicants who have questions concerning any of this material may contact the Marriage Records section at (412) 350-4232.


The Marriage Records are available at the City-County Building, before they were put on-line.

Department of Court Records - Marriage License Bride-Groom Search

"If you think they married in Allegheny County between 1920-1923, remember that the Allegheny County marriage license applications from 1906-1936 are only available at the City-County Building in downtown Pittsburgh. Carnegie Library has a microfilm index from 1885-1925, but that only has the names of the bride and groom and the certificate number." - Ray Jones

There are those missing 30 years which are still available, but do-able only in person downtown.  
They are $4 for a plain copy, $10 for the “triple seal”.  It’s the same paperwork, the triple seal is notarized.  So, for an extra $6.00, you get a notarized version of the plain copy.

In the old days, the bride and groom didn’t always admit to a divorce because it would complicate things.  As far as I’ve seen, the only thing included with the marriage record is the divorce decree page.

A Pittsburgh friend of mine has done lookups for divorces. It’s a transcription of the whole hearing. She said, "When we were done, we could have written a book! X-rated of course."

Allegheny County - Department of Court Records

The site is bookmarked here:

Larry Thompson also gives a clear introduction, and guide on how to use the site.


Written by Larry Thompson.
You do have to have an add-on called IE-tab .

Before doing anything you have to click on Ejectment & Miscellaneous Index at the top.  Don’t know why it makes a difference, but it does. Don’t let those dates on the far left fool you.  The index goes back to the 1800’s.

It’s been a couple of years since she did these, but here comes the complicated explanation.  You make a request with the information you find in the index.  If it’s on the shelf, you have to go back the next day to get it. If it’s on microfilm, you go upstairs and get it on the spot, as long as the employee "isn’t out to lunch".  If it’s been archived, they bring all the requests for the week in on Friday and give you a week to get your copy made, which you do yourself.  At that time it was fifty cents a page if you did it yourself, a dollar a page if they printed it out from microfilm upstairs. They are working on getting everything on microfilm.

*Divorces that were granted between April 1969 and October 1980 were lost in a fire.

Pittsburgh Marriage Index (1875-1885) - * Dates are not all-inclusive

Community Library of Allegheny Valley


Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1709-1940

Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885-1950

Pennsylvania, Records of Marriages, 1885-1889

Pennsylvania, Marriage Records, 1700-1821

More information from:

Suzanne M Johnston: "
The city of Pittsburgh began keeping marriage returns (not applications) in 1870. Nothing had to be filled out prior to the marriage, but whoever (minister, J.P., alderman) performed the marriage was to send in a form to the health department (at first) and later to the Register of Wills/Orphans' Court. Abstracts of the returns from 1870-1875 are in a 3-volume set published by the Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society. The records from 1875-through 1885 are on microfilm and available at Carnegie Library. There is an index to the 12 reels of microfilm. However, the actual returns exist through about 1908. If you know the date of marriage, you can find them on the chronologically filmed microfilm. They may give greater detail than the early marriage apps from Pittsburgh. These only cover marriages that took place in the city of Pittsburgh.

Update as of 7 Aug 2014:
According to Suzanne M Johnston:
"The county does not have marriage certificates. The actual marriage certificate is signed by the person who performed the ceremony and is given to the couple. It is chiefly a memorial, but is not considered proof of marriage. What is considered "proof of marriage" is the marriage return filed with the county by the person who performed the marriage. Without that return the county cannot issue a certified copy of the marriage record. There are two kinds of marriage records online for Allegheny County. The 1885-to circa 1905 records are marriage license docket book copies. For those records, you can write to the county and order the actual marriage license applications. The post-circa 1935 records at familysearch.org are digitized copies of the actual marriage license applications and there will be nothing further at the County offices."

I will call the Marriage Records section at (412) 350-4232, for actual clarification from them!

From the Allegheny County website:
There are two (2) types of marriage records available.  The 1st is a plain copy of the marriage record which is used for personal and historical use only and NOT for official use.
Contact the Marriage Records section at (412) 350-4232.

The Pgh. records 1875-1885 are available on microfilm and they are the actual records that were filmed. The 1870-75 are abstracts and I know the fiche was at the C-C Bldg

For Allegheny City, there is a book that covers the years of about 1877-1882 marriages that took place in Allegheny City. These records are on microfiche at the City-County bldg., although no one there knows where to find them. The records from 1882 through 1885, when the licenses begin, are nowhere to be found as yet. Book available at Carnegie and WPGS libraries, as well as others

None of the above records give parents' names, even when underage. Also most give only country of origin, not village, town, etc. But they can lead to church records which could be more informative."

Once again,
Allegheny Ancestry & Genealogy Trails.

re: Allegheny County Marriage Records


Mari said...

If you want to get the marriage records from the Allegheny County Marriage Licenses place then you have to order for it first and then you should go to their office to collect that licenses with some exchange.

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