Pennsylvania did not start keeping birth, marriage and death records in any consistent fashion until late in the 19th century. Several attempts have been made to keep records during the years, but their efforts fell far short of full compliance. The following is a list of when and where these records may be found:
From the Colony to about 1790 several thousand marriage licenses were issued by the Proprietary. They are mostly from the eastern part of Pennsylvania. These have been published in Pennsylvania Archives, 2nd series, volume 8, John B. Linn and Wm. H. Egle, editors. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Clarence M. Busch, 1895.
This series is available free on Fold3.com Go to “Browse Records” Go to “Revolutionary War” Then click on “Pennsylvania Archives – Free”
They have also been indexed on USGenWebArchives.net at: Pennsylvania Archives Series
There was no requirement for records to be kept from 1790-1851.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania required the office of the Register of Wills to record all births, deaths and marriages. Unfortunately, only a few of the ministers, doctors, midwives and Justices of the Peace complied with the law. Searching the extant records of Fayette County, it is clearly followed by only a few individuals. The Register of Births has been missing for years and was never microfilmed. The Register of Marriages and Register of Deaths can be found in the office of the Register of Wills at the courthouse. These books have also been microfilmed and can be found at the Pennsylvania Room in the Uniontown Library and can be ordered at a Family History Center:
|Marriages and deaths, 1852-1855||Family History Library US/CAN Film||#861076 Item 4|
There was no official requirement to keep records during this time period. Some cities such as Pittsburgh and Philadelphia did, but Fayette County did not. There are no government records of births, deaths or marriages in Fayette County between 1856-1884.
Marriage licenses were required by the state starting in 1885. These records are a wealth of information in Fayette County. Couples filled out an application for a license which included their names, their residence, parents’ names, death or divorce of previous spouse, occupation and place of birth. A duplicate license was issued and there should be a return by the minister or Justice of the Peace certifying that the marriage took place. These records are held by the Clerk of Orphans Court which is included in the office of the Register of Wills, Uniontown. Microfilm copies of the marriages are also held at the Pennsylvania Room in the Uniontown Library. The Family History Library has provided images of the marriage books until about 1916. These may be searched at: Pennsylvania County Marriages
The county was required to keep records for all births and deaths. These records may be found in the office of the Register of Wills. The Pennsylvania Room in the Uniontown Library also has microfilm copies of these books. The Family History Library film is #861076 Item 4.1906 to the present