My Great Uncle and Aunt sailed from Belfast, Northern Ireland to New York in August 1925. They were married on 25th November 1925 in Philadelphia and i have never been able to obtain a wedding certificate. My Great Aunts sister had been living in Philadelphia since 1921 and I am guessing they lodged with her until they moved onto British Guiana in early 1926.

In my quest to find a wedding certificate

Question: As they never became American citizens would they have needed a special type of license to get married in Philadelphia? I have already contacted the Philadelphia County Marriage Records and they are asking for €35 just for an initial search. I want to ensure before I authorize this (or be as sure as I can) that the record could be there. Is there anywhere else in the State they could be?

I have added more information on this link which may provide clues as it details everything I have discovered about their movements in the 1920s

Marriage Details

  • Date of Marriage: 25th November 1925
  • Husband: Thomas Frederick Smith
  • Wife: Charlotte Evelyn Silcock

Adage: As suggest by GeneJ (comments) I have reviewed the Philadelphia Marriage Index, for Thomas Smith (Image 129 of 339), Thomas Smyth (Image 137 of 339) without any luck. I am 100% sure they were married 25th November 1925 in Philadelphia as it states this information on Thomas's WW2 records, his last will and testament and Evelyn Smith probate.

I am guessing because Philadelphia County records want to charge me for a search, then there must be more marriage records than what appears on this index.

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    Hi Stephen, Welcome to Genealogy.SE. They married 25 November 1925/Philadelphia (and/or County). May I ask (a) how you learned the above date/location of the marriage? (b) What information that leads you to believe they resided at Philadelphia/Philadelphia County at the time of their marriage (or at any time) (c) Have you located the passenger list/travel from Northern Ireland to New York and also from New York to British Guiana? Finally, (d) have you looked at the birth info of this couple's first child and does that date give you any reason to suspect the information in (a) might be off? TY
    – GeneJ
    Commented Feb 25, 2013 at 21:57
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    Thanks (GeneJ), Good questions: Biggest clues I have for everything asked are the passenger lists (all that you mention) I have copies. Their original destinations when coming from Ireland (via Liverpool)are addresses in PA. Also in Toms WW2 record is where I get the the date and place of Marriage. Their first daughter was born May 1929 in Canada. I have the border crossing record from the United States (March 1929)and also the birth certificate was witnessed by PA residents (Evelyns brother and wife). They arrived back in New York in 1928 from British Guiana after falling ill (malaria) Commented Feb 25, 2013 at 22:15
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    I called the Philadelphia County Records office and if they do not find a marriage record, they will return the $20 check. So for $15 I would request for a search.
    – Jeni
    Commented Feb 26, 2013 at 15:32
  • @Jeni, That was above and beyond the call of duty, thanks a million. That breaks it down a bit from what I understood and I agree it would be worth the search. I am also hoping someone can answer my question here as the search might be easier if i can share more information e.g. The fact they were British Citizens and not US. Smith is a very common name I have discovered in past the more information you can share, the better the prospect for success becomes. Commented Feb 26, 2013 at 16:09
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    The indexed entries for Philadelphia are online (FamilySearch). Reading the wiki for that collection at least suggests that index includes Philadelphia County, but confirming same was difficult for me.
    – GeneJ
    Commented Feb 26, 2013 at 16:23

2 Answers 2


As best I can figure out, you did not need to have a special license. You may be having trouble because they were may have been catholic and the catholic marriage records in PA are not indexed or publicly available.

There are some good hints at the bottom of this RootsWeb page, including links for the various archdiocese. http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~parecs/vital/marriage.html

They also point out that the marriage may not be recorded in the courthouse with jurisdiction over where it took place.

Hoping it helps.

  • Your link is a great help and in fact answers my question. FYI the couple were not Catholic. Your link is the proof I needed that all marriages in Philadelphia are not all indexed in one location. Hopefully in there I will find what I am looking for. Thanks Commented Mar 14, 2013 at 21:12

Is there anywhere else in the State they could be?

I have had good luck finding marriages in church records.

Family Search has info on Pennsylvania Church Records with additional links to several religious organizations and societies. http://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Pennsylvania_Church_Records

There is also a book of Pennsylvania Church Records http://www.worldcat.org/title/inventory-of-church-archives/oclc/68150025&referer=brief_results

Don't give up looking, many records just haven't been digitally added online yet.

  • Hi @Michele, welcome to genealogy.SE - I'm not sure that this is a constructive answer in its current form. Perhaps you could detail what PA genealogy societies there are and link to them and give some more information on where to access the church records that you have had success with.
    – AvieRose
    Commented Mar 12, 2013 at 19:16
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    Thank you for the Welcome! I was just searching for the link I wanted to add to my edit. Which has now been edited.
    – Michele
    Commented Mar 12, 2013 at 19:24

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