Where would I look for a marriage record that doesn't show up on Ancestry.com?

+2 votes
Looking for a friend, whose parents were married by a Minister (eloped). She doesn't know where, as she has no paper trail and both parents are dead. I thought the easiest way would be tracking her mom by maiden name, but no luck. Got several hits on her dad, but not for marriage.

They were from Pennsylvania, but to complicate matters, there are several PA counties where they could have gone that had different rules for licenses and records are kept by county. Then, of course, there are several bordering states they could have gone to. This was in 1958, so laws might have changed.

Does PA have a state-wide marriage directory? Do any of the surrounding states?
in Genealogy Help by Mary Barna G2G Rookie (200 points)

Have you tried FamilySearch?

If you provide the names, someone may be able to help out with the search.

2 Answers

+4 votes
While FamilySearch does have Pennsylvania marriage information online, the info stops at 1950 or 1951.

There are a number of books, available at most libraries, that give detailed information on how vital records are kept at each state, and county, in the US. Some states have statewide systems. An internet search will provide this as well.

Since this record is so recent you will need to go to the appropriate official repository.

Also, this is likely covered by the privacy laws, so only family may be able to request a copy. Expect to pay for the copy.
by George Fulton G2G6 Pilot (310k points)
Thank you.
+1 vote
Does she know why they eloped or how old they were at the time? Specifically, did they elope because they were too young to get married without parental permission where they were?  If so, you would likely be looking for nearby places with more permissive marriage laws.  People in Virginia often went to Washington DC to get married where laws were more permissive.  I concur that a public library with a good genealogy section is a good place to start. Most localities have a single library with a really good genealogy section.  I live in an area that has multiple cities near one another, and though my city has a decent genealogy library a nearby city's is better still.  Also the Latter Day Saints research centers can be very helpful. I'm not LDS but have visited once or twice and have found them helpful.   Final thought, in the 1950s announcing marriages in newspapers was a big thing, sometimes even when the couple eloped. chroniclingamerica.gov is the best free site, but newspapers.com, genealogybank.com, and others have newspapers also. It is possible that libraries have access to some of the newspaper sites for free.  I once found an entire news story about a couple who had eloped to avoid parent disapproval.
by Amy Garber G2G6 (6.1k points)

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