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Locating Vital Records in Pennsylvania

Births ( Since 1906)

By Mail:

Division of Vital Records ATTN: Birth Unit 101 South Mercer Street Central Building, Room 401 P.O. Box 1528 New Castle, PA 16103

Online: Click Here

Births and Deaths ( Prior to 1906)

Register of Wills in Individual County Courtcouses (Click here for address listing)

Deaths ( Since 1906)

By Mail:

Division of Vital Records ATTN: Death Unit 101 South Mercer Street Central Building, Room 401 P.O. Box 1528 New Castle, PA 16103

Online: Click Here

Marriage Records:

After September 1885, Marriage License Clerks, in Individual County Court Houses, in county where license was issued.

Before September 1885 refer to church records or newspapers.

Divorce Records:

Since 1804 Divorce Records have been kept in the Prothonotary’s Office in the county where the divorce was granted.  In addition, refer to local newspapers.

From 1682 to 1773, divorce could be granted by the Legislature or the Governor subject to royal veto by Royal Council. In 1773, British Parliament forbade royal governors in America to grant divorces and the Legislature was the governing body to which pleas for divorce were submitted. From 1785 through 1804, either the Supreme Court or the Legislature could act on divorce matters.  From 1804 through 1847, the Legislature and the Courts of Common Pleas handled divorces.  In 1847, the Court of Common Pleas alone began to govern divorce action.  Since 1804, these records have been kept in the Prothonotary’s Office in the county where the divorce was granted.

Divorces were rare in colonial Pennsylvania during the Revolutionary War and early statehood. Some Pennsylvania divorces granted by the Legislative Assembly and the Supreme Court are in the Statutes At Large of Pennsylvania; Publications of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, Vol. 1, No. 4, December 1898; and Record Group 33, Division of Archives and Manuscripts, Bureau of Archives and History, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.  This Record Group contains Supreme Court Divorce Papers, Eastern District, 1786-1815, arranged alphabetically; Supreme Court General Motions, 1750-1837, and Divorce Docket, 1800-1805, arranged by date.

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