Philadelphia Mayor’s Marriages, V. 1 & 2, 1856-1885
The record books of marriages performed by the Mayor of Philadelphia are a unique group of records housed at the Philadelphia City Archives (RG 60.13). Most of these records from mid-1860 to 1885 are also found in the marriage returns kept by the Philadelphia Board of Health; the information of those after 1885 are duplicated in the marriage license applications of the Philadelphia Marriage License Bureau. However, the marriages before 1 July 1860 are not found in any other governmental records.
The Mayor, as a judicial officer under law, had the same rights to execute marriages as did any justice of the peace or judge sitting upon the bench. Frequently he was called upon during the 19th century to exercise these rights. Although many of the marriages were people from Philadelphia, there were a surprising number of people from surrounding counties and states, as well as the Midwest and Europe.
The original record books contain the information of each marriage on an individual page. This usually includes the time, date, location of the ceremony, the names, birthplaces, ages and residences of both the bride and groom; occupation of groom, names of the witnesses, and occasionally other miscellaneous facts.