Marriage licenses were required by law, as early as the 1860s in some areas to be filed at the county court houses. In 1885 the law required that the marriage license be filed at the county court house throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Prior to that, marriage records were maintained by the church where the couple took their wedding vows. Church records, therefore, are very useful in providing information such as the marriage date and the maiden surname of the wife. Quite often you will also find the residences of the bride and groom prior to the marriage. But, in some cases the license might not even have been kept, or recorded, by the preacher. Instead, it might have been given directly to the couple for them to keep safe. The license might be found in a family Bible. Therefore, the lack of a marriage license record in the county court house files should not be considered proof that the marriage was not legalized. The license might have been made out, but simply not recorded at the court house.