The Office of the Secretary of Internal Affairs was created by the Constitution of 1874. Under the constitution and subsequent legislation, the secretary’s department was assigned all the duties of the surveyor general, as well as duties involving the supervision of the activities of business organizations and charitable institutions, and responsibility for establishing a Bureau of Industrial Statistics. The department also included a Bureau of Mines, which was abolished upon the creation of the Department of Mines in 1903.

The Department of Internal Affairs contained five major bureaus, which were transferred to other agencies at the time of its abolition in 1968. The Justice Department received its Bureau of Standard Weights and Measures, while the Bureau of Statistics became part of the Department of Commerce. The Bureau of Topographic and Geologic Survey was initially transferred to the State Planning Board, and later to the Department of Environmental Resources. The Bureau of Land Records became part of the Department of Community Affairs, which had also received the Bureau of Municipal Affairs from Internal Affairs in 1967.


Record of Marriages, 1885-1891. (4 volumes, 1 box) Arranged alphabetically by surname and thereunder by date of marriage. A record of marriages in Pennsylvania. Information provided about husband and wife includes: full name, occupation, residence, place of birth, age, color (white or black), date of marriage, and county in which license was purchased. Examples of entries for African Americans include:

• Lulu Hodge from Carlisle, who married Nathan Cooper, a waiter from Carlisle, on October 10, 1885. Both parties are identified as "black."

• Clara Hassler of Chambersburg who married Gabriel Nunse, a laborer from Chambersburg, on January 28, 1886. Clara is listed as "black" while Gabriel is identified as "white."

• Annie E. Hall from Chambersburg who married William H. Gates, a laborer from Chambersburg, on October 24, 1886. Annie is listed as "white" while William is identified as "black."

Some of the counties in which African-American marriage records were found are: Adams, Beaver, Berks, Blair, Bradford, Centre, Clearfield, Cumberland, Fayette, Franklin, Greene, Pike, Union, and Warren.

Registration Record of Practitioners of Medicine and Surgery, 1881-1889. (1 volume) Entries are grouped by county and thereunder grouped alphabetically by first letter of physician’s surname. A record of registered Pennsylvania physicians. Information provided for each practitioner includes the doctor’s name; date and county of registration; sex, color, and place of birth; place of residence; medical and other degrees (institutions and dates); and places of continuous practice in Pennsylvania since 1871. Documented in this volume are eight African American physicians/practitioners: Rebecca J. Cole, David C. Foster, William Greene, Edwin C. Howard, Sarah Jane Phoenix, Charles S. Schadd, Harriet J. Sweeny, and Silvia White.

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