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Butler County, Pennsylvania genealogy and family history research page. Guide to genealogy, history, and courthouse sources including birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, wills, deeds and land records, Civil War records, Revolutionary War records, family histories, cemeteries, churches, tax records, newspapers, and obituaries.

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Online Records


Butler County, Pennsylvania
Map
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Butler County
Location in the state of Pennsylvania
Map of the U.S. highlighting Pennsylvania
Location of Pennsylvania in the U.S.
Facts
Founded March 12, 1800
County Seat Butler
Courthouse
Butler County, Pennsylvania Courthouse.jpg
Address Butler County Courthouse
124 W. Diamond St.
Butler, PA 16001
Butler County Website
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Contents

Butler County Pennsylvania Historical Facts

Beginning dates for major county records
Birth
Marriage
Death
Deeds
Probate
1893
1885
1893
1800
1800
Pabutler.jpg
  • Parent Counties: Formed from Allegheny County 12 March 1800.[1]
  • County Seat: Butler
  • Neighboring Counties: Butler County, Pennsylvania residents may also have records in these counties:

Boundary Changes

For animated maps illustrating Pennsylvania county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Pennsylvania County Boundary Maps" (1673-1878) may be viewed for free at the MapofUS.org website.

Records Loss

For a list of record loss in Pennsylvania counties see: Pennsylvania Counties with Burned Courthouses

Butler County Pennsylvania Genealogy Resources

Bible Records

Cemeteries

Cemetery records often reveal birth, marriage, death, relationship, military, and religious information.

Online Grave Transcripts Published Grave Transcripts County Cemetery Directories
butlerhistory.com

Family History Library

Findagrave.com

Interment.net

WorldCat

Names in Stone

USGenWeb-transcripts

Billion Graves

Pennsylvania Genealogy

Epodunk

Pennsylvania Gravestones
butlerhistory.com
Billion Graves

Names in Stone

Access Genealogy

Ancestry($)

Findagrave.com


See Pennsylvania Cemeteries for more information.


Butler County Historical Society
123 W. Diamond Street
Butler, PA 16001
724-283-8116
www.butlerhistory.com
society@butlerhistory.com
Tuesday through Friday, 9am-4pm
Check our website for Saturday hours or call for an appointment.

The HIstorical Society compiled 5 volumes of cemetery readings for Butler County and has since found more records and cemeteries.  This information is currently available in our office.   Headstone photos for various cemeteries will soon be available on our website.


The Mennonite Heritage Center
565 Yoder Road
Harleysville PA 19438-1020
215-256-3020
library@mhep.org
Hours: Tuesday thru Friday, 10am–5pm, Saturday, 10am–2pm

The Cemetery Database at the Mennonite Heritage Center includes 86,000 burial records from 125 local cemeteries.  Records cover cemeteries in the counties of Berks, Bucks, Butler, Chester, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, and Westmoreland. The database provides transcriptions from Mennonite, Brethren, Lutheran, Reformed, Union, Baptist, Methodist, Episcopal, community, and private cemeteries. Search the list of cemeteries and the alphabetical surname lists in Adobe PDF format.

Visit the Mennonite Heritage Center to search the cemetery database by various criteria. The transcriptions are available for further research at the MHC library.

Census

For tips on accessing Butler County, Pennsylvania Federal (or United States) census records online, see: Pennsylvania Census.

There are no county or state census records available for Pennsylvania. County and city tax records can be used as a substitute when census records are not available.

Church Records

Church records and the information they provide vary significantly depending on the denomination and the record keeper. They may contain information about members of the congregation, such as age, date of baptism, christening, or birth; marriage information and maiden names; and death date. In Pennsylvania, church records are often used as a substitute for birth, marriage, and death information. For general information about Pennsylvania denominations, view the Pennsylvania Church Records wiki page.
Butler county pennsylvania churches.png
Finding Church Records at Other Repositories

Additional church records can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Butler County, Pennsylvania Church Records  in online catalogs like:

County-wide Database - Multi-denominational
Contains church records of:
  • Butler: Covenant United Presbyterian Church; First United Methodist Church; Grace Lutheran Church; St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church; St. Mark's Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • Cranberry: Dutilh United Methodist Church
  • Evans: Evans City Methodist Church
  • Harmony: Grace Reformed Church
  • Harrisville: Harmony United Presbyterian Church
  • Portersville: First Presbyterian Church
  • Slippery Rock: Center United Presbyterian Church; Highland United Presbyterian Church
  • Summit: Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • The Butler County Historical Society has various church records available for use in their research library. Some records include:  Fisk Chapel, Knox Chapel, Emory Chapel, Covenant United Presbyterian, Calvary United Presbyterian, Middlesex Presbyterian, and others!  Call ahead to be sure the genealogist is available.
Catholic
  • "100 years of the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese 1843–1943". Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society Quarterly, 17:1. FamilySearch Library book 974.8 B2wg. Contains chronolgy, map, county-by-county information.
Presbyterian

Fairview Presbyterian Church

Middlesex Presbyterian Church

Court Records

Butler County, Pennsylvania court records are housed at the Butler County, Pennsylvania Courthouse. For many counties copies of court records may be found at the Pennsylvania State Archives and in the FamilySearch collection. Note that within these collections some films may contain the same records, but have different titles. Other titles are not duplicates. See Finding Court Records at other repositories within this section for links to the online catalogs for these two collections. Films at the Pennsylvania State Archives are not available for inter-library loan. If court records are available FamilySearch films may be ordered at a local Family History Center.

Court of Common Pleas

The Courts of Common Pleas are the trial courts of Pennsylvania. Major civil and criminal cases are heard in these courts. Judges also decide cases involving adoption, divorce, child custody, abuse, juvenile delinquency, estates, guardianships, charitable organizations and many other matters. The Common Pleas courts are organized into 60 judicial districts. Butler County, Pennsylvania has its own judicial district. Judges of the Common Pleas courts are elected to 10-year terms. A president judge and a court administrator serve in each judicial district.[3]

Clerk of the Court

The Clerk of Courts prepares and maintains the records for the Criminal Division of the Court of Common Pleas. The Clerk signs and affixes the Seal of the Courts to all writs and processes, administers oaths and affirmations, and assumes custody of the seal and records of the Courts. The Clerk certifies and distributes orders of the Court. The Clerk also certifies and prepares bills of costs for the defendants and utilizes the computerized financial management system to disburse fines, costs and restitution.[4] For the Butler County, Pennsylvania Clerk of Courts address see the Courthouse section on this page.

Prothonotary

The office of the Prothontary is the custodian of all civil matters in the county. This includes naturalization, immigration, equity actions, judgements, federal and local tax leins, city liens, family court, arbitrations, license suspension appeals, appeals to higher court, commercial code filings, applications for passports and divorce proceedings. See the Courthouse section on this page for the Butler County, Pennsylvania Prothonotary office information.

Orphan's Court

See Vital Records
The Orphans' Court is responsible for a wide range of matters. The name of the Court is derived from the more general definition of "orphan," that being a person or thing that is without protective affiliation or sponsorship. This would include those not capable of handling their own affairs, minors, incapacitated persons, decedents estates, nonprofit corporations and trusts. It is the role of the Court to ensure that the best interests of the person or entity are not compromised.

It is believed the name of this court was borrowed from the Court of Orphans of the city of London, England which had the care and guardianship of children of deceased citizens, in their minority.[5]

For Butler County, Pennsylvania Orphans' Court contact information see the Courthouse section on this page.

Finding Court Records at Other Repositories

Additional court records can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Butler County, Pennsylvania Court Records in online catalogs like:

Emigration and Immigration

For information about emigration into Pennsylvania, see the Pennsylvania Emigration and Immigration page.


Freeport Bridge, between Butler and Westmoreland counties, PA.

Ethnic Groups

Germans

Gazetteers

Genealogy

History

  • Over 950 fully-searchable books and published works covering much of western Pennsylvania have been posted online at Historic Pittsburgh, nosted by the University of Pittsburgh's Digital Library.
Published Histories

Land and Property

Land records in Butler County began in 1800. These records are filed with the Recorder of Deeds office in Butler, Pennsylvania.

Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. Land records include: deeds, abstracts, indexes, mortgages, leases, grants, sheriff sales, land patents, and maps. Property records include liens as well as livestock brands and estray records.

The following are examples of available resources:

Online Land Records

  • 1973–present Butler County offers online access to land records. Check the website for current information on availability and fees.

Land Records on Microfilm

Additional Resources

Note that the "Maps" section below includes maps related to land ownership.

See Pennsylvania Land and Property for more information about using land records, especially about original land warrants, surveys, and patents filed at the state land office.

Additional resources can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Butler County Pennsylvania Land in online catalogs such as:

Maps

  • Maps of Pennsylvania (1673-1878)
  • The Butler County PAGenWeb page has linked to the complete 1858 Map of Butler County, PA from surveys by Jas. Dunlap, Hugh McKee, David Scott, E. Maurhoff, & J W Kirker.  The map shows the property owned by each landowner as well as waterways, major roads, towns, and villages.  The map is offered online through the Library of Congress.
  • The Butler County PAGenWeb page has scanned the original township and borough maps of Butler County Pennsylvania from the 1874 Atlas of the County of Butler, and the State of Pennsylvania, by G.M. Hopkins & Co., Philadelphia.  While it does not show the property boundaries it shows the location of the homes, waterways, roads, towns, and villages throughout the county.
  • The Butler County Historical Society has a large collection of old maps throughout the history of the county.  Their collection includes 5 original 1858 Maps of Butler County, PA, as well as the 1874 Atlas of Butler County and various maps pertaining to railways, oil wells, waterways, and even the location of all the fire hydrants in the city of Butler in 1902!
  • Ancestor Tracks has posted the 1858 Map of Butler Co., Pennsylvania from surveys by Jas. Dunlap, Hugh McKee, David Scott, E. Maurhoff & J.W. Kirker.  This map shows the tracts of landowners at that time, as well as towns, villages and roads.  This source is a perfect companion while consulting the 1850 and 1860 census records.  While the physical maps are in the public domain, the images we have taken of the maps belong to us and are not to be used commercially.  We hereby give permission to use them for personal use; please attribute to Ancestor Tracks.

Migration

Military

    Senator Walter Lowrie House
    123 West Diamond Street
    Butler, PA 16001
    Phone: (724) 283-8116
    Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Tuesday through Friday.

     Original Revolutionary War Pension Files, Militia records, various Civil War records including muste rolls and company record books.  All 5 volumes of Samuel Bates History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1851-1865. The Society also has several dozen photographs of Civil War Soldiers and newspapers from the era.

Naturalization and Citizenship

Naturalization records can contain information about immigration and nativity. Prior to 1906, it is rare to find the town of origin in naturalization records. See Pennsylvania Naturalization for more information about the types of records and availability.

Naturalizations granted at the county level were kept by the office of the Prothonotary. Naturalizations could also be granted on the Federal Court level.

Naturalization records available for Butler County, Pennsylvania include the following:

Online Naturalization Records       

Original Naturalization Records on Microfilm

Finding Naturalization Indexes at Other Repositories

Additional naturalization indexes can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Butler County, Pennsylvania naturalization in online catalogs like:

Newspapers

Butler County, Pennsylvania newspapers may contain genealogical value including obituaries, births, marriages, deaths, anniversaries, family gatherings, family travel, achievements, business notices, engagement information, and probate court proceedings.

To access newspapers, contact public libraries, historical/genealogical societies, college or university libraries, or state archives in the area where the newspaper was published.

For information on state-wide newspapers see Pennsylvania Newspapers

Newspapers of Butler County

Online Newspapers

To learn if there are newspapers online for a specific town or city in Pennsylvania, see news.google.com/newspapers and search for the town or the name of a newspaper.

Online Newspaper Abstracts

Newspaper Excerpts and Abstracts

  • News of the Day Newspaper Collection on CD available only at the Butler County Historical Society.  (c2000Butler County Historical Society and Butler Public Library) FHL CD no. 913 v. 1-16
Obituaries

Obituaries are generally found in local newspapers where the person died. However, sometimes an obituary is found in the location from which he or she originated. To find an obituary, see the information under the Newspaper heading


Online Obituary Abstracts

Obituary Excerpts and Abstracts

  • Collected by Sarah E. Milford, Carol H. Jamison and Marilyn Q. Gerhold, Obituaries from Venango and Butler Counties (S.I.:s.n., 2006?) FHL book 974.89 V4m. Available online through FamilySearch Catalog entry.
  • Compiled and written by Vickie Lynn Young, A Detailed Perspective of Butler County Cemeteries (Denmark, Wisconsin:V.L. Young, c2000) FHL book 974.891 V3y volume 1 Includes obituaries for some of the persons buried in the cemetery.

Occupations

Indentured Servants

Periodicals

Poorhouse, Almshouse

  • Some township records from the Keeper of the Poor in each township are available in the office of the Butler County Historical Society.  These records include the name of the person and what type of support was rendered, such as a pair of shoes or a dentist's bill.
  • Poorhouse records from our county home, now known as Sunnyview, are available at the Butler County Historical Society and at the Butler Public Library.  These records include some vital records for the residents who were cared for at the poorhouse.

Probate (Estate) Records

Probate matters in Butler County, Pennsylvania are handled by the Orphans' Court and start when the county was created. To obtain original probate records, contact the Orphan's Court in the County Courthouse.

In addition to wills and administrations, the Orphans' Court also handles: audits of accounts of executors, administrators, trustees, and guardians; distribution of estates of decedents, incompetents, and minors; appointment and control of guardians; adoptions; appeals from the Register of Wills involving probate matters; inheritance tax appeals and various petitions and motions.

Online Probate Records

Original probate records for some Pennsylvania counties are available free online as digital images at FamilySearch.org. The dates vary significantly for each county and not all counties are listed. Some counties may only have probate indexes. This Pennsylvania collection of images may be browsed through the links listed below:

Complete Collection:

Butler County Only:

Original Probate Records of Microfilm

Additional Probate Indexes and Abstracts

Additional probate indexes or abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Butler County, Pennsylvania probate wills in online catalogs like:

Repositories

Archives
  • The Pennsylvania Archives collection contains county archive records that can be searched onsite. Currently the Archives' staff cannot provide research or make copies of these records. Their collections include Almshouse Registers; Tax records; Birth, Death and Marriage Indexes and Records; Midwife records; African American records; Wills; Deeds; Naturalizations; Coroner's inquests; and Orphan's Court dockets. A list of the Archive's county holdings are on Microfilm or Manuscript form.
Courthouse

Butler County Courthouse
124 W. Diamond St.
Butler, PA 16001
Hours:Mon - Fri, 8:30am - 4:30pm
Phone:(724) 285-4731; (724) 284-5473 (TDD)

Register of Wills/Marriage License Bureau

Butler County Government Center
Level L
124 West Diamond Street
PO Box 1208
Butler PA 16003

Phone: (724) 284-1409

Office of the Prothonotary  (Enter through Government-Judicial Center at 124 W. Diamond St.
First Floor, County Courthouse
300 South Main Street
P.O. Box 1208
Butler, PA 16003-1208
Phone: (724) 284-5214

Recorder of Deeds

Floor L, County Government Center
124 West Diamond Street
P.O. Box 1208
Butler, PA 16003
Phone: 724-284-5340
Fax: 724-285-9099

Family History Centers

Family History Centers (FHCs) are branches of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, and are located all over the world. Their goal is to provide resources for family history research.

The main FHC for Butler County, Pennsylvania is the Cranberry Township Pennsylvania Family History Center. For additional nearby Family History Centers, search online in the FHC directory.

Libraries

Butler County Federated Library System
218 North McKean Street
Butler, PA 16001
Phone: (724) 283-1880

Butler County Historical Society
Research Library
123 West Diamond Street
Butler, PA 16001
724-283-8116
Hundreds of books pertaining to Butler County's history, businesses, schurches, schools, and families. Thousands of original documents and records also are available for research. Butler High School Yearbooks from 1914 as well as various yearbooks from other county high schools.

Museums

    Our office, historical, and genealogical collections are housed in this building and the adjacent Carriage House. The Society houses and maintains the county's largest collection of original Butler County documents, photographs, and extensive genealogical and family collections available to the public.  Office hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Friday.  Saturday hours available on our website or by appointment.

  • Depreciation Land Museum 
    P.O. Box 174
    Allison Park, PA 15101
    Phone: (412) 486-0563
  • Harmony Museum
    218 Mercer St.
    Harmony, Pa 16037
    Phone: (724) 452-7341

    Mailing address:
    P.O. Box 524
    Harmony PA 16037

    Hours:Tuesday through Sunday - open 1 - 4 p.m. Closed Mondays & Holidays
    Reservations suggested on weekends, and required for groups of 10 or more
Societies
  • Butler County Historical Society
    Senator Walter Lowrie House
    123 West Diamond Street
    Butler, PA 16001
    Phone: (724) 283-8116
    Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Tuesday through Friday.
  • Cranberry Genealogy Club
    Cranberry Municipal Building
    2525 Rochester Road
    Cranberry Township, PA 16066
    Meetings are held on the 4th Wednesday of each month (except December) in the Cranberry Public Library Conference Room at 6:30 PM.
  • Butler Co'[1]'unty Genealogical Society
    P O Box 662
    Butler, PA 16003-0662
  • Zelienople Historical Society
    243 S. Main Street
    Zelienople, PA 16063
    Phone: (724) 452-9457
  • Evans City Area Historical Society
    204C South Jackson Street
    Evans City, PA 16033-1138
    Phone: (724) 538-3629

    The museum is open from 14 April to December on Tuesday mornings and Saturday 10:00 A.M. - 12:00 P.M. or by appointment.

Taxation

Butler County Historical Society
Senator Walter Lowrie House
123 West Diamond Street
Butler, PA 16001
Phone: (724) 283-8116
Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Tuesday through Friday.

The Butler County Historical Society is in the process of digitizing the County's Tax Records from 1803 to 1915.  Contact our office for availability.

Vital Records

Vital records are handled by the County Orphans' Court. Between the years 1852-1855 Pennsylvania made a failed attempt to record birth, marriage and death events at the county level. While the records for that time period are available, there were few events recorded. County marriage records were kept in earnest in 1885. Births and deaths, at the county level, were begun in 1893 and kept through 1905. Abstracts and copies of vital records are available for some counties, but most are incomplete. For the most complete set of records, always contact the County Orphans' Court.

See also How to order Pennsylvania Vital Records

Births

Birth and death records are available at the county level for 1893 to 1905 only. For records after 1905 contact the:

Vital Records, State Department of Health
P.O. Box 1528
101 South Mercer Street
New Castle, PA 16101
Phone: (724) 656-3100
Fax: (724) 652-8951

Early births 1893–1905 are located at the County Orphans' Court. See the heading Court Records on this page for contact information.

Indexes for Pennsylvania birth records are available through the Department of of Health for 1906 and 1907. Once an individual is located in the index a non certified Birth certificate can be obtained by writing and sending $3.00 to:

Division of Vital Records
ATTN: Public Records
P.O. Box 1528
New Castle, PA 16103

Marriages

Pennsylvania marriages are located at the county level. Contact the Butler County, Pennsylvania clerk's office for these records.

  • 1700-1821 - Pennsylvania Marriage Records Ancestry.com – ($) This database is incomplete for all counties.
  • 1725-1976 - Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1709-1940 - free index. Not complete for all years. This index is not necessarily intended to index any specific set of records. This index is not complete for any particular place or region. This collection may include information previously published in the International Genealogical Index or Vital Records Index collections.
  • Pre-1810 – Pennsylvania Marriages Ancestry.com – ($) This database is incomplete for all counties. Includes 35,000 marriage records from vol. VIII of of the second series of the Pennsylvania Archives.
  • 1801-1922 Butler County Marriages
  • 1852-1854 - Pennsylvania Marriages Ancestry.com – ($) Index with images.
  • 1885-1950 - Pennsylvania County Marriage, 1885-1950 Extracted marriage records – free. This database is incomplete for all counties. May also contain marriage records earlier than 1885.

Marriage records at the county level began in 1885 and are kept to the present. For marriages prior to 1885 a search of church records must be conducted. To request a copy of a marriage record from the county contact:

Butler County Register of Wills & Clerk of Orphans' Court
P. O. Box 1208
Butler, PA 16003

Divorce

Divorce records are available through the office of the Prothonotary. The office of the Prothonotary is located in the courthouse building.

Deaths

Early deaths 1893–1905 are located at the County Orphans' Court. See the heading Court Records on this page for contact information.

Indexes for Pennsylvania death records are available through the Department of Health for 1906 through 1962. Once an individual is located in the index a non certified death certificate can be obtained obtained by writing and sending $3.00 to:

Division of Vital Records
ATTN: Public Records
P.O. Box 1528
New Castle, PA 16103

Finding Vital Records at Other Repositories

Additional vital records can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Butler County, Pennsylvania Vital Records in online catalogs like:

Genealogy Societies and Libraries

Butler County Pennsylvania Genealogy Websites

Butler County Pennsylvania Places

Populated Places

Butler County Pennsylvania Genealogy References

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), [FHL book 973 D27e 2002].
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/images/2/23/Igipennsylvaniac.pdf.
  3. The Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania http://www.pacourts.us/T/CommonPleas/accesssed 10 July 2012.
  4. Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania, Clerk of Courts in http://www.pacourts.us/T/CommonPleas/ClerksOfCourts.htm (accessed 25 Aug 2012)
  5. The Philadelphia Courts at http://www.courts.phila.gov/common-pleas/orphans/ accessed 10 July 2012



 

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  • This page was last modified on 18 March 2014, at 21:54.
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