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Bucks County, Pennsylvania
Map
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Bucks County
Location in the state of Pennsylvania
Map of the U.S. highlighting Pennsylvania
Location of Pennsylvania in the U.S.
Facts
Founded November 10, 1682
County Seat Doylestown
Courthouse
Bucks County, Pennsylvania Courthouse.jpg
Address Bucks County Courthouse
55 East Court Street
Doylestown, PA 18901
Bucks County Website
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Contents

Historical Facts

Beginning dates for major county records
Birth
Marriage
Death
Deeds
Probate
1893
1885
1893
1684
1683

Scotch-Irish immigrants made a settlement in upper Bucks County in 1728. The settlement grew rapidly and became known as "Craig Settlement" or "Irish Settlement." The settlement fell within the bounds of Northampton County once it split off.[3]

Resources

Bible Records

Cemeteries

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

Online Grave Transcripts Published Grave Transcripts County Cemetery Directories

Findagrave.com

Family History Library

Findagrave.com

Interment.net

WorldCat

Names in Stone

USGenWeb-transcripts
USGenWeb-photos

Billion Graves

Pennsylvania Genealogy

Epodunk

Pennsylvania Gravestones

Billion Graves

Names in Stone

Access Genealogy

Ancestry($)


See Pennsylvania Cemeteries for more information.


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 Bucks 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

Finding Church Records at Other Repositories

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

County-wide Database - Multi-denominational
Bucks county pennsylvania churches.png

Nancy Janyszeski has compiled a detailed list of Bucks County churches at PAGenWeb.

Catholic
Episcopalian

St. James's Church, Bristol

Early registers "were stolen to prevent their evidence in a lawsuit."[4]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The Blue Ridge District of the Eastern States Mission comprised church members living in southeastern Pennsylvania. District headquarters were in Lancaster, with branches located in Bucks, Fulton, Lancaster, and York counties.

Dutch Reformed
  • 1710-1800 - Bucks County, Pennsylvania, 1710-1800: Southampton Dutch Reformed Church at Ancestry ($). Baptisms, marriages.
Lutheran
  • 1751-1798 - Keller's Lutheran Church (Bucks County, Pennsylvania: Keller's Church, Bedminster Township) at Ancestry ($).
  • 1760-1800 - Hinke, William J. Trinity Union Church, Record of the Reformed Congregation, Springfield Township, Bucks Co., Pennsylvania, 1760-1800 at Ancestry ($).
  • 1770-1820 - Bucks County, Pennsylvania Church Records, 1770-1820: Nockamixon Township at Ancestry ($). Includes baptisms, marriages, and deaths from Nockamixon Evangelical Lutheran Congregation, Nockamixon Lutheran Congregation, and Nockamixon Reformed Congregation.
  • 1883-1928 - Upper Tinicum Lutheran Church Burials 1883-1928 at PAGenWeb - free.
Presbyterian

Several Presbyterian churches were built in Bucks County to accommodate Scotch-Irish settlers. Neshaminy Presbyterian Church in Warwick Township was organized in 1726. A Presbyterian Church was organized at "Craig's Settlement" by 1737. Mount Bethel Prebyterian Church was organized in 1738 in "Hunter's Settlement" in Lower and Upper Mount Bethel Townships. The latter two churches fell within the bounds of Northampton County after it split off in 1751.[3]

  • 1788-1885 - Bucks County, Pennsylvania, 1788-1885: Neshaminy Presbyterian Church at Ancestry ($). Baptisms, marriages, burials.
  • 1812-1867 - Solebury Presbyterian Church, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, 1812-67 at Ancestry ($).
Reformed
  • 1744-1801 - Bucks County, Pennsylvania, 1744-1801: Tohickon Union Reformed Church at Ancestry ($).
  • 1750-1800 - Hinke, William J. A History of the Tohickon Union Church, Bedminster Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania: With Copy of Church Records, Reformed Congregation, Lutheran Congregation. Meadville, Pa.: Tribune Pub. Co., 1925. Digital version at Ancestry ($). Baptisms, marriages, burials.
  • 1751-1795 - Hinke, William J. Trinity Union Church, Record of the Lutheran Congregation, Springfield Township, Bucks Co., Pennsylvania, 1751-95 at Ancestry ($).
  • 1760-1829 - Hinke, William J. Trinity Union Church, Springfield Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania Records of the Reformed Church, 1760-1829 at Ancestry ($). Baptisms, marriages, deaths.
  • 1770-1820 - Bucks County, Pennsylvania Church Records, 1770-1820: Nockamixon Township at Ancestry ($). Includes baptisms, marriages, and deaths from Nockamixon Evangelical Lutheran Congregation, Nockamixon Lutheran Congregation, and Nockamixon Reformed Congregation.
  • 1801-1829 - Trinity Union Reformed Church, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, 1801-29 at Ancestry ($). Baptisms, marriages, burials.
  • 1919 - Snyder, Elam J. Historical Sketch of First Reformed Church and Auxiliary Organizations, Quakertown, Pa.: Including a List of Present Members of Congregation and Societies. 1919. Digital version at Ancestry ($).

Court Records

Court of Common Pleas
Clerk of the Court
Prothonotary
Orphan's Court (see Vital Records)

Emigration and Immigration

  • 1677-1687 - "A Partial List of the Families Who Resided in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Prior to 1687, With the Date of Their Arrival," The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 9 (1885):223-233. For free online access, see WeRelate.

Ethnic Groups

Germans

Gazetteers

  • United States Geographic Survey Place Names - GNIS for Bucks County  (more than 2000 entries)
    (may not always be present in alphabetic order on first try.)

Genealogy

History

Published Histories

Land and Property

Land records in Bucks County began in 1684. These records are filed with the Recorder of Deeds office in Doylestown, 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

  • 1980–present Bucks County offers online access to land records. Fees apply.

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 Bucks County Pennsylvania Land in online catalogs such as:

Maps

Migration

Military

Revolutionary War

Local men served in the Bucks County Associators and the Bucks County Militia. A guide at the Pennsylvania State Archives website identifies townships where specific companies recruited soldiers, see Revolutionary War Militia Battalions and Companies, Arranged by County.

Bucks County men also served in the 2nd Pennsylvania Regiment[5] and the 5th Pennsylvania Regiment[5].

During the Revolutionary period, committees of safety governed local communities. Minutes of the Bucks County Committee have been published:

  • "Minutes of the Committee of Safety of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, 1774-1776," The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 15 (1891):257-290. For free online access, see WeRelate.

Naturalization and Citizenship

Newspapers

Bucks 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 Bucks 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 Index

  • McNealy Terry A. (compiler), Index to Bucks County references in the Pennsylvania Gazette 1728-1789 (Doylestown, Pennsylvania:Bucks County Genealogical Society) FHL book 974.821 B3m Alphabetically arranged by surnames and subjects. "Bucks County had no newspaper of its own in the 18th century.--Intro."
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

  • A Record of deaths in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and territory immediately contiguous, 1934-1956 : compiled mainly from the newspapers of the county; also burials in Richlandtown, Doylestown, Deep Run Mennonite, Kellers Church, and New Britain Beulah cemeteries (SLC, Utah, 1958) FHL film 172930 (first of 4)

Occupations

Indentured Servants

Periodicals

Poorhouse, Almshouse

Probate Records

Probate matters in Bucks 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.

Additional Probate Indexes and Abstracts

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

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:

  • 1684-1693 - "Bucks County Wills, 1684-1693," Publications of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, Vol. 1 (Jul. 1897):198-224. For free online access, see WeRelate.

Repositories

Archives

See Courthouse section below.

Courthouse

Bucks County Courthouse
55 East Court Street
Doylestown, PA 18901

Offices of the Bucks County Court include:

  • Clerk of Courts
  • Coroner
  • Prothonotary Naturalization Papers for the years 1802 to 1906 and Term Papers from 1733 to 1920 have been microfilmed and are available for public review in the Prothonotary's office.
  • Recorder of Deeds All papers recorded in the office of Recorder of Deeds are public information, with the exception of Military Discharge Papers. Anyone can come in and look at any Deeds or Mortgages. Earliest records are for 1684. There are indexes
  • Register of Wills Research Center is open to the public. No appointment is required to visit. Records date back to 1684.
  • Genealogical and Archival Search Requests is available for the public. The site lists what records can be searched by staff and the cost.
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 Bucks County, Pennsylvania is the Doylestown Pennsylvania Family History Center. For additional nearby Family History Centers, search online in the FHC directory. Also see below:

Libraries

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 Mennonite Historians of Eastern Pennsylvania support the John L. Ruth Historical Library and Museum at the Mennonite Heritage Center. Located in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania the records and resources of this treasure also cover the counties of Bucks, Chester, Berks, Lehigh, Northampton, and Philadelphia. The website provides a comprehensive overview of library resources, online cemetery database, manuscript collections, photo collections, archival collections, and more.

Museums
  • Historic Fallsington
    Information Center and Office
    4 Yardley Ave.
    Fallsington, PA 19054-1117
    Phone: 215-295-6567
    email: info@historicfallsington.org
    The village of Fallsington was significant as a religious, social and market center for the surrounding area and a stop for stagecoaches. There are several historic homes and buildings as well as a manuscript collection with genealogical and historical records.
Societies

Rich in history, Bucks County, Pennsylvania contains a number of societies dealing with the history of the area.

  • Bucks County Historical Society
    84 South Pine Street
    Doylestown, PA 18901
    Telephone: (215) 345-0210
    Online catalog: RolloPAC

    Research Library Hours: Tuesday-Thursday 1-5 pm, Friday & Saturday 10 am-5 pm
    The Bucks County Historical Society operates the Mercer Museum and the Fonthill Castle. The research library of the museum is the major research center for local and family history related to Bucks County and the surrounding region. The Library houses over 20,000 books, periodicals and pamphlets, 2500 feet of county archives, over 800 manuscript collections, over 12,000 images, and maps and other records that document local history, and more. The online catalog searches collections of the Archives, the Museum, and the Library as well as an obituary collection from 2000 to the present.

    The Library is the depository for many Bucks County government records dating from 1683. These records come from the offices of the Court of Quarter Sessions, Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans Court, Prothonotary and the County Commissioners. Special indexes to county collections include the following: naturalization records (1802-1906), criminal papers (1697-1786), quarter sessions (1684-1700), coroners papers (1700-1900), divorces (1806-1948), marriage licenses (1852-1854, 1885-1946), vendues (1784-1884), tavern licenses (1742-1923), deed books and grantor/grantee index (1684-1919), wills and administrations (1684-1900), and mechanics liens (1836-1949). At this time, none of these indexes are available online.
  • Bucks County Genealogical Society
    PO Box 862
    Washington Crossing, PA 18977
    Telephone: (215) 345-1394

    The BCGS is a newly forming group of genealogists.They sre involved in a cemetery project to create a database of all burials in Bucks County, which will be available free online. The project was launched in 2012 and vulunteers are welcome.

Taxation

  • 1779, 1781-1786 - Proprietary and Other Tax Lists of the County of Bucks: For the Years 1779, 1781, 1782, 1783, 1784, 1785, 1786. (Pennsylvania Archives, Series 3, Vol. 13). Digital versions at Ancestry ($); Google Books - free.
  • 1798 - Pennsylvania, U.S. Direct Tax Lists, 1798 at Ancestry ($).

Vital Records

The Archive Research Center, located on the third floor of the Bucks County Courthouse, is open to the public for genealogical research. The Bucks County Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphan's Court has microfilm records dating back to 1684. Some original records are stored off-site and are available by advance request. Copy services (by fee) include the following:

  • 1684-1950 Genealogical Search Request, index search by name
  • 1684-1987 Index printout with name, death year, index number
  • 1987-present Index printout also includes date of death
  • 1885-present Marriage Application Record, Certified Application, Marriage Certificate
  • 1893-1906 Certified Birth/Death Record

Register of Wills and Clerk of Orphans' Court
55 East Court Street
3rd Floor, Administration Building
Doylestown PA 18901
Register of Wills: 215-348-6265, registerofwills@co.bucks.pa.us
Orphans' Court: 215-348-6271, orphanscourt@co.bucks.pa.us

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.

===== County-wide Databases =====

  • 1700-1821 - Pennsylvania Marriage Records Ancestry.com – ($) This database is incomplete for all counties.
Birth

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

  • 1852-1854 – Pennsylvania Births Ancestry.com – ($) Index with images.
Marriage

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

  • 1836-1904 - Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1709-1940 - free index. Not complete for all years; some images available.
  • 1773-1824 - "Marriages Copies from the Docket of Isaac Hicks: Justice of the Peace of Bucks County from 1773 to 1824," Publications of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, Vol. 3, No. 3 (Jun. 1908):201-225. For free online access, see WeRelate; the Family History Library also has this series in its collection: FHL Book 974.8 B2p.
Divorce

Divorce records are handled by the office of the Prothonotary and Domestic Relations (Family Court). No Family Court documents are available on-line. Records may be obtained on site or by correspondence.

The Office of the Prothonotary
Bucks County Courthouse
55 East Court Street
Doylestown PA 18901
Phone: 215-348-6191
Fax: 215-348-6184

Death

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

  • 1852-1854 – Pennsylvania Deaths Ancestry.com – ($) Index with images.

Death Substitutes

  • Bucks County (Pennsylvania). Coroner. Coroner's Views and Inquisitions, 1710-1906; Index, 1722-1946. Coroner's reports supply information on accidental or suspicious deaths.

Finding Vital Records at Other Repositories

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

Web Sites

Places

Populated Places

  • Boroughs: Bristol . Chalfont . Doylestown . Dublin . Hulmeville . Ivyland . Langhorne . Langhorne Manor . Morrisville . New Britain . New Hope . Newtown . Penndel . Perkasie . Quakertown . Richlandtown . Riegelsville . Sellersville . Silverdale . Telford . Trumbauersville . Tullytown . Yardley
  • Townships: Bedminster . Bensalem . Bridgeton . Bristol . Buckingham . Doylestown . Durham . East Rockhill . Falls . Haycock . Hilltown . Lower Makefield . Lower Southampton . Middletown . Milford . New Britain . Newtown . Nockamixon . Northampton . Plumstead . Richland . Solebury . Springfield . Tinicum . Upper Makefield . Upper Southampton . Warminster . Warrington . Warwick . West Rockhill . Wrightstown
  • Unincorporated communities: Brittany Farms-Highlands . Churchville . Cornwells Heights-Eddington . Croydon . Erwinna . Fairless Hills . Fallsington . Feasterville-Trevose . Holland . Lahaska . Levittown . Lumberville . Newtown Grant . Point Pleasant . Plumsteadville . Richboro . Southampton . The Devil's Half-Acre . Uhlerstown . Upper Black Eddy . Village Shires . Warminster Heights . Washington Crossing . Woodbourne . Woodside

References

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), [FHL book 973 D27e 2002].
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Adams County, Pennsylvania" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adams_County,_Pennsylvania (accessed 17 July 2012).
  3. 3.0 3.1 Wayland F. Dunaway, The Scotch-Irish of Colonial Pennsylvania (Chapel Hill, N.C.: The University of North Carolina Press, 1944), 54-55. Free digital version at PA's Past: Digital Bookshelf at Penn State.
  4. Philip Syng Physick Conner,"Registers of the Anglican Church in Pennsylvania prior to 1800," The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 12 (1888):341-349. For free online access, see WeRelate.
  5. 5.0 5.1 John B.B. Trussell and Charles C. Dallas, The Pennsylvania Line; Regimental Organization and Operations, 1776-1783 (Harrisburg, Pa.: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1977). Digital version at Family History Archive.

 

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