Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

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[http://www.lancaster.lib.pa.us/lcl/site/default.asp Lancaster County Library]<br>Location Address:<br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 125 North Duke St <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Lancaster, PA 17602 <br>Phone Number: (717) 394-2651 <br>Mailing Address:<br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 125 North Duke St <br>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Lancaster, PA 17602<br>
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The Lancaster Public Library is part of the Lancaster Public Library System that serves 16 libraries. They have shared online catalog which has a sizable genealogy and biography collection.<br>[http://catalog.lancasterlibraries.org/ Online Catalog]<br>
  
 
[http://www.elizabethtownhistory.org/ Winters Heritage House Museum]<br>[http://www.elizabethtownhistory.org/seibert-library/seibert-library-research-information/ Seibert Library]<br>Elizabethtown Preservation Associates, Inc.<br>P.O. Box 14, 41-47 East High Street<br>Elizabethtown PA 17022<br>Phone: (717) 367-4672<br>Email: winters-hh@embarqmail.com<br>Fax: (717) 367-9991<br>The library has historical and family records, maps, photographs, etc. Call ahead to make an appointment with a research librarian. The museum has three original log structures dating from 1750-1847, and a brick house dating to 1877.
 
[http://www.elizabethtownhistory.org/ Winters Heritage House Museum]<br>[http://www.elizabethtownhistory.org/seibert-library/seibert-library-research-information/ Seibert Library]<br>Elizabethtown Preservation Associates, Inc.<br>P.O. Box 14, 41-47 East High Street<br>Elizabethtown PA 17022<br>Phone: (717) 367-4672<br>Email: winters-hh@embarqmail.com<br>Fax: (717) 367-9991<br>The library has historical and family records, maps, photographs, etc. Call ahead to make an appointment with a research librarian. The museum has three original log structures dating from 1750-1847, and a brick house dating to 1877.

Revision as of 21:31, 30 August 2012

United StatesGotoarrow.png Pennsylvania Gotoarrow.png Lancaster County


Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
Map
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County
Location in the state of Pennsylvania
Map of the U.S. highlighting Pennsylvania
Location of Pennsylvania in the U.S.
Facts
Founded October 14, 1728
County Seat Lancaster
Courthouse
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania Courthouse.jpg
Address Lancaster County Courthouse
Register of Wills
50 N. Duke St.
P.O. Box 83480
Lancaster, PA 17608-3480
Lancaster County Website
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Contents

Historical Facts

Beginning dates for major county records
Birth
Marriage
Death
Deeds
Probate
1893
1885
1893
1729
1729

Many Scotch-Irish immigrants settled in Lancaster County in the early eighteenth century. The area was predominantly a German place of settlement.[3]

Wikipedia


Boundary Changes

  • 14 October 1749: York County set off.
  • 14 October 1751: Berks County set off.
  • 27 January 1750: Cumberland County set off.
  • 21 March 1772: Northumberland County set off.
  • 16 October 1813: Lebanon County set off.



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

Findagrave.com

Family History Library Findagrave.com

Interment.net

WorldCat Names in Stone

USGenWeb-transcripts
USGenWeb-tombstone photos

Billion Graves

Pennsylvania Genealogy

Epodunk

Pennsylvania Gravestones

Billion Graves

Names in Stone

Access Genealogy

Ancestry($)


See Pennsylvania Cemeteries for more information.


Lancaster County USGenWeb Project This site has several listings for Lancaster County cemetery records.

Cemeteries of Lancaster County in Adamstown & Akron Boroughs and Bart, Brecknock, & Caernarvon Townships. Lists of cemeteries, some with lists of burials

Cemeteries in Lancaster County at Find A Grave

The Family History Library has a number of cemetery records in books and on films.  They would be available either in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City or in one of its affiliate Family History Centers.

Individual cemeteries:

Census

For tips on accessing Lancaster 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 Lancaster County, Pennsylvania Church Records  in online catalogs like:

County-wide Database - Multi-denominational
Lancaster county pennsylvania churches.png
Contains the church records of:
  • Columbia: Presbyterian Church; United Church of Christ
  • Eden: Mount Hope United Methodist Church
  • Ephrata: Bethany United Church of Christ
  • Lancaster: First Presbyterian Church; Salem United Church of Christ; St. John's Episcopal Church
  • Leacock: Christ Episcopal Church
  • Lititz: St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • Maytown: St. John's Lutheran Church
  • Millersville: St. Paul Lutheran Church
  • Mohnton: Swamp Lutheran Church
  • Reamstown: Salem Lutheran Church
  • Rohrerstown: Trinity Lutheran Church
  • Rothsville: Jerusalem Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • 1723-1800 - Humphrey, John T. Pennsylvania Births, Lancaster County, 1723-1800. 2 vols. Washington, D.C.: Humphrey Publications, 1997. FHL Book 974.815 K2h.
Contains records from the following churches: Sadsbury Monthly Meeting, Sadsbury Township; Little Britain Monthly Meeting, Little Britain Township; St. James' Protestant Episcopal Church, Lancaster; Muddy Creek Lutheran Church, East Cocalico Township; Emanuel Lutheran Church, Elizabeth Township, also called Old Warwick Lutheran Church; Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Lancaster; Moravian Church, Lancaster; First Reformed Church, Lancaster; Trinity Lutheran Church, New Holland; St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church, Lancaster; Zion Lutheran Church, Manheim; Muddy Creek Reformed Church, East Cocalico Township; Bangor Protestant Episcopal Church, Caenarfon [sic] Township; Bergstrasse Lutheran Church, Ephrata Township; Records of Rev. John Waldschmidt; Records of Rev. John Cuthbertson; Records of Rev. Traugott Frederick Illing; Christ Lutheran Church, Elizabethtown; St. Michael's Lutheran Church, Strasburg; Swamp Reformed Church, West Cocalico Township; Zion Reformed Church, Elizabeth Township, also known as Reyer's Reformed Church; Blasser Reformed Church, West Donegal Township; White Oak Lutheran and Reformed churches, Penn Township; Zeltenreich/Seltenreich Reformed Church, Earl Township; Maytown Reformed Church, East Donegal Township; St. Paul's Reformed Church, Manheim; Pequea Reformed, Strasburg Township; Maytown Lutheran Church, East Donegal Township; Cocalico Reformed Church, Ephrata; Records of Rev. John Casper Stoever, Jr.; Moravian Church, Lititz.
Catholic
  • 1787-1804 - St. Mary's Catholic Church, Lancaster, PA Marriages, Baptisms, Burials 1787-1804 at PAGenWeb - free.
Church of the Brethren
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.

Ephrata Community
  • 1728-1853 - Sachse, Julius F. "The Registers of the Ephrata Community," The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Burials 1728-1853: Vol. 14 (1890):297-312, Burials 1730s-1813: 387-402. For free online access, see WeRelate. Also available on the Church of the Brethren Network website.
Episcopalian

St. James's Church, Lancaster

Registers begin in 1755.[4]

  • 1755-1759 - Private Marriage Register of Rev. Thomas Barton, in York County, Pennsylvania in "Private Church Registers to 1800, York County, Pennsylvania" at Ancestry ($).

St. John's Church, Pequea

Registers are lost, but some parishioners appear in the registers of St. James's Church, Lancaster.[4]

St. Thomas's Church, Caernarvon

Registers are lost, but some parishioners appear in the registers of St. James's Church, Lancaster.[4]

Bangor Church, Caernarvon

Registers are lost, but some parishioners appear in the registers of St. James's Church, Lancaster. An old trunk was discovered at Bangor Church with "sundry account-books and ancient title-deeds."[4]

Lutheran
  • Weiser, Frederick Sheely. Parochial Registers for Lutheran Congregations in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, 1729-1960: A Guide to Genealogical Resources in the Parish Records of Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, As Well As to Translations and Copies in Print in Public Institutions. Lancaster, Pa.: unknown, 1961. Digital version at Ancestry ($).

Evangelical Lutheran

Rev. John Casper Stoever's Records, 1730-1779:

Book: Records of Rev. John Casper Stoever, Baptismal and Marriage, 1730-1779. (Harrisburg, PA: Harrisburg Pub.,1896). Digital version: Internet Archive.
Transcripts:
- Rev. John Casper Stoever’s Baptisms in Alphabetical Order
- Marriage Records of Rev. John Casper Stoever with all 1,429 marriages compiled by Mildred Smith, (Lancaster County Genealogy Project).
Methodist
  • 1884-1913 - The Church of the Mount Hope Methodist-Episcopal Church, Quarryville Charge, Record of Marriages at PAGenWeb - free.
Presbyterian

The first Scotch-Irish settlement in Lancaster County was made at Chickies Creek in 1714. Donegal Presbyterian Church was built there shortly thereafter. Pequea Presbyterian Church, constructed at another early Scotch-Irish settlement, was built in 1724.[3]

Paxtang Church and Derry Church were both organized in 1729.[3]

  • 1741-1810 - Marriage Record of Paxtang and Derry Churches, 1741-1810 (Pennsylvania Archives, Series 2, Vol. 8, Part 10) at Ancestry ($); Google Books - free.

The Hanover Presbyterian Church was built in 1736 in a Scotch-Irish settlement. This ground later fell within the bounds of Dauphin County and still later Lebanon County after those counties split off.[3]

Quaker
  • 1800s-1900s - Pennsylvania Quaker Records: Warrington, York County, Little Brittain, Lancaster County, Centre, Centre County, West Branch, Clearfield County, Dunnings Creek, Bedford County. n.p. Digital versions at Ancestry ($); Internet Archive - free.
Reformed
  • 1774-1819 - Transcript of baptismal record of the Reformed Church of Maytown, Lancaster County, 1765 (1774)-1819. Typescript held at the Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Digital version at Ancestry ($).

Court Records

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

Directories

Emigration and Immigration

Ethnic Groups

Germans
Huguenots

Shirk, Willis L., Jr. "Assimilating into the Amerian Milieu: French Huguenots in Eighteenth Century Lancaster County", Lancaster Historical Society Journal, 95:3, 74.

Gazetteers

Genealogy

History

Published Histories

Some of the Lancaster County histories available in the Family History Library:

Land and Property

Land records in Lancaster County began in 1728. These records are filed with the Recorder of Deeds office in Lancaster, 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

  • 1729–present The Recorder of Deeds has placed all county land records on-line which can be viewed for free. Land Records from 1981 to present can be viewed and searched; you do not have to be a registered user, just login as Guest. Land Records from 1729 to 1981 can be viewed but not searched so have the Page number and the Land Record number (Book and Volume for older records).

Land Records on Microfilm

Maps

  • MacInnes, Sharon Cook and Angus MacInnes. Early Landowners of Pennsylvania : Atlas of Township Warrantee Maps of Lancaster County, PA. Apollo, Pennsylvania : Closson Press, 2008. FHL book 974.815 E7ms
  • Gilbert, Geri. The Warrant Maps of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania: Including an Every-name Index.Morgantown, Pennsylvania : Masthof Press, 2005. FHL Q book 974.815 R2g

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

Additional Resources

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 Lancaster County Pennsylvania Land in online catalogs such as:

Maps

https://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/images/3/36/Lancaster_county_pennsylvania_townships.pngLancaster county pennsylvania townships.png
About this image
Click the image to view an enlarged version


Migration

Military

French and Indian War

In 1756, Colonel Armstrong recruited many Scotch-Irish men from Lancaster County. They attacked and destroyed the Indian village at Kittanning (present-day Armstrong County).[3]

Colonel Henry Bouquet led a group of Scotch-Irish men from Lancaster County to rescue Fort Pitt. They decisively defeated the Indians at the Battle of Bushy Run.[3]

Reverend John Elder, pastor of Derry and Paxtang churches, recruited Scotch-Irish rangers from his congregation in Lancaster County. Known as the Paxton Rangers or Paxton Boys, they provided security for white settlements between the Blue Mountains and the Susquehanna River. They are remembered for playing a prominent role in Pontiac's War.[3]

Revolutionary War

Local men served in the Lancaster 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.

Lancaster County men also served in the 1st Pennsylvania Regiment,[5] the 5th Pennsylvania Regiment,[5] and the 9th Pennsylvania Regiment.[6]

Civil War

Pennsylvania Volunteers of the Civil War lists Lancaster County Pennsylvania Soldiers in the Civil War - Civil War Books, Rosters, Medal of Honor Recipients, and Soldier Biographies.

Naturalization and Citizenship  

Newspapers

Lancaster 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 Lancaster County

Online Newspapers

  • Lancaster Intelligencer 1833-1852
  • Marietta Register 1883-1890
  • Mariettian 1858-1860
  • Marietta Advocate and Farmers' and Mechanic's Intelligencer 1833-1835
  • Marietta Pioneer 9/1827-9/1828
  • Pioneer (Marietta) 9/26/1828-1/8/1830

The Lancaster County Digitization Project is a consortium of institutions interested in digitizing the county's newspaper and manuscript collections. Several Lancaster county newspapers are provided in digital format through this and other collaborative efforts. 

Online Newspaper Abstracts

Newspaper Collections

Father Abraham 6/12/1868-4/29/1870; 10/25/1872-12/13/1872
Lancaster Intelligencer 12/28/1847-12/27/1871

Newspaper Extracts and Abstracts

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

Occupations

Indentured Servants

Periodicals

Poorhouse, Almshouse

Probate Records

Probate matters in Lancaster 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 Lancaster County, Pennsylvania probate wills in online catalogs like:

Online Probate Indexes

  • 1729-1850 - Fulton, Eleanore Jane. An Index to the Will Books and Intestate Records of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania 1729-1850: with an Historical Sketch and Classified Bibliography. Lancaster, Pa.: Fulton and Mylin, 1936. Digital version at Ancestry ($).

Online Probate Records

Many original Montgomery County probate records are available free online as digital images at:

  • 1729-1947Pennsylvania, Probate Records, 1683-1994 at FamilySearch.org - free. Includes Lancaster County, Pennsylvania Will Index (1729-1947), Wills Abstract Index (1721-1820), Will Books A-2R (1730-1908), Letter of Administration Index (1730-1830), and Orphan's Court Record Index (1742-1755).

Original Probate Records

Lancaster County has an Online Index for their Probate Files and can be viewed for free.

A number of wills and other probate records from the Lancaster County Probate office have been filmed by the Family History Library in Salt Lake and are available for viewing either in Salt Lake or in one of its affiliate Family History Centers.

Repositories

Archives

Lancaster County Archives
150 North Queen Street, Suite 10,
Lancaster, PA 17603
Phone: (717) 299-8319
FAX: (717) 735-9606
Email: archives@co.lancaster.pa.us
The archives has historic records, such as wills and deeds from the beginning of the county in 1729.

Evangelical and Reformed Historical Society (ERHS) and United Church of Christ Archives (UCC)
Philip Schaff Library
Lancaster Theological Seminary
555 W. James Street
Lancaster, PA 17603
Phone: (717) 290-8734
This site has church records and family histories that used to be at the Franklin and Marshall College Library.

Franklin and Marshall College Library
Archives and Special Collections
450 College Ave
PO Box 3003
Lancaster, PA 17604
Phone: (717) 291-4223
Has some genealogical data about College faculty, students and administrators only. All church records and family histories were moved to the Lancaster Theological Seminary in 1967 (see above).

LancasterHistory.org
Lancaster County's Historical Society and President James Buchanan's Wheatland
230 North President Avenue
Lancaster, PA 17603
Phone: (717)392-4633
Fax: (717) 293-2739
Email: Information|Research Assistant
The archive has county records, manuscripts, newspapers, and more. Check the online finding aids, library catalog, Discovery Tool, and online newspapers and city directories.

Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society - Archives
2215 Millstream Rd
Lancaster, PA 17602-1499
Phone:(717) 393-9745
Fax: (717) 393-8751
E-mail: lmhs@lmhs.org
This is the official depository for records of the Atlantic Coast and Lancaster Conferences of the Mennonite Church. In addition, it has many records of other organizations affiliated with them.It also has helps for genealogists.

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
300 Gap Road
P. O. Box 15
Strasburg, PA 17579
Phone: (717) 687-8628
The Library has thousands of historic books and magazines about railroads. The Archives has a large collection of photographs, maps, and manuscripts. Try their catalogs to see specific information.

Courthouse

Lancaster County Courthouse

  • Register of Wills
    50 N. Duke St.
    P.O. Box 83480
    Lancaster, PA 17608-3480
    email: Mary Ann Gerber - MGerber@co.lancaster.pa.us
    The Register of Wills and Clerk of Orphans' Court Office provides a variety of services to the public such as the probate of decedent estates, issuance of marriage licenses, collection of inheritance taxes and maintenance of records pertaining to adoptions, guardianships and estates.
  • Office of the Clerk of Courts
    County of Lancaster
    50 North Duke Street
    P.O. Box 83480
    Lancaster, PA 17608-3480
    Phone: (717) 299-8275
    Fax: (717) 295-3686
    Email: ClerkofCourts@co.lancaster.pa.us
    The Clerk of Courts maintains criminal records for the courts and the 519,000 plus citizens of Lancaster County. Many of the records are scanned.
  • Recorder of Deeds
    150 N. Queen St.
    P.O. Box 1478
    Lancaster, PA 17608-1478
    Telephone: : 717.299.8238
    Fax: 717.299.8393
    An online sight allows users to search records from 1729-1981 which requires you to sign in.
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 Lancaster County, Pennsylvania is the Lancaster Pennsylvania Family History Center. For additional nearby Family History Centers, search online in the FHC directory.

Libraries

Lancaster County Library
Location Address:
    125 North Duke St
    Lancaster, PA 17602
Phone Number: (717) 394-2651
Mailing Address:
    125 North Duke St
    Lancaster, PA 17602

The Lancaster Public Library is part of the Lancaster Public Library System that serves 16 libraries. They have shared online catalog which has a sizable genealogy and biography collection.
Online Catalog

Winters Heritage House Museum
Seibert Library
Elizabethtown Preservation Associates, Inc.
P.O. Box 14, 41-47 East High Street
Elizabethtown PA 17022
Phone: (717) 367-4672
Email: winters-hh@embarqmail.com
Fax: (717) 367-9991
The library has historical and family records, maps, photographs, etc. Call ahead to make an appointment with a research librarian. The museum has three original log structures dating from 1750-1847, and a brick house dating to 1877.

Museums

Amish Farm and House
GPS/MapQuest Address:
The Amish Farm and House
2395 Lincoln Highway East (Covered Bridge Drive)
Lancaster, PA 17602
Phone: 717-394-6185
Fax: 717-394-4857
info@amishfarmandhouse.com
Tours explain Amish life and customs.

Bethel Harambee Historical Services
Hopkins Study Center
Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church
450-512 East Strawberry
Lancaster PA 17602-4449
Phone: (717) 393-8379
Has historical documents relating to African American history.

Ephrata Cloister
632 West Main Street, Ephrata, PA 17522
Phone:(717) 733-6600
Email: ra-ephratacloister@pa.gov
The cloister has a small research library that is open weekdays by appointment only. Limited genealogical materials are available. "The staff is unable to answer genealogical queries, but can provide some advice on available sources." For an appointment, call the Curator.

LancasterHistory.org
Lancaster County's Historical Society and President James Buchanan's Wheatland
230 North President Avenue
Lancaster, PA 17603
Phone: (717) 392-4633
Fax: (717) 293-2739
Email: Information|Research Assistant
This historical center has a library and archives with many records of genealogical value. 

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
300 Gap Road
P. O. Box 15
Strasburg, PA 17579
Phone: 717 687-8628
Has good information about U.S. Railroads, including a timeline.The museum also has a library and archives.

Societies

There are two very helpful societies in Lancaster County:

Lancaster County Historical Society
230 N President Ave
Lancaster, PA 17603
(717) 392-4633

The society has a research library, with an Online Search.
The Family History Library has some of the journals they have published on microfilm.

Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society
2215 Millstream Rd
Lancaster, PA 17602-1499
(717) 393-9745

The society has an online catalog.

  • Come join our Lancaster County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Group at Facebook

Taxation

  • Pre-1729 - Eshelman, H. Frank. Assessment Lists and Other Manuscript Documents of Lancaster County Prior to 1729. Digitized by Internet Archive - free.[7]
  • 1751, 1756-1758 - Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Tax Lists 1751, 1756, 1757, 1758: With Additional Tax Lists and Index at FamilySearch Books Online - free.
  • 1771-1773, 1779, 1782 - Proprietary and State Tax Lists of the County of Lancaster: For the Years 1771, 1772, 1773, 1779 and 1782. (Pennsylvania Archives, Series 3, Vol. 17). Digital versions at Ancestry ($); Google Books - free.
  • 1798 - Pennsylvania, U.S. Direct Tax Lists, 1798 at Ancestry ($).

The Salt Lake City Family History Library has microfilmed many Lancaster County taxation records, and they are available in Salt Lake City and can be accessed in its satellite Family History Centers.

Vital Records

The following records are available at the Lancaster County Archives :

The Register of Wills keeps a marriage index beginning 1948 with an online index.

For birth, marriage and death records prior to 1906 contact:

Lancaster County Archives
150 North Queen Street, Suite 10
Lancaster PA 17603
Phone: 717-299-8319
Fax: 717-735-9606
archives@colancaster.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 Database
  • 1700-1821 – Pennsylvania Marriage Records Ancestry.com – ($) This database is incomplete for all counties.
  • Pre-1810 – Pennsylvania Marriages Ancestry.com – ($) This database is incomplete for all counties. It includes 35,000 marriage records from volume VIII of the second series of the Pennsylvania Archives.
Birth

The following records are available at the Lancaster County Archives :

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

Old birth records for Lancaster County from 1881 through 1906 are kept by the Register of Wills.

Birth and Death

Birth/Death records from 1907 to the present are kept by the Pennsylvania Department of Vital Records at New Castle, PA

The Lancaster County Register of Wills maintains a 24-hour telephone information line (717-295-2001) which gives specific details about how to access these birth/death records.

Marriage

The following records are available at the Lancaster County Archives :

  • 1852-1855 Marriage Registrations
  • 1885-1998 Marriage License Applications

The Register of Wills keeps a marriage index beginning 1948 with an online index.

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

Divorce

Divorce records are handled by the office of the Prothonotary. Records may be obtained by visiting or writing.

  • 1851-1997 Divorce Records, online index (select Index Book Search)

Office of Prothonotary
County of Lancaster
50 North Duke Street
P.O. Box 83480
Lancaster PA 17608-3480
Phone: (717) 299-8282
Fax: (717) 293-7210
E-mail: kwoodjacobs@co.lancaster.pa.us

Death

The following records are available at the Lancaster County Archives :

  • 1852-1855 Death Registrations, online index 
  • 1894-1907 Death Registrations
  • 1874-1978 Death Affidavits

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 Lancaster County, Pennsylvania Vital Records in online catalogs like:

Web Sites

  • FamilyHart Online Database This is an online family database containing over 719,000 records, mostly of Pennsylvania Dutch Extraction. Many of the families are from Lancaster County. This database adds 1,000 names per week which is updated online every quarter. It is the most comprehensive family database online for Pennsylvania Dutch families.

Places

Populated Places

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 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Wayland F. Dunaway, The Scotch-Irish of Colonial Pennsylvania (Chapel Hill, N.C.: The University of North Carolina Press, 1944), 50. Free digital version at PA's Past: Digital Bookshelf at Penn State.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 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.
  6. Wikipedia contributors, "9th Pennsylvania Regiment," http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/9th_Pennsylvania_Regiment, accessed 31 May 2012.
  7. Our thanks to FamilyHart at PAGenWeb for this link.