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United StatesGotoarrow.png Pennsylvania Gotoarrow.png Somerset County


Somerset County, Pennsylvania
Map
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Somerset County
Location in the state of Pennsylvania
Map of the U.S. highlighting Pennsylvania
Location of Pennsylvania in the U.S.
Facts
Founded April 17, 1795
County Seat Somerset
Courthouse
Somerset County, Pennsylvania Courthouse.jpg
Address Somerset County Courthouse
111 East Union Street

Somerset, PA 15501
Somerset County Website

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Contents

Historical Facts

Beginning dates for major county records
Birth
Marriage
Death
Deeds
Probate
1893
1885
1893
1795
1795


Named for the County of Somerset in England.


Boundary Changes

26 March 1804: Cambria County was set off.[1]


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

Billion Graves

Pennsylvania Genealogy

Epodunk

Pennsylvania Gravestones

Billion Graves

Names in Stone

Access Genealogy

Ancestry($)


See Pennsylvania Cemeteries for more information.


Census

For tips on accessing Somerset 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.
Somerset county pennsylvania churches.png

Finding Church Records at Other Repositories

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

County-wide Database - Multi-denominational
Catholic
  • 1843-1943 - "100 years of the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese 1843–1943". Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society Quarterly, 17:1. FamilySearch Library book 974.8 B2wg. Contains chronology, map, county-by-county information.
Episcopal

Services for the St. James Episcopal Church in Bedford began as early as 1755 but was not an organized parish until 1861.[3]

Lutheran

The Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church was organized by 1785 although the exact date is unknown. The Lutheran and German Reformed congregations met at the same union church until 1848. [4]

Methodist

In 1809, the Methodist Episcopal church was formed.[5]

Presbyterian

The Presbyterians were in the county early although no exact date is known, although, the first known paster came in 1786. The First Presbyterian Church building in the county was erected in Bedford in 1800.[6]

Reformed

The Reformed Church of Bedford was in the county early although no known date is known although it is believed it was before 1769. They met in a union church with the Lutherans until they separated in 1848. [7]

Court Records

Somerset County, Pennsylvania court records are housed at the Somerset 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. Somerset County 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.[8]

Somerset County, Pennsylvania County shares its judicial district with Adams County.

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.[9] For the Somerset 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 Somerset County, Pennsylvania Prothonotary office information.

Divorce

Orphan's Court (see Vital Records)

Emigration and Immigration

Ethnic Groups

Germans

Gazetteers

Genealogy

History

Published Histories

Land and Property

Land records in Somerset County began in 1795. These records are filed with the Register of Deeds office in Somerset, 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

  • 1985-present Images are available online using the Landex system. There is a fee to view the images.

Land Records on Microfilm

Additional Resources

Note that the "Maps" section below also 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 Somerset County Pennsylvania Land in online catalogs such as:

Maps

Ancestor Tracks has posted free downloadable images from the Somerset County Atlas of Surveys and Warrants Collected and Plotted as a WPA Project, 1939.  This atlas located in the Office of Recorder of Deeds in Somerset includes maps showing the first landowners, warrants, surveys, and patents, but they are not indexed.  While the physical maps may be in the public domain, the images we have taken of them belong to us and are not to be used commercially.  We hereby give permission to use them strictly for personal use; please attribute to Ancestor Tracks.  

Migration

Military

Revolutionary War

Men living in what is now Somerset County (then Bedford County) served in the 8th Pennsylvania Regiment.[10]

Naturalization and Citizenship

Newspapers

Obituaries

Occupations

Indentured Servants

Periodicals

Poorhouse, Almshouse

Probate Records

Repositories

Archives
Courthouse
Somerset County Courthouse
111 East Union Street
Somerset, PA 15501
Phone: (814) 445-1473
Copies of documents including birth, marriages, deaths, divorces, land, and probate records can be obtained by using: Pennsylvania Public Record. Click on the link for the record you wish to request.
Family History Centers
Libraries

The Meyersdale Public Library has a Pennsylvania Room focused on genealogical resources for the county and state. Their address is:

210 Center St
PO Box 98
Meyersdale, Pennsylvania, 15552
Phone: (814) 634-0512

The Pennsylvania Room provides research services for $15 for the first hour. They will contact you after the hour to determine how much more time would be needed to complete the request.

Obituary Services:

Museums
Societies

The Historical and Genealogical Society of Somerset County Pennsylvania maintains a library at the Somerset Historical Center. The collection includes records of birth, marriage, death, maps, military, newspapers, obituaries, tax, estate, family files, county histories, church records, and an online WPA Cemetery Index. A genealogical research service is offered with fees beginning at $20 for members and $25 for nonmembers.

Somerset Historical Center
10649 Somerset Pike
Somerset PA 15501
Genealogical Society Librarian: Susan Seese
814-445-6077
e-mail: c-sseese@pa.gov
facebook

Taxation

  • 1798 - Pennsylvania, U.S. Direct Tax Lists, 1798 at Ancestry ($).

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.

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. Includes 35,000 marriage records from vol. VIII of of the second series of the Pennsylvania Archives.
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

Marriage

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

Divorce

Divorce records are handled by the office of the Prothonotary. While no on-line indexes or records are available, records may be obtained by visiting or writing to the Prothonotary at:

Prothonotary's Office
111 East Union Street
Suite 165
Somerset, PA 15501
Phone: 814–445-1428
Fax: 814–444-9270
E–mail: prothonotary@co.somerset.pa.us

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.

Finding Vital Records at Other Repositories

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

Web Sites

  • USGenWeb project. May have maps, name indexes, history or other information for this county. Select the state, then the county.
  • Family History Library Catalog

Places

Populated Places

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 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. History of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties, Pennsylvania (Chicago, IL: Waterman, Watkins, 1884), 262; FamilySearch Books Online; At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL book 974.87 H2w.
  4. History of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties, Pennsylvania (Chicago, IL: Waterman, Watkins, 1884), 259; FamilySearch Books Online; At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL book 974.87 H2w.
  5. History of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties, Pennsylvania (Chicago, IL: Waterman, Watkins, 1884), 262; FamilySearch Books Online; At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL book 974.87 H2w.
  6. History of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties, Pennsylvania (Chicago, IL: Waterman, Watkins, 1884), 258-259; FamilySearch Books Online; At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL book 974.87 H2w.
  7. History of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties, Pennsylvania (Chicago, IL: Waterman, Watkins, 1884), 260; FamilySearch Books Online; At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL book 974.87 H2w.
  8. The Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania http://www.pacourts.us/T/CommonPleas/ accessed 10 July 2012.
  9. Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania, Clerk of Courts in http://www.pacourts.us/T/CommonPleas/ClerksOfCourts.htm (accessed 25 Aug 2012)
  10. Harold Frederic, William C. Frederick III with William J. McMaster Sr., Path of Blood: The Untold Story of the Kittanning PA. Regiment in the American Revolution (Kittanning, Pa.: W.C. Frederick, 1998). FHL Book 974.8 M2ff

 

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