Pennsylvania County Resources

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This entry was originally written by Roger D. Joslyn, CG, FUGA, FGBS, FASG for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.

This article is part of
the Pennsylvania Family History Research series.
History of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Vital Records
Census Records for Pennsylvania
Background Sources for Pennsylvania
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Pennsylvania Land Records
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Map of Pennsylvania


The township is the basic political unit in the county and may have within its boundaries incorporated towns, boroughs, and cities, although these would have their own local governments.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is comprised of sixty-seven counties and here may be found records of land, estates, taxes, vital records, divorces, naturalizations, voter registration, court records, and so forth. In 1952 an archives was started in Philadelphia, the oldest city archives in the country. John Daly compiled a Descriptive Inventory to its holdings in 1970. The first county archives was established in Chester County in 1982 and is considered the model for the Commonwealth. A number of other county archives are underway at various stages throughout Pennsylvania. For more detail about county office holdings, see the County Records Survey, Record Series Inventory, 1985–86, available on microfiche from the state archives, although Philadelphia is not included, and Monroe County follows Montgomery out of alphabetical sequence. This survey updates the inventories prepared by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), although the latter have greater detail. See also Stevens and Kent’s County Government Archives cited under Vermont Court Records.

The first column below indicates the map coordinates. In the second column is the name of the county and the mailing address of the recorder of deeds, where deeds and mortgages are found. The third column shows the date of county formation, with the name or names of the parent county or counties. The fourth column gives the date the earliest deed was recorded. The last column gives the mailing address of the register of wills, if different from the recorder. Estate records are found in the register’s office or orphans’ court. (See Vermont Court Records for other county offices.)

The Counties and County Seats of Pennsylvania

Map County County Address Date Formed Parent County(ies) Deeds Register of Wills
G6 Adams Courthouse, Gettysburg 17325-2398 1800York18001800
A5 Allegheny County Office Bldg., 542 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh 15219 1788Washington/Westmoreland17881789, City-County Building, Pittsburgh 15219
B4 Armstrong Market St., Kittanning 16201 1800Allegheny/Lycoming/Westmoreland18051805
Armstrong was attached to Westmoreland County until 1805.
A4 Beaver 810 Third St., Bldg. B, Beaver 15009-0537 1800Allegheny/Washington18031800, 801 Third St., Beaver 15009
Beaver was attached to Allegheny County until 1803.
D6 Bedford 200 South Juliana St., Bedford 15522-1714 1771Cumberland17711771
J5 Berks 633 Court St., 3d Floor, Reading 19601-3594 1752Chester/Lancaster/Philadelphia17521752, 633 Court St., 2d Floor
There are unrecorded deeds back to 1717 on microfilm at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
E5 Blair 423 Allegheny St., Hollidaysburg 16648-2022 1846Huntingdon/Bedford18461846
H2 Bradford 301 Main St., Towanda 18848-1824 1810 (as Ontario)Luzerne/Lycoming (renamed and formally organized, 1812)18121812
K5 Bucks 55 East Court St., Doylestown 18901 1682original16841683
B4 Butler 124 West Diamond St., P.O. Box 1208, Butler 16001-1208 1800Allegheny18041804
Butler was attached to Allegheny County until 1803.
D5 Cambria 200 South Center St., Ebensburg 15931 1804Somerset/Bedford/Huntingdon18461819, P.O. Box 298, Ebensburg 15931-0298
Cambria was attached to Somerset County until 1807.
E3 Cameron 20 East Fifth St., Emporium 15834-1469 1860Clinton/Elk/McKean/Potter18601863
J4 Carbon Hazard Sq. and Rt. 209, P.O. Box 87, Jim Thorpe 18229-0087 1843Monroe/Northampton18431843, 1 Hazard Sq., P.O. Box 286, Jim Thorpe 18229-0286
E4 Centre Willowbank Co. Office Bldg., 414 Holmes St., Bellefonte 16823-1488 1800Lycoming/Mifflin/Huntingdon18011800, Willowbank Co. Office Bldg., 414 Holmes St., Ste. #2, Bellefonte 16823
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