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
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the Pennsylvania Family History Research series.
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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 1800 York 1800 1800
A5 Allegheny County Office Bldg., 542 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh 15219 1788 Washington/Westmoreland 1788 1789, City-County Building, Pittsburgh 15219
B4 Armstrong Market St., Kittanning 16201 1800 Allegheny/Lycoming/Westmoreland 1805 1805
Armstrong was attached to Westmoreland County until 1805.
A4 Beaver 810 Third St., Bldg. B, Beaver 15009-0537 1800 Allegheny/Washington 1803 1800, 801 Third St., Beaver 15009
Beaver was attached to Allegheny County until 1803.
D6 Bedford 200 South Juliana St., Bedford 15522-1714 1771 Cumberland 1771 1771
J5 Berks 633 Court St., 3d Floor, Reading 19601-3594 1752 Chester/Lancaster/Philadelphia 1752 1752, 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 1846 Huntingdon/Bedford 1846 1846
H2 Bradford 301 Main St., Towanda 18848-1824 1810 (as Ontario) Luzerne/Lycoming (renamed and formally organized, 1812) 1812 1812
K5 Bucks 55 East Court St., Doylestown 18901 1682 original 1684 1683
B4 Butler 124 West Diamond St., P.O. Box 1208, Butler 16001-1208 1800 Allegheny 1804 1804
Butler was attached to Allegheny County until 1803.
D5 Cambria 200 South Center St., Ebensburg 15931 1804 Somerset/Bedford/Huntingdon 1846 1819, P.O. Box 298, Ebensburg 15931-0298
Cambria was attached to Somerset County until 1807.
E3 Cameron 20 East Fifth St., Emporium 15834-1469 1860 Clinton/Elk/McKean/Potter 1860 1863
J4 Carbon Hazard Sq. and Rt. 209, P.O. Box 87, Jim Thorpe 18229-0087 1843 Monroe/Northampton 1843 1843, 1 Hazard Sq., P.O. Box 286, Jim Thorpe 18229-0286
E4 Centre Willowbank Co. Office Bldg., 414 Holmes St., Bellefonte 16823-1488 1800 Lycoming/Mifflin/Huntingdon 1801 1800, Willowbank Co. Office Bldg., 414 Holmes St., Ste. #2, Bellefonte 16823