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

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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
J6 Chester 235 West Market St., Ste. 100, P.O. Box 100, West Chester 19380 1682 original 1688 1924, 1714–1923*, 2 North High St., Ste. 109, P.O. Box 2748, West Chester 19380-0991
*Located at Chester County Archives and Records Service, Government Services Bldg., Ste. 80, 610 Westtown Rd., West Chester, PA 19382.
B3 Clarion Main St., Clarion 16214 1839 Venango/Armstrong 1840 1840
D4 Clearfield 230 East Market St., P.O. Box 361, Clearfield 16830-0361 1804 Lycoming/Huntingdon 1805 1823
Not organized for judiciary purposes until 1822, Clearfield functioned as a part of Centre County.
F3 Clinton Water and Jay Streets, P.O. Box 943, Lock Haven 17745-0943 1839 Lycoming/Centre 1839 1839
H3 Columbia 35 West Main St., Box 380, Bloomsburg 17815-0380 1813 Northumberland 1813 1813
A2 Crawford 903 Diamond Sq., Meadville 16335 1800 Allegheny 1800 1800
G6 Cumberland 1 Courthouse Sq., Carlisle 17013 1750 Lancaster 1750 1750
H5 Dauphin Front & Market Sts., Rm. 102, P.O. Box 1295, Harrisburg 17108-1295 1785 Lancaster 1785 1785, Front & Market Sts., Rm. 103, Harrisburg 17101
K6 Delaware Govt. Admin. Bldg. #107, 201 West Front St., Media 19063 1789 Chester 1789 1789
D2 Elk P.O. Box 314, Ridgway 15853-0314 1843 Jefferson/McKean/Clearfield 1844 1844
A1 Erie 140 West 6th St., Rm. 121, Erie 16501 1800 Allegheny 1823 1823
Erie was attached to Crawford County until 1803. A courthouse fire destroyed pre-1823 records.
B6 Fayette 61 East Main St., Uniontown 15401-3514 1783 Westmoreland 1784 1784
C2 Forest 526 Elm St., P.O. Box 423, Tionesta 16353-0423 1848 Jefferson/(part of Venango;annexed 1866) 1857 1855
Forest was attached to Jefferson County until 1857.
E6 Franklin 157 Lincoln Way East, Chambersburg 17201-2211 1784 Cumberland 1784 1784
E6 Fulton North Second St., McConnellsburg 17233 1850 Bedford 1850 1851
A6 Greene 93 East High St., Waynesburg 15370 1796 Washington 1796 1796
C4 Indiana 825 Philadelphia St., Indiana 15701-3934 1803 Lycoming/Westmoreland 1806 1803
Indiana was attached to Westmoreland County until 1806.
C3 Jefferson 200 Main St., Brookville 15825-1236 1804 Lycoming 1828 1832
Jefferson was attached to Westmoreland County until 1806 and to Indiana County until 1830.
F5 Juniata P.O. Box 68, Mifflintown 17059-0068 1831 Mifflin 1831 1831
J3 Lackawanna North Washington Ave., Scranton 18503 1878 Luzerne 1878 1878
J6 Lancaster 50 North Duke St., Lancaster 17602-2805 1729 Chester 1729 1729, 50 North Duke St., Lancaster 16702-3480
Some early court records have been transferred to the Lancaster County Historical Society, 230 N. President Ave., Lancaster, PA 17603.
A4 Lawrence County Government Center, 430 Court St., New Castle 16101 1849 Beaver/Mercer 1849 1849
H5 Lebanon 107 Municipal Bldg., 400 S. 8th St., Lebanon 17042-6794 1813 Dauphin/Lancaster 1813 1813, 105 Municipal Bldg., 400 South 8th St., Lebanon 17042-6794