Blair County, Pennsylvania Genealogy

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Guide to Blair County, Pennsylvania ancestry, genealogy and family history, birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, and military records.

County Facts
County seat: Hollidaysburg
Organized: February 26, 1846
Parent County(s): Huntingdon, Bedford[1]
Neighboring Counties
Centre  • Huntingdon  • Cambria  • Bedford  • Clearfield
See County Maps
Blair County, Pennsylvania Courthouse.jpg
Location Map
Blair County PA Map.png
Adopt-a-wiki page
Pa-rootsbuttonwiki.gif This page adopted by:
PA Roots and its members
who welcome you to contribute.
Adopt a page today

County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

Blair County is located in the central section of the state.[2]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Blair County Courthouse
423 Allegheny St.
Hollidaysburg, PA 16648-2022
Phone: 814-693-3050
Clerk of Courts: 814-693-3080
Orphan's Court: 814-693-3080
Recorder of Wills and Deeds: 814-693-3095
Prothonotary: 814-693-3080
Blair County Website

Prothonotar Office has divorce, probate and court records from 1846, naturalization records from 1848, marriage records from 1885, birth and death records 1893-1905[3]

Blair County, Pennsylvania Record Dates[edit | edit source]

Information for this chart was taken from various sources, often containing conflicting dates. This information should be taken as a guide and should be verified by contacting the county and/or the state government agency.

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[4]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1894 1885 1894 1846 1846 1846 1790
*Statewide registration for births and deaths began in 1906. General compliance by 1915.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

  • Formed from Huntingdon and Bedford Counties 26 February 1846.[5]
  • County seat: Hollidaysburg[6]
  • 27 January 1750: Blair County was part of Cumberland County when it was created.
  • 9 March 1771: Bedford County was created out of Cumberland County.
  • 20 September 1787: Huntingdon County was created out of Bedford County; all but a part of Greenfield Township split into Huntingdon County while the small part of Greenfield remained in Bedford County.

For animated maps illustrating Pennsylvania county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Pennsylvania County Boundary Maps" (1673-1878) may be viewed at the website.

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

For a complete list of populated places, including small neighborhoods and suburbs, visit HomeTown Locator. The following are the most historically and genealogically relevant populated places in this county:[7]

Census-designated places

History Timeline[edit | edit source]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

Biographies[edit | edit source]

  • Blair County Biographies at Blair County, Pennsylvania USGenWeb Archives Includes:
    Samuel T. Wiley's Biographical and Portrait Cyclopedia of Blair County, 1892 including index.
    Jesse C. Sell's Twentieth Century History of Altoona and Blair County, Pennsylvania, and Representative Citizens, 1911 including index.
    Tarring S. Davis' History of Blair County, 1931 Includes index of biographies.
  • Wiley, Samuel Thomas, and Garner, Winfield Scott. Biographical and portrait cyclopedia of Blair County, Pennsylvania. Gresham Publishing Co., 1892. FHL Collection

Business, Commerce, and Occupations[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Blair County, Pennsylvania online and in print
Tombstone Transcriptions Online
Tombstone Transcriptions in Print (Often more complete)
List of Cemeteries in the County
See Pennsylvania Cemeteries for more information

Additional Cemetery Resources

Woodbury Township

  • Biddle Farm Cemetery: on Clover Creek across the street from Snively Cemetery. Not to be confused with the Biddle Farm Cemetery on Plum Creek. Biddle Farm Cemetery on Clover Creek: Latitude 402553 N. Longitute 0781205 W. Transcription available (ca 1930/1970) in the George Liebegott Collection housed in the Martinsburg Public Library and also available on microfilm at the Family History Library. Cemetery restored in 2001 by Ramona Householder who published her findings in The Biddle Family Cemetery. Copies of the book The Biddle Family Cemetery are housed in the Blair County Genealogical Society and the Family History Library in Salt Lake.
  • Dell/Smith Farm Cemetery: on Clover Creek three miles east of Williamsburg. In very poor shape. Transcription available on Family History Library US/CAN Film 833,492. Not to be confused with another Smith Cemetery, also located in Blair County that no longer exists.

Saint John's Cemetery: at Shellytown near Clover Creek. Transcription (ca 1950/1970) available in the George Liebegott Collection housed at the Martinsburg Public Library, Martinsburg, PA and also on microfilm through the Family History Library.

Snively Cemetery: on Clover Creek. Cemetery in great shape (2001). Transcription available at the Martinsburg Public Library in Martinsburg, PA in a brownish folder/book titled Snively Cemetery and published 1983 in Williamsburg, PA.

Huston Township

  • Ditch Cemetery: Transcription available in Ditch Cemetery File at the Blair County Genealogical Society.

Taylor Township

  • Biddle/Hoover/Smith Farm Cemetery: located near East Sharpsburg, Taylor Twp, on left side of road (back behind house) down Plum Creek. Further down Plum Creek Road than Snowberger Cemetery. In poor shape (2001). Won't be able to see it from the road unless you have been there before. 1936 transcription done by George Liebegott and deposited in the George Liebegott Collection at the Martinsburg Public Library, Martinsburg, PA and also on microfilm through the Family History Library.

East Sharpsburg/St. John's Reformed Church/Umbower Cemetery: located by St. John's Reformed Church in East Sharpsburg, PA. Transcription available in the Martinsburg Public Library Genealogical Room. Transcription for oldest section done in 1979, the remainder in 1992.

Snowberger Cemetery: located near East Sharpsburg, Taylor Twp, on left side of road down Plum Creek. 1936 transcription done by George Liebegott and reposited in the George Liebegott Collection at the Martinsburg Public Library, Martinsburg, PA and also on microfilm through the Family History Library. Cemetery in good shape (2001).

Census Records[edit | edit source]

Federal Census

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1850 21,777
1860 27,829 27.8%
1870 38,051 36.7%
1880 52,740 38.6%
1890 70,866 34.4%
1900 85,099 20.1%
1910 108,858 27.9%
1920 128,334 17.9%
1930 139,840 9.0%
1940 140,358 0.4%
1950 139,519 −0.6%
1960 137,270 −1.6%
1970 135,356 −1.4%
1980 136,621 0.9%
1990 130,542 −4.4%
2000 129,144 −1.1%
2010 127,089 −1.6%
Source: "".

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Church records and the information they provide vary significantly depending on the denomination and the record keeper. For members, they may contain: age, date of baptism, christening, or birth; marriage date and maiden name; death/burial date. For general information about Pennsylvania denominations, see Pennsylvania Church Records.

Blair County Pennsylvania Churches.png

County-wide DatabaseMulti-denominational

Denominations in Blair County include Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist Episcopal, Presbyterian, and others.

Contains church records of:
  • Altoona: First United Methodist Church; First United Presbyterian Church; St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • Barnesboro: Duncansville Presbyterian Church
  • Hollidaysburg: First Presbyterian Church; First United Methodist Church; Martinsburg Methodist Episcopal Church
  • Tyrone: First Presbyterian Church
  • Williamsburg: St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church; Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church


List of Churches and Church Parishes

Court Records[edit | edit source]

For information about records kept in the Orphan's court, Prothonotary Court, Court of Common Pleas, and other courts in counties of Pennsylvania, visit the Pennsylvania Court Records Wiki page.

Directories[edit | edit source]

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

For online resources, passenger lists, and specific groups coming to Pennsylvania, see Pennsylvania Emigration and Immigration.

Ethnic, Political, and Religious Groups[edit | edit source]

For groups that came, see People section of the Pennsylvania Emigration page.

Funeral Homes[edit | edit source]

Genealogies[edit | edit source]

Guardianship[edit | edit source]

The Orphan's Court ensures the best interests of those not capable of handling their own affairs: minors, incapacitated persons, decedents' estates, and more.[9]

Land and Property Records[edit | edit source]

Land and property records can place an ancestor in a specific location and reveal family relationships. Records include: deeds, abstracts, indexes, mortgages, leases, grants, sheriff sales, land patents, maps and more. For more information, see Pennsylvania Land and Property.

Land records in Blair County began in 1846. These records are filed with the Register of Wills and Recorder of Deeds office in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania. Blair County Genealogical Society holds the original deed books from 1846-?. (The most recent deed books are at the courthouse.) county pennsylvania townships.png
About this image

Online Land Records

  • 1973 – present Blair County offers online access to land records. Fees apply.

Land Warrants

  • FamilySearch Catalog

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Clearfield CountyCentre CountyHuntingdon CountyBedford CountyCambria CountySomerset CountyPA BLAIR.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources


Migration[edit | edit source]

Military Records[edit | edit source]

Civil War

World War II

Naturalization and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

Naturalization records can contain information about immigration and nativity. Prior to 1906, it is rare to find the town of origin in naturalization records. For more information, see Pennsylvania Naturalization

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Newspapers may contain obituaries, births, marriages, deaths, anniversaries, family gatherings, family travel, achievements, business notices, engagement information, and probate court proceedings. Newspapers are often found in local or university libraries, historical or genealogical societies, or state archives in the area where the newspaper was published. See Pennsylvania Newspapers for more information.

Newspapers of Blair County

Online Newspapers

To learn if there are newspapers on line for a specific town or city in Pennsylvania, see Google Newspaper listings and search for the town or the name of a newspaper.

Online Newspaper Abstracts and Indexes

  • Birth Index: This is a work in progress and is in the beginning stages. The birth notices from the Altoona Mirror that have been added may be searched by the child's last name, Mother's maiden or married name, Father's last name or the date of birth. Unlike the Obituary index which is only an index, complete information is contained in a Birth Index entry.
  • Blair County Newspaper Articles at Blair County, Pennsylvania USGenWeb Archives

Newspaper Excerpts and Abstracts 1947-2010 Pennsylvania Obituary and Marriage Collection, 1947-2010 at FamilySearch - How to Use this Collection; index and images

  • Claar, Archie C., WWII Newspaper Clippings, Blair County, Pennsylvania (SLC, Utah, 2004) FHL film 1573626

Obituaries[edit | edit source]

Obituaries are generally found in local newspapers where the person died or where family members lived. Local libraries or societies may have indexes or other sources.

Online Obituary Abstracts and Index

  • Obituary Index: The Obituary Index lists the dates that local obituaries appeared in the Altoona Mirror. It is searchable by last name or maiden name. It currently covers the period from 1936 to the present. Once an obituary date is located a patron can visit the library and print it from the library's microfilm or patrons who cannot visit the library may order prints from the library to be mailed to the patron for a nominal fee.
  • Blair County Obituaries at Blair County, Pennsylvania USGenWeb Archives Includes:
    Archie Claar Obituary Collection 1934-1942
    Altoona Mirror Obituaries 1998-2003
    Morrisons Cove Herald Obituary Abstracts 2006-2007
    Miscellaneous Obituaries

Obituary Excerpts and Abstracts

  • Claar, Archie, edited and indexed by Jan Oberle and James D. Boor, Obituary Clippings [in Blair and Bedford Counties, Pennsylvania] (Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania:Hoenstine's, 1990-1996) FHL book 974.87 V4c volume 1-66 Photocopy of newspaper clippings. Each volume contains an index.
  • Altoona Mirror, Altoona Mirror Obituary Collection; Also Known as Old Greenfield Township Obituary Collection (SLC, Utah, 2001) FHL film 2259074 (first of 14)
  • Weston, June L. Hoffman (editor), Civil War Veterans' Obituaries, Articles, Letters and Photographs (Hollidaysburg, PA:Blair County Genealogical Society [Pennsylvania], 2005-2010) FHL book 974.875 M2w 1861-1910

Other Records[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Probate matters in Blair County are handled by the Orphans' Court and start when the county was created.

In addition to wills and administrations, the Orphans' Court also handles: audits of accounts of executors, administrators, trustees, and guardians; distribution of estates; appointments of guardians; adoptions; appeals from the Register of Wills; inheritance tax appeals, and various petitions and motions.

Online Probate and Indexes Records

Will Abstracts

School Records[edit | edit source]

Social Security Records[edit | edit source]

Tax Records[edit | edit source]

Vital Records[edit | edit source]

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. County marriage records were kept in earnest in 1885. Births and deaths, at the county level, were begun in 1893 and kept through 1905. For the most complete set of records, contact the County Orphans' Court.

Birth[edit | edit source]

Early births 1893–1905 are located at the County Orphans' Court. For more information, see Pennsylvania Vital Records.

Marriage[edit | edit source]

Pennsylvania marriages were created by county officials. Contact Blair County Courthouse

Death[edit | edit source]

Early deaths 1893–1905 are located at the County Orphans' Court. For indexes and records, 1906 and later, see Pennsylvania Vital Records.

Divorce[edit | edit source]

Divorce records are available through the office of the Prothonotary, Blair County Courthouse.

Research Facilities[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

Listed below are archives in Blair County. For state-wide archival repositories, see Pennsylvania Archives and Libraries.

National Archives at Philadelphia
14700 Townsend Road
Philadelphia, PA 19154-1096
Phone: 215-305-2044
Fax: 215-305-2052

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Family History Center and Affiliate Library Locator map - search for local Family History Centers or Affiliate Libraries

  • Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance, free access to center-only databases, and to premium genealogical websites.
  • FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries have access to most center-only databases, but may not always have full services normally provided by a family history center.

Local Centers and Affiliate Libraries

Libraries[edit | edit source]

Listed below are libraries in Blair County. For state-wide library facilities, see Pennsylvania Archives and Libraries.

Blair County Library System
1600 Fifth Avenue
Altoona, PA 16601
Phone: 814-946-0417, ext. 132

Martinsburg Community Library
201 South Walnut Street
Martinsburg, PA 16662-1129
Phone: 814-793-3335
Fax: 814-793-9755

Museums[edit | edit source]

Railroaders Memorial Museum
1300 Ninth Ave.
Altoona, PA 16602
Phone: 814-946-0834

Societies[edit | edit source]

Listed below are societies in Blair County. For state-wide genealogical societies, see Pennsylvania Societies.

Blair County Genealogical Society
Roller-Hojeth Memorial Library
431 Scotch Valley Rd.
Hollidaysburg, PA 16648
Phone: 814-696-3492

Blair County Historical Society
3419 Oak Lane
Altoona, PA 16602
Phone: 814-942-3916
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 1083
Altoona, PA 16603

Tyrone Area Historical Society
P.O. Box 1850
Tyrone, PA 16686-0102
Phone: 814-684-5141

Websites[edit | edit source]

Research Guides[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Pennsylvania.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  2.,_Pennsylvania accessed 2/1/2017
  3. The Handybook for Genealogists : United States of America, 10th ed., (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002) Blair, Pennsylvania, p.588
  4. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Pennsylvania.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  5. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Pennsylvania.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  6. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Pennsylvania.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  7. Wikipedia contributors, "Blair County, Pennsylvania," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_Pennsylvania, accessed 13 January 2020.
  8. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at
  9. The Philadelphia Courts at Common Pleas accessed 10 July 2012