Bradford County, Pennsylvania Genealogy

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

County Facts
County seat: Towanda
Organized: February 21, 1810
Parent County(s): Luzerne, Lycoming[1]
Neighboring Counties
Chemung (NY)  • Tioga (NY)  • Susquehanna  • Tioga  • Sullivan  • Wyoming  • Lycoming
See County Maps
Bradford County, Pennsylvania Courthouse.jpg
Location Map
Bradford County PA Map.png
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County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

It is named for William Bradford, who had been a chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and United States Attorney General. It is located in the Northeast section of the state.[2]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Bradford County Courthouse
Recorder's Office
301 Main St.
Towanda, PA 18848
Orphans' Court/Register/Recorder Phone: (570) 265-1702
Prothonotary/clerk of courts Phone: (570) 265-1705
Fax: (570) 265-1788
Bradford County Website

Prothonotary and Clerk Courts has divorce records from 1878, court records from 1813, and naturalization records 1832-1960
Register and Recorder Office has birth and death records 1895-1905, marriage records from 1885, probate and land records from 1812, and military records from 1940[3]

Bradford 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
1895 1885 1895 1813 1812 1812 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]

Connecticut claimed the area which included what is now Bradford County before 1808 or 1827, depending on the source.[7]

  • Before 1772: Most of today's Bradford County was included in Northampton County, the rest was not included in any county until 1785.
  • 1772: Northumberland County, including the part containing future Bradford County was carved from Northampton County.
  • 1785: The remainder of future Bradford County was annexed to Northumberland County.
  • 1786: Luzerne County, which then included future Bradford County, was formed from Northumberland County.
  • 21 February 1810: Ontario County (now defunct), which included future Bradford County, was carved from Luzerne County. [8]
  • 6 March 1812: Ontario County was renamed Bradford County.[8]

For animated maps illustrating Pennsylvania county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Pennsylvania County Boundary Maps" (1673-1878) may be viewed for free 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:[9]

Unincorporated communities
Census-designated places
Ghost towns

History Timeline[edit | edit source]

The History of Bradford County, Pennsylvania, with Biographical Sketches, by H. C. Bradsby, 1891 is available at the Tri-Counties Genealogy and History website.

Resources[edit | edit source]

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

Biographies[edit | edit source]

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

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries of Bradford 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

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The usage of "Mormon" and "LDS" on this page is approved according to current policy.

Additional Cemetery Resources

Census Records[edit | edit source]

Federal Census

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1820 11,554
1830 19,746 70.9%
1840 32,769 66.0%
1850 42,831 30.7%
1860 48,734 13.8%
1870 53,204 9.2%
1880 58,541 10.0%
1890 59,233 1.2%
1900 59,403 0.3%
1910 54,526 −8.2%
1920 53,166 −2.5%
1930 49,039 −7.8%
1940 50,615 3.2%
1950 51,722 2.2%
1960 54,925 6.2%
1970 57,962 5.5%
1980 62,919 8.6%
1990 60,967 −3.1%
2000 62,761 2.9%
2010 62,622 −0.2%
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.

Federal Census


Bradford county pennsylvania churches.png

County-wide Database

Contains church records of:
  • Athens: First Presbyterian Church; Trinity Episcopal Church
  • Burlington: Broad Street United Methodist Church; Union Street Methodist Episcopal Church
  • Canton: First Presbyterian Church; First United Methodist Church
  • Evergreen: Evergreen Baptist Church
  • New Albany: New Albany Baptist Church
  • Sayre: First Presbyterian Church; St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • Stevensville: St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, Francisville
  • Towanda: First United Methodist Church
  • Ulster: Presbyterian Church
  • Wilmot: St. John's Lutheran Church
  • Wyalusing: Trinity Episcopal Church
  • The Bradford County Historical Society genealogical library and research center has a collection of church records that can be used onsite. They are creating a list of those and it will be added to the site when it is complete.
  • The Tri-Counties Genealogy and History website has a number of Bradford, Chemung, and Tioga county church links connecting users to histories and records of those churches.

Baptists were among the earliest settlers in Bradford County. Several Baptist missionaries toured the region at the start of the 19th century, and a large group of Baptist migrants from Pittsford, Vermont, founded the Burlington (now Troy) Baptist Church in 1808. They were organized under the Chemung (County, New York) Baptist Association.

The Catholic church took hold in the early 1820s when there was a large influx into the area.

The Lutheran congregations were established by Germans in the mid-1800s.

The Methodist Episcopal church, though not a large group, had an early presence in the county.

Many of the Presbyterians began as Congregationalist in the late 1700s.
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.[10]

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 Bradford County began in 1812. These records are filed with the Recorder/Register/Clerk of the Orphan's Court office in Towanda, Pennsylvania.

Be aware that (particularly in the early 1800s) deeds were not always recorded. Sometimes the early tax assessments will make mention of these early land transfers--giving the name of the grantor and grantee.

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Franklin CountyCumberland CountyYork CountyWashington CountyFrederick CountyCarroll CountyPA ADAMS.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources


Migration[edit | edit source]

Early migration routes for European settlers to and from Bradford County, Pennsylvania included:[11]

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 Bradford County

Online Newspapers

To learn if there are newspapers online for a specific town or city in Pennsylvania, see and search for the town or the name of a newspaper.

Online Newspaper Abstracts

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

Obituary Excerpts and Abstracts

  • Fray, Robert G., Bradford County, Pa., Area Deaths (Allentown, Pennsylvania:R.G. Fray Publishing, c2000) FHL book 974.857 V4f v.1 Includes deaths as reported in the Evening Times, orginally published at Syre, Bradford, Pennsylvania. Includes index.

Other Records[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Probate matters in Bradford 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 Indexes and Records

School Records[edit | edit source]

Social Security Records[edit | edit source]

Tax Records[edit | edit source]

The original early tax records are housed at the Bradford County Historical Society in Towanda, Pennsylvania. As of May 2011, these records have not been microfilmed. Because these records are in such a fragile condition, the Historical Society has been attempting to make photocopies of the records. The records that have been photocopied have also been indexed--but because of the scope of this endeavor, the indexes may contain errors.

These tax records are contained in individual books for each individual township for each year. There are some years which are missing. The names are listed roughly in alphabetical order.

Early tax records for Bradford County are particularly valuable because they contain the "Poor Children" records. If the head of household was considered "poor", the tax collector would list the head of household and all children in the household between the ages of 5 and 12. The government was then required to pay for the schooling of these children. Typically ages were also listed with the children's names. In many cases, these are the only existing records containing the names of these children.

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 Bradford 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.

Research Facilities[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

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

Bradford County Library
16093 Route 6
Troy, PA 16947
Phone: 570-297-2436
Multiple locations

Museums[edit | edit source]

LeRoy Heritage Museum
257 Mill Street
LeRoy, PA
Phone: 570-364-5003
Mailing Address:
8051 Southside Road
Canton, PA 17724
The Museum's research library includes materials about historic residents of LeRoy Townhip, former Barclay Township (Barclay Mountain) and Granville Township.

The Home Textile Tool Museum
P.O. Box 153
Rome, PA 18837
Phone: 570-247-7175
Learn how your ancestors made their clothing.

Societies[edit | edit source]

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

Bradford County Historical Society
109 Pine Street
Towanda, PA 18848
Phone: 570-265-2240

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) Bradford County, 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. Pennsylvania line : a research guide to Pennsylvania genealogy and local history, 1990 ed. (Laughlintown, Pa.: Southwest Pennsylvania Genealogical Services, 1990), [FHL book 974.8 D27p 1990].
  8. 8.0 8.1 Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), [FHL book 973 D27e 2002].
  9. Wikipedia contributors, "Bradford County, Pennsylvania," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_Pennsylvania, accessed 13 January 2020.
  10. The Philadelphia Courts at Common Pleas accessed 10 July 2012
  11. Handybook, 847-61.
  12. Paul A. W. Wallace, Indian Paths of Pennsylvania (Harrisburg, Pa.: PA Historical and Museum Commission, 1971), 46-48. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 974.8 H2wp.