Butler County, Pennsylvania Genealogy

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

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

County Facts
County seat: Butler
Organized: March 12, 1800
Parent County(s): Allegheny[1]
Neighboring Counties
Venango  • Armstrong  • Lawrence  • Allegheny  • Westmoreland  • Beaver  • Mercer  • Clarion
Butler County, Pennsylvania Courthouse.jpg
Location Map
Butler 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]

It is named after General Richard Butler, a hero of the American Revolution. The county is located in the West central section of the state.[2]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Butler County Courthouse
124 W. Diamond Street
P.O. Box 1208
Butler, PA 16003
Phone: 724-284-5200
Recorder of Deeds: 724-284-5340 Fax: 724-285-9099
Office of the Prothonotary: 724-284-5214
Register of Wills: 724-284-1409 Fax: 724-284-5278
Butler County Website

Couty Clerk has birth and death records 1893-1906, marriage records from 1885, divorce records from 1805
naturalization records from 1804
Orphan Court has probate records from 1804
Prothonotary Office has court and land records from 1804[3]

Butler 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
1893 1885 1893 1804 1804 1804 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]

For animated maps illustrating Pennsylvania county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Pennsylvania County Boundary Maps" (1673-1878) may be viewed at the MapofUS.org 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:[5]

Unincorporated communities
Census-designated places

History Timeline[edit | edit source]

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 Butler 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

Census Records[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1800 3,916
1810 7,346 87.6%
1820 10,193 38.8%
1830 14,581 43.0%
1840 22,378 53.5%
1850 30,346 35.6%
1860 35,594 17.3%
1870 36,510 2.6%
1880 52,536 43.9%
1890 55,339 5.3%
1900 56,962 2.9%
1910 72,689 27.6%
1920 77,270 6.3%
1930 80,480 4.2%
1940 87,590 8.8%
1950 97,320 11.1%
1960 114,639 17.8%
1970 127,941 11.6%
1980 147,912 15.6%
1990 152,013 2.8%
2000 174,083 14.5%
2010 183,862 5.6%
Source: "Wikipedia.org".

Federal Census

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.

Butler county pennsylvania churches.png

County-wide Database - Multi-denominational

Contains church records of:
  • Butler: Covenant United Presbyterian Church; First United Methodist Church; Grace Lutheran Church; St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church; St. Mark's Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • Cranberry: Dutilh United Methodist Church
  • Evans: Evans City Methodist Church
  • Harmony: Grace Reformed Church
  • Harrisville: Harmony United Presbyterian Church
  • Portersville: First Presbyterian Church
  • Slippery Rock: Center United Presbyterian Church; Highland United Presbyterian Church
  • Summit: Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • The Butler County Historical Society has various church records available for use in their research library. Some records include: Fisk Chapel, Knox Chapel, Emory Chapel, Covenant United Presbyterian, Calvary United Presbyterian, Middlesex Presbyterian, and others! Call ahead to be sure the genealogist is available.


  • "100 years of the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese 1843–1943". Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society Quarterly, 17:1. FamilySearch Library book 974.8 B2wg. Contains chronolgy, map, county-by-county information.

Fairview Presbyterian Church

Middlesex Presbyterian 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.

Freeport Bridge, between Butler and Westmoreland counties, PA.

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.[7]

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 Butler County began in 1800. These records are filed with the Recorder of Deeds office in Butler, Pennsylvania.

Online Land Indexes and Records

  • 1800–1925 Deeds, 1804-1902; Index to Deeds, 1800-1925. FHL film 894167 (first of 112 films) - images only; click on the camera icon to view images
  • 1800–1928 Mortgages, 1804-1898; Index, 1800-1928. FHL film 859987 (first of 10 films) - Some images only; click on the camera icon to view images
  • 1973–present Butler County offers online access to land records. Check the website for current information on availability and fees.

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Allegheny CountyBeaver CountyLawrence CountyMercer CountyVenango CountyClarion CountyArmstrong CountyWestmoreland CountyPA BUTLER.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources


  • Maps of Pennsylvania (1673-1878)
  • The Butler County PAGenWeb page has linked to the complete 1858 Map of Butler County, PA from surveys by Jas. Dunlap, Hugh McKee, David Scott, E. Maurhoff, J W Kirker. The map shows the property owned by each landowner as well as waterways, major roads, towns, and villages. The map is offered online through the Library of Congress.
  • The Butler County PAGenWeb page has scanned the original township and borough maps of Butler County Pennsylvania from the 1874 Atlas of the County of Butler, and the State of Pennsylvania, by G.M. Hopkins & Co., Philadelphia. While it does not show the property boundaries it shows the location of the homes, waterways, roads, towns, and villages throughout the county.
  • The Butler County Historical Society has a large collection of old maps throughout the history of the county. Their collection includes 5 original 1858 Maps of Butler County, PA, as well as the 1874 Atlas of Butler County and various maps pertaining to railways, oil wells, waterways, and even the location of all the fire hydrants in the city of Butler in 1902!
  • Ancestor Tracks has posted the 1858 Map of Butler Co., Pennsylvania from surveys by Jas. Dunlap, Hugh McKee, David Scott, E. Maurhoff J.W. Kirker. This map shows the tracts of landowners at that time, as well as towns, villages and roads. This source is a perfect companion while consulting the 1850 and 1860 census records. While the physical maps are in the public domain, the images we have taken of the maps belong to us and are not to be used commercially. We hereby give permission to use them for personal use; please attribute to Ancestor Tracks.
  • FamilySearch Places: Map of cities and towns in this county - How to Use FS Places

Migration[edit | edit source]

Military Records[edit | edit source]

Butler County Historical Society contains original Revolutionary War Pension Files, Militia records, various Civil War records including muster rolls and company record books. All 5 volumes of Samuel Bates History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1851-1865. (see Societies below)The Society also has several dozen photographs of Civil War Soldiers and newspapers from the era.

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

Online Naturalization Indexes and Records

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 Butler County

Online Newspapers

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

Online Newspaper Abstracts

Newspaper Excerpts and Abstracts

  • News of the Day Newspaper Collection on CD available only at the Butler County Historical Society.(c2000Butler County Historical Society and Butler Public Library) FHL CD no. 913 v. 1-16

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

  • Collected by Sarah E. Milford, Carol H. Jamison and Marilyn Q. Gerhold, Obituaries from Venango and Butler Counties (S.I.:s.n., 2006?) FHL book 974.89 V4m. Available online through FamilySearch Catalog entry.
  • Compiled and written by Vickie Lynn Young, A Detailed Perspective of Butler County Cemeteries (Denmark, Wisconsin:V.L. Young, c2000) FHL book 974.891 V3y volume 1 Includes obituaries for some of the persons buried in the cemetery.

Other Records[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Probate matters in Butler 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 Butler County Historical Society is in the process of digitizing the County's Tax Records from 1803 to 1915. Contact for availability.

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 Butler 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, Butler County Courthouse.

Research Facilities[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

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

Butler Area Public Library
218 N. McKean Street
Butler, PA 16001
Phone: 724-287-1715
Fax: 724-285-5090
Email: baplgenealogy@bcfls.org

Butler County Federated Library System
218 N. McKean Street
Butler, PA 16001
Phone: 724-283-1880
Multiple locations

The Mennonite Heritage Center
565 Yoder Road
Harleysville, PA 19438-1020
Phone: 215-256-3020
Email: library@mhep.org
The Mennonite Historians of Eastern Pennsylvania support the John L. Ruth Historical Library and Museum at the Mennonite Heritage Center. Located in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania the records and resources also cover the counties of Bucks, Chester, Berks, Lehigh, Northampton, and Philadelphia. Access website for comprehensive overview of library resources, online cemetery database, manuscript collections, photo collections, archival collections, and more.

University of Pittsburgh Library System
Historic Pittsburgh
Searchable books and published works covering much of western Pennsylvania.

Museums[edit | edit source]

Depreciation Land Museum
P.O. Box 174
Allison Park, PA 15101
Phone: 412-486-0563

Harmony Museum
218 Mercer St.
P.O. Box 524
Harmony, PA 16037
Phone: 724-452-7341

Societies[edit | edit source]

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

Butler County Genealogical Society
P.O. Box 662
Butler, PA 16003-0662
Email: bcgsociety@yahoo.com

Butler County Historical Society
Research Library
123 West Diamond Street
Butler, PA 16001
Phone: 724-283-8116

Cranberry Genealogy Club
Cranberry Municipal Building
2525 Rochester Road
Cranberry Township, PA 16066

Evans City Area Historical Society
204C S. Jackson Street
Evans City, PA 16033-1138
Phone: 724-538-3629

Zelienople Historical Society
243 S. Main Street
Zelienople, PA 16063
Phone: 724-452-9457

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. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butler_County,_Pennsylvania accessed 2/1/2017
  3. The Handybook for Genealogists : United States of America, 10th ed., (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002) Butler 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. Wikipedia contributors, "Butler County, Pennsylvania," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butler_County,_Pennsylvania, accessed 15 January 2020.
  6. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/img_auth.php/2/23/Igipennsylvaniac.pdf.
  7. The Philadelphia Courts at Common Pleas accessed 10 July 2012
  8. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/img_auth.php/2/23/Igipennsylvaniac.pdf.