Erie County, Pennsylvania Genealogy

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

County Facts
County seat: Erie
Organized: March 12, 1800
Parent County(s): Allegheny[1]
Neighboring Counties
Crawford  • Ashtabula (OH)  • Warren  • Chautauqua (NY)
See County Maps
Location Map
Erie County PA Map.png
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County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The county was named for Lake Erie. The county is located in the northwest corner of the state.[2]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Erie County Courthouse
140 West 6th Street
Erie, PA 16501
Phone: 814-451-6000 or 814-451-6237
Clerk of Courts Phone: 814-451-6250 or 814-451-6237
Register of Wills and Clerk of Orphans' Court Phone: 814-451-6260
Erie County Prothonotary, 814–451-6250 or 814-451-6237 Email:
Erie County Website

Courthouse burned in 1823; all records destroyed
County Clerk has birth and death records 1893-1906, and marriage records from 1885
Prothonotary Office has divorce and court records from 1823
Register of Wills has probate records from 1823
County Recorder has land records from 1823[3]

Erie 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 1823 1823 1823 1790
*Statewide registration for births and deaths began in 1906. General compliance by 1915.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

1823 Fire burned the Courthouse on March 23, 1823. The building and all books, papers, and records were destroyed.[5]

For suggestions about research in places that suffered historic record losses, see:

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

Lake Erie
  • Formed from Allegheny County 12 March 1800.[6]
  • County seat: Erie[7]
    In 1850 a boundary line dispute between Erie and Crawford counties was settled. The line was straightened and a long, narrow strip of land was added to Erie County and some land was added to Crawford County. A number of Crawford County citizens became residents of Erie County and a less number of Erie County residents were shifted to Crawford County.[5]

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:[8]

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 Erie 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

Census Records[edit | edit source]

Federal Census

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1800 1,468
1810 3,758 156.0%
1820 8,553 127.6%
1830 17,041 99.2%
1840 31,344 83.9%
1850 38,742 23.6%
1860 49,432 27.6%
1870 65,973 33.5%
1880 74,688 13.2%
1890 86,074 15.2%
1900 98,473 14.4%
1910 115,517 17.3%
1920 153,536 32.9%
1930 175,277 14.2%
1940 180,889 3.2%
1950 219,388 21.3%
1960 250,682 14.3%
1970 263,654 5.2%
1980 279,780 6.1%
1990 275,572 −1.5%
2000 280,845 1.9%
2010 280,566 −0.1%
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.

Erie county pennsylvania churches.png

County-wide Database - Multi-denominational



The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

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.

Erie county pennsylvania townships.pngErie county pennsylvania townships.png
About this image

Land records in Erie County began in 1823. These records are filed with the Recorder of Deeds office in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Online Land Indexes and Records

  • 1815-1919 Mortgages, 1815-1836; Mortgage Index, 1823-1919. FHL films 870450–870461 - images only; click on the camera icon to view images; Earlier records are for what would later become Erie County that fell within the boundaries of the parent counties.
  • 1823-1946 Deed Books, 1823-1886; Deed Index, 1823-1946. FHL film 863933 (first of 76 films) - images only; click on the camera icon to view images
  • 1976–present Erie County offers online access to records. Fees apply.

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

  • History of Erie County 1843 from GenealogyTrails.
  • Internet Archive Erie County, from An Illustrated History of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 1876.
  • Nelson's Biographical Dictionary & Historical Reference Book of Erie County, 1896. Internet Archive
  • Popular History of Erie County, Pennsylvania by D. P. Robbins. Internet Archive
  • Images of America: Erie County, PA by Erie Yesterday. Limited preview at GoogleBooks
  • Souvenir of Erie, Penna. 1888, Illustrated. Also called: The City of Erie, PA, 1888.
  • Lost Erie: The Vanished Heritage of City and County, 1991, by John R. Claridge
  • Historic Erie County: An Illustrated History, 2004, by Edward T. Wellejus
  • Erie: a Guide to the City and County, 1938. Internet Archive

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Crawford CountyWarren CountyChautauqua CountyAshtabula CountyPA ERIE.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources


Ancestor Tracks has posted downloadable images from the Map of Erie County, Pennsylvania from Actual Surveys by under Supervision of J. Chace Jr. (Troy, NY: McLeran & Morris Publishers, 1855). This wall map located in the Library of Congress shows major landowners and geographic sites at the date of publishing. 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 strictly for personal use; please attribute to Ancestor Tracks.

Migration[edit | edit source]

Catskill Turnpike

Migration routes for early European settlers to and from Erie County included:[10]

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 Erie County

Newspapers Available on Microfilm

  • Several different newspapers are available on microfilm in the Heritage Room at the Blasco Memorial Library in Erie, PA. Some of the titles include the Erie Gazette, the Erie Observer, the Erie Dispatch, Erie Dispatch-Herald, the Erie Daily Times, the Erie Morning News and the Erie Times-News. Some of the Erie County newspapers that are available on microfilm include the Cosmopolite (Girard, PA), the Corry Evening Journal and the Edinboro Independent. The library also has one German language newspaper on microfilm.

Online Newspapers

Newspaper Indexes and 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 Index and Extracts

  • The Erie County Library has compiled and maintains an paper and online obituary index for Erie County from 1822 to the present. The index comes from Erie newspapers and covers 1822 to the present. Microfilmed copies of the newspapers are located in the Heritage Room of the Blasco Memorial Library. The Information Services staff of the Library will do limited genealogical research or requests for obituaries by mail. There is a fee for this service.
  • PA-Roots Obituaries for Erie County.
  • USGenWeb Erie County Newspaper and Obituary Index
  • Smith, Gary V. and Corry Weekly Herald (Corry, Pennsylvania) 3000 Death Notices Covering Northwestern Pennsylvania and Southwestern New York Extracted from the Corry Weekly Herald (Corry, Pennsylvania) (Montgomery, Alabama:G.V. Smith, c1992) FHL film 1697903 items 1-2; book 974.899/C1 V4s

Other Records[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Probate matters in Erie 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]

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 records for Erie County began in 1893. The Erie County Clerk of Records maintains birth records through 1905. Erie County marriages are maintained by the Clerk of Records. Erie County began recording marriages in 1885.

Death records for the city of Erie exist beginning July 5, 1875. Erie County began recording deaths in 1893. Records from 1893-1905 are available at the Clerk of Records office in Erie City. You may request a death record from the Clerk of Records.

Death certificates become public records after 50 years. Records less than 50 years old are kept by the Division of Vital Records and are not public certificates. Only certain people can request a non-public death certificate. To order a non-public representative you must be:

  • Legal representative of decedent's estate
  • Immediate family member
  • Extended family member who indicates a direct relationship to the decedent
  • Power of Attorney (Please note that a Power of Attorney document is no longer valid upon the death of the individual)

See the Pennsylvania Department of Health website to obtain a copy of a non-public death certificate.

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 Erie 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 Erie 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 Erie County. For state-wide library facilities, see Pennsylvania Archives and Libraries.

The Erie County Public Library System
The Erie County Public Library system is made up of five library locations and a Bookmobile. The Erie County Public Library maintains a large collection of genealogical materials. The majority of this collection is housed in the Heritage Room on the second floor of the Blasco Memorial Library. The focus of this collection is Northwestern Pennsylvania and the tri-state area. An important part of their holdings are the obituary indexes that cover 1822 to the present. The Heritage Room has microfilm copies of the Erie newspapers, going back to 1820. They also have microfilm copies of the 1800 to 1930 censuses for Erie County and selected censuses for other Pennsylvania counties. Additionally the library has city directories for Erie beginning in 1853 and suburban directories beginning in 1957. The library subscribes to Library Edition and to HeritageQuest Online.

Museums[edit | edit source]

Erie Maritime Museum
150 East Front Street
Erie, PA 16507
Phone: 814-452-2744
Museum of Erie County History
419 State St.
Erie, PA 16501
Phone: 814-454-1813
The museum explores the history of Erie County from pre-settlement to today. The museum is housed in the Erie County History Center.

Societies[edit | edit source]

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

Erie Society for Genealogical Research
P.O. Box 1403
Erie, PA 16512-1403

Erie County Historical Society
419 State St.
Erie, PA 16501
Phone: 814-454-1813 Ext. 0

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 2/2/2017
  3. The Handybook for Genealogists : United States of America, 10th ed., (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002) Erie County, Pennsylvania, p.590
  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. 5.0 5.1 History of Erie County, Pennsylvania, (Chicago: Warner, Beers and Co., 1884, [FHL book 974.899 H2h]
  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. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Pennsylvania.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  8. Wikipedia contributors, "Erie County, Pennsylvania," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 21 January 2020.
  9. The Philadelphia Courts at Common Pleas accessed 10 July 2012
  10. Handybook, 847-61.
  11. List of turnpikes in New York in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia (accessed 6 November 2014).
  12. Turnpike in Routes in the Northeastern United States: Historic Trails, Roads and Migration Routes (accessed 6 November 2014). The Ancram Turnpike went from Springield, MA to Catskill, NY; and was called the Catskill Road.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Almira E Morgan, The Catskill Turnpike: A Wilderness Path (Ithaca, N.Y.: DeWitt Historical Society of Thompkins County, 1971), 5. Online digital copy.
  14. Catskill Turnpike in Routes in the Northeastern United States: Historic Trails, Roads and Migration Routes (accessed 6 November 2014). The Catskill Turnpike went west from Catskill, NY to Bath, NY; the east part was called the Susquehanna Turnpike.
  15. Huntting, 97-99.
  16. List of turnpikes in New York in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia (accessed 1 November 2014).
  17. Anastassia Zinke, The Susquehanna Turnpike and America's Frontier History in Catskill Mountain Foundation (accessed 1 November 2014).
  18. Joan Odess, The Susquehanna Turnpike (pdf accessed 1 November 2014).
  19. 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.
  20. Handybook, 850.
  21. Handybook, 850-51.
  22. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at