Jefferson County, Pennsylvania Genealogy

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

County Facts
County seat: Brookville
Organized: March 26, 1804
Parent County(s): Lycoming[1]
Neighboring Counties
Elk  • Clearfield  • Clarion  • Forest  • Indiana  • Armstrong
See County Maps
Jefferson County, Pennsylvania Courthouse.jpg
Location Map
Jefferson County PA Map.png
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Thomas Jefferson

County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The county was named for President Thomas Jefferson. The county is located in the midwest-central area of the state.[2]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Jefferson County Courthouse
200 Main Street
Brookville, PA 15825
Phone: 814-849-1600
Prothonotary/Clerk of Court Phone: 814-849-1606
Register of Deeds/Register of Wills/Clerk of Orphan's Court Phone: 814-849-1610
Jefferson County Website

Clerk Orphan Court has birth and death records 1893-1906 and marriage records from 1885
Register of Wills has probate records from 1830,br> Recorder of Deeds has land records from 1828
Prothonotary and Clerk Courts has divorce and court records[3]

Jefferson 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 1832 1828 1830 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 Lycoming County 26 March 1804. [5]
  • County seat: Brookville[6]
  • 18 April 1843: Elk County was set off from Jefferson including parts from Clearfield and McKean Counties as well as the future Cameron County.
  • 11 April 1848: Set off Forest County with parts from Jefferson and Venango counties.

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:[7]

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 Jefferson 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]

Federal Census

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1810 161
1820 561 248.4%
1830 2,025 261.0%
1840 7,253 258.2%
1850 13,518 86.4%
1860 18,270 35.2%
1870 21,656 18.5%
1880 27,935 29.0%
1890 44,005 57.5%
1900 59,113 34.3%
1910 63,090 6.7%
1920 62,104 −1.6%
1930 52,114 −16.1%
1940 54,090 3.8%
1950 49,147 −9.1%
1960 46,792 −4.8%
1970 43,695 −6.6%
1980 48,303 10.5%
1990 46,083 −4.6%
2000 45,932 −0.3%
2010 45,200 −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.

County-wide Database - Multi-denominational

Jefferson county pennsylvania churches.png

The Reverend Jonathan Nichols was the first preacher in the Jefferson County area to hold the beliefs of the Baptist denomination. The first Baptist was organized in 1834 in the barn of Henry Keys. The second congregation was established in 1836 in Brookville.[8]

The Methodist church arrived several years after the Presbyterian church. However, the church records were poorly kept and many have been lost.[9]

The Methodist Episcopal Church in Jefferson County, Jefferson County Genealogy Project

Reverend Robert McGarrough was the founder of Presbyterianism in Jefferson County. By 1850 the number of Presbyterian churches in the county was nine and grew to twenty-one by 1870. Early services were held at various homes in the county and the first organized church in the county was the Bethel Church in 1824. However, it did not have a permanent building until 1842 and the name was changed to Brookville.[10]

The Second Presbyterian Church was organized in 1832 but it too did not have a permanent structure until 1841.[11]

Jefferson County Presbyterian Church, Jefferson County Genealogy Project

Jefferson United Presbyterian Church, Baxter

Roman Catholic
Catholics were in the county as early as 1832. Services were held in members homes until the church building was dedicated in 1854. St. Ann's Academy was built in 1855-1856 at Corsica. It was used as a chapel and a boarding school for young women.[13]

United Brethren
Organized by individuals from Pennsylvania and Maryland, the United Brethren were organized in 1800. The first structure in Jefferson County was erected in 1874 in Knoxdale.[14]

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.[15]

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 Jefferson County began in 1818. These records are filed with the Recorder of Deeds Office in Brookville, Pennsylvania.

Online Land Indexes and Records

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Indiana CountyArmstrong CountyClarion CountyForest CountyElk CountyClearfield CountyPA JEFFERSON.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

Online Naturalization Indexes and Records

  • 1831 -1906 Naturalization Records FHL Film 1378015 (first of 14 films) – images only; click on the camera icon to view images; declarations and petitions, indexes in volumes 1–2

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.

Newspaper Excerpts and Abstracts

Steele, Patricia M. Who, When and Where:Jefferson County, Pennsylvania (Evansville, Indiana:Whipporwill Publications, c1987) At various libraries (WorldCat; FHL book 974.862 V2s v.2 Volume 2: Newspaper items 1834-1837, 1854-1889. Newspapers of Jefferson 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

  • Baggs, Josephine Y. and Leader Vindicator (New Bethlehem, Pennsylvania), Obituaries, ca. 1988 (SLC, Utah, 1991) FHL film 1697507 item 7

Other Records[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Probate matters in Jefferson 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[edit | edit source]

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

Birth records for Jefferson County began in 1893. The Jefferson County courthouse maintains birth records up to 1906. To obtain a copy of birth record in the 1893 -1906 time period contact the Jefferson County courthouse.

Marriage[edit | edit source]

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

Jefferson County marriages are maintained at the Jefferson County courthouse. Jefferson County began recording marriages in 1885 although some registrations took place from 1852 -1855. Marriage licenses from 1885 are available at the Jefferson County courthouse in Brookville.

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.

Jefferson County began recording deaths in 1893, although some were recorded from 1853 -1854. These records are available in the Jefferson County courthouse in Brookville. You may request a death record from the Jefferson County courthouse.

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

Museums[edit | edit source]

Taylor Memorial Museum at Brockway Historical Society
765 Park Street
P.O. Box 73
Brockway, PA 15824
Phone: 814-265-8519

Societies[edit | edit source]

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

Brockway Historical Society & Taylor Memorial Museum
765 Park Street
P.O. Box 73
Brockway, PA 15824
Phone: 814-265-8519

Jefferson County Historical Society
172-176 Main Street
P.O. Box 51
Brookville, PA 15825
Phone: 814-849-0077

Websites[edit | edit source]

  • Jefferson County Genealogy Project access to Biographies, Cemetery Records, Census Records, County History and lots of other great free resources.
  • Jefferson County PA Genealogy
  • USGenWeb May have maps, name indexes, history or other information for this county. Select the state, then the county.
  • FamilySearch Catalog – The FamilySearch catalog contains descriptions and access information for all genealogical materials (including books, online materials, microfilm, microfiche, and publications) in their collection.  Use Historical Records to search for specific individuals in genealogical records.

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. Wikipedia accessed 2/12/2017
  3. The Handybook for Genealogists : United States of America, 10th ed., (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002) Jefferson 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. 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, "Jefferson County, Pennsylvania," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 23 January 2020.
  8. Kate M. Scott, "History of Jefferson County, Pennsylvania" (Syracuse, N.Y., D. Mason and Co., Publishers, 1888), 276-278. WorldCat 793031; FHL book 974.862 H2s
  9. Kate M. Scott, "History of Jefferson County, Pennsylvania" (Syracuse, N.Y., D. Mason and Co., Publishers, 1888), 260. WorldCat 793031; FHL book 974.862 H2s
  10. Kate M. Scott, "History of Jefferson County, Pennsylvania" (Syracuse, N.Y., D. Mason and Co., Publishers, 1888), 237-248. WorldCat 793031; FHL book 974.862 H2s
  11. Kate M. Scott, "History of Jefferson County, Pennsylvania" (Syracuse, N.Y., D. Mason and Co., Publishers, 1888), 237-248. WorldCat 793031; FHL book 974.862 H2s
  12. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at
  13. Kate M. Scott, "History of Jefferson County, Pennsylvania" (Syracuse, N.Y., D. Mason and Co., Publishers, 1888), 293-303. WorldCat 793031; FHL book 974.862 H2s
  14. Kate M. Scott, "History of Jefferson County, Pennsylvania" (Syracuse, N.Y., D. Mason and Co., Publishers, 1888), 291-293. WorldCat 793031; FHL book 974.862 H2s
  15. The Philadelphia Courts at Common Pleas accessed 10 July 2012