Potter County, Pennsylvania Genealogy

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

County Facts
County seat: Coudersport
Organized: March 26, 1804
Parent County(s): Lycoming[1]
Neighboring Counties
Allegany (NY)  • Clinton  • Steuben (NY)  • Cameron  • Lycoming  • McKean  • Tioga
See County Maps
Potter County, Pennsylvania Courthouse.jpg
Location Map
Potter County PA Map.png
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County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The county was named for General James Potter, from Pennsylvania in the Continental Army during the American Revolution. It is located in the north-central area of the state.[2]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Potter County Courthouse
1 East 2nd St.
Coudersport, PA 16915
Phone: 814-274-9740
Fax: 814-274-3361
Register of Wills/Recorder of Deeds Phone: 814-274-8370
Potter County Website

Prothonotary has birth, death and burial records 1893-1905, marriage and divorce records from 1885
Register of Wills has probate records
Recorder of Deeds has land records[3]

Copies of documents including birth, marriages, deaths, divorces, land, and probate records can be obtained by using: Pennsylvania Public Record.

Potter 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 1836 1806 1836 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: Coudersport[6]

29 March 1860: Cameron County set off. [7]

For animated maps illustrating Pennsylvania county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Pennsylvania County Boundary Maps" (1673-1878) may be viewed for free 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:[8]

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 Potter 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


  • Cemetery records often reveal birth, marriage, death, relationship, military, and religious information.

Additional Cemetery Resources

Census Records[edit | edit source]

Federal Census

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1810 29
1820 186 541.4%
1830 1,265 580.1%
1840 3,371 166.5%
1850 6,048 79.4%
1860 11,470 89.6%
1870 11,265 −1.8%
1880 13,797 22.5%
1890 22,778 65.1%
1900 30,621 34.4%
1910 29,729 −2.9%
1920 21,089 −29.1%
1930 17,489 −17.1%
1940 18,201 4.1%
1950 16,810 −7.6%
1960 16,483 −1.9%
1970 16,395 −0.5%
1980 17,726 8.1%
1990 16,717 −5.7%
2000 18,080 8.2%
2010 17,457 −3.4%
Source: "Wikipedia.org".

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.

Potter County Pennsylvania Churches

1708-1985 Pennsylvania, Church and Town Records, 1708-1985 at Historical Society of Pennsylvania – $, free to members of the society; Also available at Ancestry.com$

In 1850, the Baptist Church was built.[9]

In 1886, St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church was organized with 71 members.[9]

The Presbyterian society was said to have built the first church building in the county in 1850.[9]

Protestant Episcopal
Christ Church, English Protestant Episcopal was reorganized in 1881 and their church was built in 1884.[9]

Roman Catholic
The Roman Catholic Church in this county was organized in about 1840.[9]

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 Potter County began in 1804. These records are filed with the Register of Wills/Recorder of Deeds office in Coudersport, Pennsylvania.

Online Land Indexes and Records

  • 1806-1973 Deeds, 1806-1866; Indexes to Deeds, 1806-1972 FHL film 901109 (first of 38 films) - images only; click on the camera icon to view images
  • 1796 -1931 General Index to Mortgages. FHL films 903536–903538 - images only; click on the camera icon to view images
  • 2003–present Images are available online using the Landex system.$
https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/images/e/e7/Potter_county_pennsylvania_townships.pngPotter county pennsylvania townships.png
About this image

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

McKean CountyCameron CountyClinton CountyLycoming CountyTioga CountySteuben CountyAllegany CountyPA POTTER.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources



Migration[edit | edit source]

Early migration routes for European settlers to and from Potter County 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

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 Potter 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

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

Other Records[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Probate matters in Potter 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.

Marriage[edit | edit source]

Pennsylvania marriages were created by county officials. Contact Potter 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 Potter 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 Potter County. For state-wide library facilities, see Pennsylvania Archives and Libraries.

Potter-Tioga Library System
106 E Main Street
Knoxville, PA 16928
Phone: 814-274-7422
Two member libraries having some genealogical records:

Ulysses Public Library
Willis I. Lewis Memorial Library
P.O. Box 316
401 N. Main Street
Ulysses, PA 16948
Phone: 814-848-7226
Collection includes: histories, some census records, tri-counties genealogy, genealogy books and other media

Coudersport Public Library
502 Park Avenue
Coudersport, PA 16915
Phone: 814-274-9382
Email: coudy502@hotmail.com
Collection includes: census records on microfilm, Potter Enterprise newspaper from 1880-2008

Museums[edit | edit source]

Societies[edit | edit source]

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

Painted Hills Genealogy Society
Email: paint@paintedhills.org

Potter County Historical Society
P.O. Box 605
308 N. Main St
Coudersport, PA 16915
Phone: 841-274-4410
Email: potercohist@zitomedia.net

Websites[edit | edit source]

Research Guides[edit | edit source]

Woodroofe's guide to Potter County "hidden sources" at The Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania is available online:

  • Woodroofe, Helen Hutchison. "A Genealogist's Guide to Pennsylvania Records," The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine, Vol. 34, No. 3 (1986):240. For online access, see WeRelate.

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 2/12/2017
  3. The Handybook for Genealogists : United States of America, 10th ed., (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002) Potter County, Pennsylvania, p.592
  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. 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, "Potter County, Pennsylvania," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potter_County,_Pennsylvania, accessed 31 January 2020.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 History of the Counties of McKean, Elk, Cameron and Potter, Pennsylvania (Chicago, IL: J.H. Beers and Co., 1890), 1061-1062; Digital Version at Internet Archive; FamilySearch Digital Library; At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL book 974.8 H2h.
  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.
  13. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/images/4/49/Igipennsylvaniapppppp.pdf Parish and Vital Record List.