Somerset County, Pennsylvania Genealogy

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

County Facts
County seat: Somerset
Organized: April 17, 1795
Parent County(s): Bedford[1]
Neighboring Counties
Cambria  • Garrett (MD)  • Allegany (MD)  • Westmoreland  • Fayette  • Bedford
See County Maps
Somerset County, Pennsylvania Courthouse.jpg
Location Map
Somerset County PA Map.png
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County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The county was named after Somerset, United Kingdom. It is located in the south-central area of the state.[2]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Somerset County Courthouse
111 East Union Street
Somerset, PA 15501
Phone: 814-445-1473
Phone: 814-445-1435
Clerk of Courts Phone: (814) 445-1435
Register of Wills/Clerk of Orphans Court Phone: 814-445-1548
Prothonotary, Ste 165 Phone: 814-445-1428
Somerset County Website

Register of Wills has birth and death records from 1885 and probate records from 1795
Recorder of Deeds has land records from 1795 and military discharge from 1865
Prothnotary Office has divorce and court records from 1795 and naturalization records 1795-1955[3]

Copies of documents including birth, marriages, deaths, divorces, land, and probate records can be obtained by using: Pennsylvania Public Record. Click on the link for the record you wish to request.
The Office of Prothonotary is responsible for the recording and filing of legal papers of a widely diversified character such as: civil suits, personal injury, medical malpractice, divorce, custody, protection from abuse, judgments, change of name, school audits, driver’s license suspension appeals, District Justice appeals, mechanics liens, Federal income tax leins, and administers oaths and affirmations. Prothonotary Website.

Somerset 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 1795 1795 1795 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 Bedford County 17 April 1795. [5]
  • County seat: Somerset[6]

26 March 1804: Cambria County was 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 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 Somerset 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.
1800 10,188
1810 11,284 10.8%
1820 13,974 23.8%
1830 17,762 27.1%
1840 19,650 10.6%
1850 24,416 24.3%
1860 26,778 9.7%
1870 28,226 5.4%
1880 33,110 17.3%
1890 37,317 12.7%
1900 49,461 32.5%
1910 67,717 36.9%
1920 82,112 21.3%
1930 80,764 −1.6%
1940 84,957 5.2%
1950 81,813 −3.7%
1960 77,450 −5.3%
1970 76,037 −1.8%
1980 81,243 6.8%
1990 78,218 −3.7%
2000 80,023 2.3%
2010 77,742 −2.9%
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.

Somerset County Pennsylvania Churches

The Somerset County Historical Center has various records for churches throughout the Somerset County area. However, the society has not put the records on-line and to view the records one must go to the society. The society will do research for a fee. For more details see their website.

County-wide Database - Multi-denominational


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

Services for the St. James Episcopal Church in Bedford began as early as 1755 but was not an organized parish until 1861.[9]

Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church was organized by 1785 although the exact date is unknown. The Lutheran and German Reformed congregations met at the same Union Church until 1848.

Evangelical Lutheran Church, Stoyestown

Glade Reformed and Lutheran Congregation, Stony Creek Township

Grace White Oak Lutheran and Reformed Church, Formerly Reichards

In 1809, the Methodist Episcopal church was formed.

The Presbyterians were in the county early although no exact date is known, although, the first known pastor came in 1786. The First Presbyterian Church building in the county was erected in Bedford in 1800.

The Reformed Church of Bedford was in the county early although no known date is known although it is believed it was before 1769. They met in a union church with the Lutherans until they separated in 1848.

German Reformed Church, Centreville

German Reformed Church, New Centerville

German Reformed Church, Stoyestown

Glade Reformed and Lutheran Congregation, Stony Creek Township

Grace White Oak Lutheran and Reformed Church, Formerly Reichards

Mt. Tabor Reformed Church formerly Union Church or Zimmermans, Quemahoning Township

Reformed Church, Friedens

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.

Court of Common Pleas
The Courts of Common Pleas are the trial courts of Pennsylvania. Major civil and criminal cases are heard in these courts. Judges also decide cases involving adoption, divorce, child custody, abuse, juvenile delinquency, estates, guardianships, charitable organizations and many other matters. The Common Pleas courts are organized into 60 judicial districts. Somerset County has its own judicial district. Judges of the Common Pleas courts are elected to 10-year terms. A president judge and a court administrator serve in each judicial district.[11]

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.[12]


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 Somerset County began in 1795. These records are filed with the Recorder of Deeds office in Somerset, Pennsylvania.

Online Land Indexes and Records

  • 1795-1949 Record of Deeds, 1795-1902; Index to Deeds, 1795-1949. FHL film 558300 (first of 79 films) - images only; click on the camera icon to view images
  • 1795-1964 Index to Mortgagor and Mortgagee, 1795-1964; Mortgage Records, v. 1-2 1846-1871. FHL film 559207 (first of 10 films) - images only; click on the camera icon to view images
  • 1803-1922 Sheriff's Deeds. Fhl films 559649-50 - images only; click on the camera icon to view images
  • 1985-present Images are available online using the Landex system. There is a fee to view the images.
Media:Somerset county pennsylvania townships.pngSomerset county pennsylvania townships.png
About this image

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Fayette CountyWestmoreland CountyCambria CountyBedford CountyGarrett CountyAllegany CountyPA SOMERSET.PNG
Click a neighboring county
for more resources


Migration[edit | edit source]

Military Records[edit | edit source]

Revolutionary War
Men living in what is now Somerset County (then Bedford County) served in the 8th Pennsylvania Regiment.[13]

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 Somerset County

Newspaper Extracts and Abstracts

  • Somerset Whip (Somerset County, Pennsylvania) and Somerset Democrat (Somerset County, Pennsylvania), Newspapers, The Somerset Whig, 1818,1819; The Somerset Democrat, 1864 (SLC, Utah, 1968) FHL film 560193 item 8

Online Newspapers

To learn if there are newspapers online for a specific town or city in Pennsylvania, see 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.

Obituaries are generally found in local newspapers where the person died. However, sometimes an obituary is found in the location from which he or she originated. To find an obituary, see the information under the Somerset

Online Obituary Abstracts

Other Records[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Probate matters in Somerset 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]

  • 1798 Pennsylvania, U.S. Direct Tax Lists, 1798 at Ancestry ($).

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 Somerset 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 which is located in the Somerset County Courthouse.

Research Facilities[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

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

Meyersdale Public Library
210 Center St
P.O. Box 98
Meyersdale, PA 15552
Phone: 814-634-0512

Roller-Hojeth Memorial Library
431 Scotch Valley Rd.
Hollidaysburg, PA 16648
Phone: 814-696-3492
Collection covers Blair and surrounding counties, particularly Huntingdon, Cambria, and Bedford Counties, with some Somerset County materials.

Museums[edit | edit source]

Societies[edit | edit source]

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

Chestnut Ridge Historical Society
1698 State Route 711
P.O. Box 242
Stahlstown, PA 15687
Phone: 724-593-3102

Somerset Historical Center
Western Pennsylvania's Rural Heritage Museum
10649 Somerset Pike
Somerset, PA 15501
Phone: 814-445-6077

Websites[edit | edit source]

  • USGenWeb project. May have maps, name indexes, history or other information for this county. Select the state, then the county.
  • Somerset County PA Genealogy
  • 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]

Woodroofe's guide to Somerset 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):252-263. For free 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.,_Pennsylvania 2/12/2017
  3. The Handybook for Genealogists : United States of America, 10th ed., (Draper, UT: Everton Publishers, 2002) Somerset 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, "Somerset County, Pennsylvania," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,,_Pennsylvania, accessed 2 February 2020.
  9. History of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties, Pennsylvania (Chicago, IL: Waterman, Watkins, 1884), 258-262; Online at: FamilySearch Digital Library; FHL book 974.87 H2w.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at
  11. The Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania accessed 10 July 2012.
  12. The Philadelphia Courts at Common Pleas accessed 10 July 2012
  13. Harold Frederic, William C. Frederick III with William J. McMaster Sr., Path of Blood: The Untold Story of the Kittanning PA. Regiment in the American Revolution (Kittanning, Pa.: W.C. Frederick, 1998). FHL Book 974.8 M2ff