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Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania Genealogy

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Guide to Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania ancestry, family history and genealogy in courthouse sources including birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, wills, deeds and land records, Civil War records, Revolutionary War records, family histories, cemeteries, churches, tax records, newspapers, and obituaries.


Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County
Location in the state of Pennsylvania
Map of the U.S. highlighting Pennsylvania
Location of Pennsylvania in the U.S.
Founded August 21, 1878
County Seat Scranton
Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania Courthouse.jpg
Address Lackawanna County Courthouse
The Scranton Electric Building, Suite 400
507 Linden Street Ave
Scranton, PA 18503
Lackawanna County Website
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Lackawanna County Pennsylvania Historical Facts[edit | edit source]

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[1]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
bef 1906 1878 bef 1906 1878 1878 1878 1790
Statewide registration for births and deaths began in 1906. General compliance by 1915.

Parent Counties: Formed from Luzerne County 21 August 1878. [2]

County Seat: Scranton

Neighboring Counties: Lackawanna County residents may also have records in: [3]

Named for the Lackawanna River.[4]

Description[edit | edit source]

The county was named for the Lackawanna River. It is located in the Northeast corner of the state.[5]

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

For animated maps illustrating Pennsylvania county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation Pennsylvania County Boundary Maps" (1673-1878) may be viewed for free at the website.

Records Loss[edit | edit source]

There is no known history of courthouse disasters in this county.

Bible Records[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Tombstone Transcriptions Online Tombstone Transcriptions in Print List of Cemeteries in the county Family History Library
HomeTownLocator WorldCat BillionGraves
PAGenWeb Archives Linkpendium
Tombstone Photos PAGravestones
PAGenWeb Epodunk
Pennsylvania Genealogy Access Genealogy
BillionGraves (name) Interment
See Pennsylvania Cemeteries for more information.

Additional Cemetery Resources

Census[edit | edit source]

For tips on accessing Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Federal (or United States) census records online, see: Pennsylvania Census.

There are no county or state census records available for Pennsylvania. County and city tax records can be used as a substitute when census records are not available.

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Church records and the information they provide vary significantly depending on the denomination and the record keeper. They may contain information about members of the congregation, such as age, date of baptism, christening, or birth; marriage information and maiden names; and death date. In Pennsylvania, church records are often used as a substitute for birth, marriage, and death information. For general information about Pennsylvania denominations, view the Pennsylvania Church Records wiki page.

Finding Church Records at Other Repositories

Additional church records can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Church Records  in online catalogs like:

County-wide Database – Multi-denominational[edit | edit source]
Lackawanna County Pennsylvania Churches
Contains the church records of:
  • Carbondale: Clarks Green United Methodist Church; First Presbyterian Church; Peckville United Methodist Church
  • Jermyn: Trinity Church Carbondale and St. James Church; Worth Baptist Church
  • Newton: United Methodist Church
  • Scranton: Dallas United Methodist Church; Elm Park United Methodist Church; Emmanuel Lutheran Church; Hyde Park Presbyterian Church; Petersburg Presbyterian Church; Providence United Methodist Church; St. David's Episcopal Church; St. John's Lutheran Church; St. Luke's Episcopal Church; St. Mary's Greek Catholic Church; Westminster Presbyterian Church

Because Lackawanna County was not formed until 1878, many early congregations are discussed in the Luzerne County church records.

Baptist[edit | edit source]

The Baptist church was first organized in Scranton in 1859.

Catholic[edit | edit source]

An early church and cemetery was built near Roaring Brook. Later the congregation moved to Scranton in the Hyde Park area. The Cathedral was erected in 1865. The property included a convent and college. [6]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints[edit | edit source]

Ward and Branch Records of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  • Scranton
  • Scranton Dist
Episcopal[edit | edit source]

Early services were conducted by the Wilkes-Barre leaders. A congregation was organized in 1851, with service in the Methodist church. A frame church was built in Scranton in 1853 and, later a new edifice was completed in 1871. [7]

Lutheran[edit | edit source]
Methodist[edit | edit source]

Methodism was first introduced into Luzerne County in about 1787. Meetings were held in homes and shops. By 1800, monthly meetings were held in Providence. he first meetinghouse was erected in 1828 in Carbondale. Most early preaching was done by traveling circuit-riding ministers. Later congregations were found in Hanover, Newport and the Plains. [8]

In the 1840's the Methodist congregation built a church in Scranton. This building was used every other week for Methodist services and for various other congregations the other weeks. [9]

Presbyterian[edit | edit source]

Presbyterians met in Scranton in the Methodist church in the 1840's.  In 1845 they moved their meetings to the Odd Fellow's Hall. A new building was completed in 1852. [10]

Presbyterian Church, Baldmount

Court Records[edit | edit source]

Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania Genealogy court records are housed at the Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Courthouse. For many counties copies of court records may be found at the Pennsylvania State Archives and in the FamilySearch collection. Note that within these collections some films may contain the same records, but have different titles. Other titles are not duplicates. See Finding Court Records at other repositories within this section for links to the online catalogs for these two collections. Films at the Pennsylvania State Archives are not available for inter-library loan. If court records are available FamilySearch films may be available at a local Family History Center. Call ahead for availability.

Court of Common Pleas[edit | edit source]

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. Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania Genealogy 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.[12]

Clerk of the Court[edit | edit source]

The Clerk of Courts prepares and maintains the records for the Criminal Division of the Court of Common Pleas. The Clerk signs and affixes the Seal of the Courts to all writs and processes, administers oaths and affirmations, and assumes custody of the seal and records of the Courts. The Clerk certifies and distributes orders of the Court. The Clerk also certifies and prepares bills of costs for the defendants and utilizes the computerized financial management system to disburse fines, costs and restitution.[13] For the Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Clerk of Courts address see the Courthouse section on this page.

Prothonotary[edit | edit source]

The office of the Prothonotary is the custodian of all civil matters in the county. This includes naturalization, immigration, equity actions, judgements, federal and local tax liens, city liens, family court, arbitrations, license suspension appeals, appeals to higher court, commercial code filings, applications for passports and divorce proceedings. See the Courthouse section on this page for the Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Prothonotary office information.

The Prothonotories are listed under the Court of Common Pleas.

Orphans' Court[edit | edit source]

See Vital Records
The Orphans' Court is responsible for a wide range of matters. The name of the Court is derived from the more general definition of "orphan," that being a person or thing that is without protective affiliation or sponsorship. This would include those not capable of handling their own affairs, minors, incapacitated persons, decedents estates, nonprofit corporations and trusts. It is the role of the Court to ensure that the best interests of the person or entity are not compromised.

It is believed the name of this court was borrowed from the Court of Orphans of the city of London, England which had the care and guardianship of children of deceased citizens, in their minority.[14]

For Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Orphans' Court contact information see the Courthouse section on this page.

  • Orphans' Court
    The Scranton Electric Building, Suite 400
    507 Linden St
    Scranton, PA 18503
    Phone: 570-963-6702

Finding Court Records at Other Repositories

Additional court records can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Court Records in online catalogs like:

Directories[edit | edit source]

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

For information about emigration into Pennsylvania, see the Pennsylvania Emigration and Immigration page.

Ethnic Groups[edit | edit source]

Germans[edit | edit source]

Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Genealogy[edit | edit source]

History[edit | edit source]

Published Histories[edit | edit source]

Land and Property[edit | edit source]

Land records in Lackawanna County began in 1878. These records are filed with the Recorder of Deeds office in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Land and property records can place an ancestor in a particular location, provide economic information, and reveal family relationships. Land records include: deeds, abstracts, indexes, mortgages, leases, grants, sheriff sales, land patents, and maps. Property records include liens as well as livestock brands and estray records.

The following are examples of available resources:

Online Land Records

  • The Recorder of Deeds offers online access to land records. Log in is required. (IQS Lackawanna County web access technical support 800-320-2617.)
  • Merrifield, Edward. "The Territory of Scranton Immediately Prior to the Lackawanna Iron and Coal Co. Purchase." Lackawanna Institute of History and Science. Historical series, no. 4. Scranton, 1896. Digital version at Internet Archive. At various libraries (WorldCat)

Additional Resources

Media:Lackawanna county pennsylvania townships.pngLackawanna county pennsylvania townships.png
About this image
Click the image to see an enlarged version

See Pennsylvania Land and Property for more information about using land records, especially about original land warrants, surveys, and patents filed at the state land office.

Additional resources can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Lackawanna County Pennsylvania Land in online catalogs such as:

Maps[edit | edit source]

Lackawanna County

Migration[edit | edit source]

The migration routes used by early European settlers to and from Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania Genealogy included: [15]

Military[edit | edit source]

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. See Pennsylvania Naturalization for more information about the types of records and availability.

Naturalizations granted at the county level were kept by the office of the Prothonotary. Naturalizations could also be granted on the Federal Court level.

Naturalization records for Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania include the following:

Online Naturalization Indexes and Records

Finding Naturalization Indexes at Other Repositories

Additional naturalization indexes can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania Genealogy naturalization  in online catalogs like:

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania Genealogy newspapers may contain genealogical value including obituaries, births, marriages, deaths, anniversaries, family gatherings, family travel, achievements, business notices, engagement information, and probate court proceedings.

To access newspapers, contact public libraries, historical/genealogical societies, college or university libraries, or state archives in the area where the newspaper was published.

For information on state-wide newspapers see Pennsylvania Newspapers

Newspapers of Lackawanna 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. However, sometimes an obituary is found in the location from which he or she originated. To find an obituary, see the information under the Newspaper heading

Online Obituary Abstracts

Occupations[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Poorhouse, Almshouse[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Probate matters in Lackawanna 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 Records

Original probate records for some Pennsylvania counties are available free online as digital images at The dates vary significantly for each county and not all counties are listed. Some counties may only have probate indexes. This Pennsylvania collection of images may be browsed through the links listed below:

Complete Collection:

Lackawanna County Only:

Original Probate Records on Microfilm

Additional Probate Indexes and Abstracts

Additional probate indexes or abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania Genealogy probate wills in online catalogs like:

Repositories[edit | edit source]

Archives[edit | edit source]

The Pennsylvania Archives collection contains county archive records that can be searched onsite. Currently the Archives' staff cannot provide research or make copies of these records. Their collections include Almshouse Registers; Tax records; Birth, Death and Marriage Indexes and Records; Midwife records; African American records; Wills; Deeds; Naturalizations; Coroner's inquests; and Orphan's Court dockets. A list of the Archive's county holdings are on Microfilm or Manuscript form.

Courthouse[edit | edit source]
  • Clerk of Courts
    Brooks Building
    436 Spruce Street
    Scranton, PA 18503
    Phone: 570-963-6723

Prothonotaries are listed under the Court of Common Pleas, as are the Register of Wills, the Orphan's Court Clerk, and the Clerk of Courts.The Prothonotary and the Clerk of Courts is the same person.

Family History Centers[edit | edit source]

Family history centers provide one-on-one assistance and free access to premium genealogical websites. In addition, many centers have free how-to genealogy classes. See family history center for more information. Search the online FHC directory for a nearby family history center.Family History Centers (FHCs) are branches of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, and are located all over the world. Their goal is to provide resources for family history research.

The main FHC for Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania Genealogy is the Scranton Pennsylvania Family History Center. For additional nearby Family History Centers, search online in the FHC directory.(Clarks Summit)

Libraries[edit | edit source]
  • Albright Memorial Library
    Albright Memorial Library

    500 Vine Street
    Scranton, PA 18509
    Phone: 570-348-3000
    The Albright Library has a genealogy research room. Their collection includes census records, vital records, newspapers, family surname files, a biographical index to their local history collection, some church records. and Scranton city directories. The library will do research for a fee. The library is housed in its original building built in 1893.
Museums[edit | edit source]
  • PA Anthracite Heritage Museum
    PO Box 20185 Steamtown Station
    Scranton, PA 18502
    Phone: 570-963-4845
  • Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum
    R.R. #1, Bald Mountain Rd.
    Scranton, PA 18504
    Phone: 570-963-4845
Societies[edit | edit source]
  • Lackawanna Historical Society
    The Catlin House
    232 Monroe Ave.
    Scranton, PA 18510
    Phone: 570–344–3841
    Library with newspapers, genealogy family files, manuscripts, maps.
The NEPGS is the archive of Teresa M. McAndrew Catholic Church Records Collection. NEPGS has digitized the Sacramental Records of every chapel, church, mission, and parish within the Diocese of Scranton, now open and closed. This includes over three hundred churches encompassing eleven counties in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Taxation[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. While the records for that time period are available, there were few events recorded. County marriage records were kept in earnest in 1885. Births and deaths, at the county level, were begun in 1893 and kept through 1905. Abstracts and copies of vital records are available for some counties, but most are incomplete. For the most complete set of records, always contact the County Orphans' Court.

See also How to order Pennsylvania Vital Records

Birth[edit | edit source]

Early birth records for Scranton are located at the Scranton Public Library. Other county births (excluding Scranton) are found at the Register of Wills(or Orphans' Court).

Indexes for Pennsylvania birth records are available through the Department of of Health for 1906 only. Once an individual is located in the index a non certified Birth certificate can be obtained by writing and sending $3.00 to:

Division of Vital Records
ATTN: Public Records
P.O. Box 1528
New Castle, PA 16103

  • 1726-1930 Pennsylvania, Births and Christenings, 1709-1950 - free index. Not complete for all years. This index is an electronic index for the years 1726 to 1930. It is not necessarily intended to index any specific set of records. This index is not complete for any particular place or region. This collection may include information previously published in the International Genealogical Index or Vital Records Index collections.
  • 1852-1854 Pennsylvania Births – ($) Index with images.
  • 1893-1905 Births (excluding city of Scranton) prior to 1906 at county government website - free.
Marriage[edit | edit source]

Pennsylvania marriages are located at the county level. Contact the Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania Genealogy clerk's office for these records. The clerk's office has marriage records October 1885 to present.

Divorce[edit | edit source]

Divorce records are available through the office of the Prothonotary. The office of the Prothonotary is located in the courthouse building.

Death[edit | edit source]

Early deaths 1893–1905 are located at the County Orphans' Court. See the heading Court Records on this page for contact information.

Indexes for Pennsylvania death records are available through the Department of Health for 1906 through 1962. Once an individual is located in the index a non certified death certificate can be obtained obtained by writing and sending $3.00 to:

Division of Vital Records
ATTN: Public Records
P.O. Box 1528
New Castle, PA 16103

Finding Vital Records at Other Repositories

Additional vital records can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Vital Records in online catalogs like:

Lackawanna County Pennsylvania Genealogy Websites[edit | edit source]

Lackawanna County Pennsylvania Places[edit | edit source]

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

Lackawanna County Pennsylvania Genealogy References[edit | edit source]

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania. Page 588-593 At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002; Alice Eichholz, ed. Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources, Third ed. (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2004), 579-581.
  2. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), [FHL book 973 D27e 2002].
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at,_Pennsylvania.
  4. Wikipedia
  5.,_Pennsylvania accessed 2/12/2017
  6. Benjamin H. Throop, A Half Century in Scranton (Scranton, Pennsylvania : [Scranton Republican], 1895, 282-282 FamilySearch Books Online Free online digital copy.
  7. Benjamin H. Throop, A Half Century in Scranton. (Scranton, Pennsylvania : [Scranton Republican], 1895), 283-284. FamilySearch Books Online Free online digital copy.
  8. Horace Hollister,History of the Lackawanna Valley. (New York: C. A. Alvord, 1869), 322-326. FamilySearch Books Online Free online digital copy}}
  9. Benjamin H. Throop, A Half Century in Scranton. (Scranton, Pennsylvania : [Scranton Republican], 1895), 282-282. FamilySearch Books Online Free online digital copy.
  10. Benjamin H. Throop, A Half Century in Scranton. (Scranton, Pennsylvania : [Scranton Republican], 1895), 280-281 FamilySearch Books Online Free online digital copy.
  11. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at
  12. The Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania accessed 10 July 2012.
  13. Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania, Clerk of Courts in (accessed 25 Aug 2012)
  14. The Philadelphia Courts at accessed 10 July 2012
  15. Handybook, 850-51.