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Union County, Pennsylvania Genealogy

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Guide to Union 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.


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Union County, Pennsylvania
Map
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Union County
Location in the state of Pennsylvania
Map of the U.S. highlighting Pennsylvania
Location of Pennsylvania in the U.S.
Facts
Founded March 22, 1813
County Seat Lewisburg
Courthouse
Union County, Pennsylvania Courthouse.jpg
Address Union County Courthouse
103 South Second Street
Lewisburg, PA 17837
Union County Website
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Union County Pennsylvania Historical Facts[edit | edit source]

Known Beginning Dates for Major County Records[1]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1893 1885 1893 1813 1813 1813 1790
Statewide registration for births and deaths began in 1906. General compliance by 1915.

Parent Counties: Formed from Northumberland County 22 March 1813. [2]

County Seat: Lewisburg

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

The name is an allusion to the federal union.

Description[edit | edit source]

The county is located in the Mid-central area of the state.[4]

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

2 March 1855: Snyder County was set off. [2]

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.

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]

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

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

Additional Cemetery Resources

Census[edit | edit source]

For tips on accessing Union 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.

Union County Pennsylvania religious denominations

Finding Church Records at Other Repositories

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


County-wide Database - Multi-denominational[edit | edit source]
Contains the church records of:
  • Lewisburg: Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church; St. John's United Church of Christ; United Methodist Church
  • Mifflinburg: St. John's United Church of Christ; United Methodist Church
  • New Berlin: Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church; United Brethren in Christ
Lutheran and Reformed[edit | edit source]
  • 1772-1775, 1791-1794, 1805-1825 Dreisbachs Lutheran and Reformed Church, Buffalo Valley, Baptism Index 1772-1775, 1791-1794, 1805-1825 in International Genealogical Index at FamilySearch - free. Batch C507211.[5]
Presbyterian[edit | edit source]

Court Records[edit | edit source]

Union County, Pennsylvania Genealogy court records are housed at the Union 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. Union County shares its judicial district with Snyder County. Judges of the Common Pleas courts are elected to 10-year terms. A president judge and a court administrator serve in each judicial district.[6]

Clerk of the Courts[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.[7] For the Union 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 Union County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Prothonotary office information.


Orphan's 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.[8]

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


Finding Court Records at Other Repositories

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

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 Union County began in 1813. These records are filed with the Recorder of Deeds office in Lewisburg, 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

  • 1962 - present The Recorder of Deeds offers records since 1962 online. The index is free to view, but there is a charge to view the actual image.

Additional Resources

Note that the "Maps" section below also includes maps related to land ownership.

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 Union County Pennsylvania Land in online catalogs such as:

Maps[edit | edit source]

Union County

Migration[edit | edit source]

Military[edit | edit source]

Revolutionary War[edit | edit source]

Men from what is now Union County (then Northumberland County) served in the 1st Pennsylvania Regiment.[9]

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 available for Union 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 Union County, Pennsylvania Genealogy naturalization  in online catalogs like:


Newspapers[edit | edit source]

Union 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 Union 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

Newspaper and Obituary Excerpts and Abstracts

  • Lontz, Mary Belle, Central Pennsylvania Deaths and Marriages, 1771-1882 : Abstracts from Various Newspapers, Publications and Court Records Throughout the Area (Hollidaysburg, PA:Hoenstine Rental Library, 1987?) FHL book 974.8 V28L
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]

Indentured Servants[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Poorhouse, Almshouse[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Probate matters in Union 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

  • Fisher, Charles A. Wills and Administrations of Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. Including Wills and Administrations of Union, Mifflin and Indiana Counties. 1950. Digital version at FamilySearch Books Online - free. Abstracts and index.

Additional Probate Indexes and Abstracts

Additional probate indexes or abstracts can sometimes be found using search phrases such as Union 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]
  • Union County Courthouse
    103 South Second Street
    Lewisburg, PA 17837
    Phone: 570-524-8751 (Prothonotary and Clerk of Courts)
    Phone: 570-524-8761 (Register of Wills)
    Fax: 570-524-8628
    Hours 8:30–4:30
Prothonotary office is on the first floor. Prothonotary/Clerk of Courts Office
The Prothonotary is the Clerk for the Orphan's Court and the office archives all marriage and death certificates.
Register of Wills office has all estates from 1813 on microfilm.
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 Union County, Pennsylvania Genealogy is the Sunbury Pennsylvania Family History Center. For additional nearby Family History Centers, search online in the FHC directory.

Libraries[edit | edit source]
See website for libraries and locations in this system.
The Herr Memorial Library's Robert K. Strunk Room houses the library’s “Pennsylvania Collection", which includes material about Union County families, churches, school and histories on old family names.
Museums[edit | edit source]
Societies[edit | edit source]
  • Union County Historical Society (UCHS)
    Union County Court House
    South Second & St. Louis Streets
    Lewisburg, PA 17837
    Phone: 570-524-8666
    Fax: 570-524-8743
    Email: hstoricl@ptd.net
    Hours: Monday through Friday: 8:30 AM-12:00 PM; 1:00 PM-4:30 PM
The UCHS has a library holding a wide variety of research material including historical research items; a large collection of newspapers dating from 1834; tax, census, marriage, cemetery records. The library is also in close proximity to the courthouse records.
Services and fees

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

Indexes for Pennsylvania birth records are available through the Department of of Health for 1906 and 1907. 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


Marriage[edit | edit source]

Pennsylvania marriages are located at the county level. Contact the Union County, Pennsylvania Genealogy clerk's office for these records.

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


Union County Pennsylvania Genealogy Websites[edit | edit source]

Union County Pennsylvania Places[edit | edit source]

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

Union County Pennsylvania Genealogy References[edit | edit source]

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Union 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. 2.0 2.1 Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), [FHL book 973 D27e 2002].
  3. Wikipedia contributors, "Union County, Pennsylvania" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_County,_Pennsylvania.
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_County,_Pennsylvania 2/12/2017
  5. 5.0 5.1 Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/images/2/20/Igipennsylvaniat.pdf.
  6. The Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania http://www.pacourts.us/T/CommonPleas/ accessed 10 July 2012.
  7. Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania, Clerk of Courts in http://www.pacourts.us/T/CommonPleas/ClerksOfCourts.htm (accessed 25 Aug 2012)
  8. The Philadelphia Courts at http://www.courts.phila.gov/common-pleas/orphans/ accessed 10 July 2012
  9. John B.B. Trussell and Charles C. Dallas, The Pennsylvania Line; Regimental Organization and Operations, 1776-1783 (Harrisburg, Pa.: Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1977). Digital version at Family History Archive.