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

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County Facts
County seat: Erie
Organized: March 12, 1800
Parent County(s): Allegheny[1]
Neighboring Counties
Crawford  • Ashtabula (OH)  • Warren  • Chautauqua (NY)
See County Maps
Courthouse
Erie+County+Courthouse.jpg
Location Map
Erie County PA Map.png
Adoption
Pa-rootsbuttonwiki.gif This user is a member of PA Roots and its members, an organization that has adopted some pages in the wiki.

County Information[edit | edit source]

Description[edit | edit source]

The county was named for Lake Erie. The county is located in the Northwest corner of the state.[2]

County Courthouse[edit | edit source]

Erie County Courthouse
140 West 6th Street
Room 122
Erie, PA 16501
814-451-6260
Clerk of Courts (criminal records), 814-451-6221
Register of Wills and Clerk of Orphans' Court, 814-451-6260, Fax: 814-451-7010
Erie County Prothonotary, 814–451-6250
Erie County Website

Erie 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[3]
Birth* Marriage Death* Court Land Probate Census
1893 1885 1893 1823 1823 1823 1790
Statewide registration for births and deaths began in 1906. General compliance by 1915.

Record Loss[edit | edit source]

1823 Fire burned the Courthouse on March 23, 1823. The building and all books, papers, and records were destroyed.[4]

For suggestions about research in places that suffered historic record losses, see:

Boundary Changes[edit | edit source]

Lake Erie
  • Formed from Allegheny County 12 March 1800.[5]
  • County seat: Erie[6]
    In 1850 a boundary line dispute between Erie and Crawford counties was settled. The line was straightened and a long, narrow strip of land was added to Erie County and some land was added to Crawford County. A number of Crawford County citizens became residents of Erie County and a less number of Erie County residents were shifted to Crawford County.[4]


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

Populated Places[edit | edit source]

The following are locations in Erie County, Pennsylvania:

Map of Erie County Pennsylvania With Municipal and Township Labels
Corry 1866 Separated from Wayne Twp. and became borough in 1863.
Erie 1851 Laid out in 1795. Became borough in 1805.

 

Albion 1861 Laid out in 1797. Created from Conneaut Twp.
Cranesville 1912 Settled in 1800. Formed from Elk Creek Twp.
East Springfield 1887 Formed from Springfield Twp. Merged back with Springfield Twp. in 1978.
Edinboro 1840 Settled in 1801. Created from Washington Twp.
Elgin 1876 Settled in 1800. Formed from Concord Twp.
Fariview 1868 Settled in 1797.Organized from Fairview Twp. Remerged with Fairview Twp. in 1998.
Girard 1846 Formed from Girard Twp.
Lake City 1926 Settled in 1863. Originally North Girard Borough. Name changed in 1954.
McKean 1861 Settled in 1810. Organized from McKean Twp. Name changed from Middleboro to McKean in 1970.
Mill Village 1870 Formed from LeBoeuf Twp.
North East 1834 Settled in 1800. Created from North East Twp.
Platea 1870 Organized from Girard Twp. Named changed to Platea in 1902. Originally known as Lockport.
Union City 1865 Settled in 1856. Formed from Union Twp as Union Mills. Named changed in 1871.
Waterford 1833 Settled in 1795. Created from Waterford Twp.
Wattsburg 1833 Settled in 1828. Organized from Venango Twp.
Wesleyville 1912 Settled in 1828. Formed from Harbor Creek Twp and Millcreek Twp..

 

Amity 1825 Settled in 1796. Created from Union Twp.
Concord March 12, 1800 Originally known as Brokenstraw Twp. Name changed in 1821.
Conneaut March 12, 1800 Settled in 1797.
Elk Creek March 12, 1800 Settled in 1797.
Fairview March 12, 1800 Settled in 1797.
Franklin 1844 Settled in 1802. Organized from McKean, Washington and Elk Creek Townships.
Girard 1832 Settled in 1798. Created from Fairview, Springfield, and Elk Creek Townships.
Greene March 12, 1800 Settled in 1800. Known as Beaver Dam until 1840. Portion given to McKean Twp.
Greenfield March 12, 1800 Settled in 1797. Portion given to  North East Twp. in 1841.
Harbor Creek March 12, 1800 Settled in 1796.
Lawrence Park 1926 Organized from Millcreek Twp. Designed by General Electric Co. in 1910 as a company town. Envisioned as a "garden city."[7]
LeBoeuf March 12, 1800 Settled in 1795.
McKean March 12, 1800 Settled in 1795. Portion given to Waterford in 1820 and to Franklin in 1844.
Millcreek March 12, 1800 Settled in 1795. Portions lost to City of Erie over time.
North East March 12, 1800 Settled in 1795. Gained a strip from Greenfield in 1841.
Springfield March 12, 1800 Settled in 1796.
Summit 1854 Formed from part of Greene, McKean and Waterford Townships.
Venango March 12, 1800 Surveyed in 1785. Settled in 1795.
Washington March 12, 1800 Settled in 1796. First called Conneauttee Twp. Named changed in 1834.
Waterford March 12, 1800 Settled in 1795.
Wayne 1826 Formed from Concord Twp. Portion given to form Corry Borough in 1863 and another portion in 1866 when Corry city incorporated.

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 Erie 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

 

Census Records[edit | edit source]

For links and tips on using Federal (or United States) census records online for Erie County, 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. 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.

Erie county pennsylvania churches.png

County-wide Database - Multi-denominational

Catholic

Methodist

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

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.[8]

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 Erie County began in 1823. These records are filed with the Recorder of Deeds office in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Online Land Records

  • 1976–present Erie County offers online access to records. Fees apply.

Land Records on Microfilm

Erie county pennsylvania townships.pngErie county pennsylvania townships.png
About this image
Click the image to view an enlarged version

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

Local Histories[edit | edit source]

  • History of Erie County 1843 from GenealogyTrails.
  • Erie County from An Illustrated History of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 1876, from archive.org.
  • History of Erie County, Pennsylvania, 1884, by Samuel P. Bates. Digitized book on line at archive.org.
  • History of Erie Co from its First Settlement, 1894, by Laura G. Sanford. Digitized book on line at archive.org.
  • Nelson's Biographical Dictionary & Historical Reference Book of Erie County, 1896. Digitized book online at archive.org.
  • A Twentieth Century History of Erie County, Pennsylvania: A Narrative Account of Its Historic Progress, Its People, and Its Principal Interests, 1909 by John Miller, two volumes. Digitized book online at archive.org, Volume 1 Volume 2
  • Popular History of Erie County, Pennsylvania by D. P. Robbins. Digitized book on line at archive.org.
  • History of Erie County Pennsylvania, 1925 by John Elmer Reed. Digitized book on line at archive.org.
  • Images of America: Erie County, PA by Erie Yesterday. Limited preview at GoogleBooks
  • Souvenir of Erie, Penna. 1888, Illustrated. Also called: The City of Erie, PA, 1888.
  • Lost Erie: The Vanished Heritage of City and County, 1991, by John R. Claridge
  • Historic Erie County: An Illustrated History, 2004, by Edward T. Wellejus
  • Erie: a Guide to the City and County, 1938. Digitized book on line at archive.org.
  • Erie County, PA Tornadoes, Blizzards, Floods and Other Events
  • Greetings from Wesleyville by Debbi Lyon. Debbi Lyon
  • Greetings from Wesleyville Vol. 2 by Debbi Lyon.

Maps and Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Erie County

Maps

Ancestor Tracks has posted downloadable images from the Map of Erie County, Pennsylvania from Actual Surveys by under Supervision of J. Chace Jr. (Troy, NY: McLeran & Morris Publishers, 1855). This wall map located in the Library of Congress shows major landowners and geographic sites at the date of publishing. While the physical maps are in the public domain, the images we have taken of the maps belong to us and are not to be used commercially. We hereby give permission to use them strictly for personal use; please attribute to Ancestor Tracks.

Migration[edit | edit source]

Catskill Turnpike

Migration routes for early European settlers to and from Erie County included:[9]

Military Records[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. For more information, see Pennsylvania Naturalization

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 Erie County

Newspapers Available on Microfilm

  • Several different newspapers are available on microfilm in the Heritage Room at the Blasco Memorial Library in Erie, PA. Some of the titles include the Erie Gazette, the Erie Observer, the Erie Dispatch, Erie Dispatch-Herald, the Erie Daily Times, the Erie Morning News and the Erie Times-News. Some of the Erie County newspapers that are available on microfilm include the Cosmopolite (Girard, PA), the Corry Evening Journal and the Edinboro Independent. The library also has one German language newspaper on microfilm.

Newspaper Indexes

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 Index

  • The Erie County Library has compiled and maintains an paper and online obituary index for Erie County from 1822 to the present. The index comes from Erie newspapers and covers 1822 to the present. Microfilmed copies of the newspapers are located in the Heritage Room of the Blasco Memorial Library. The Information Services staff of the Library will do limited genealogical research or requests for obituaries by mail. There is a fee for this service.

Online Obituary Abstracts

Obituary Excerpts and Extracts

  • Smith, Gary V. and Corry Weekly Herald (Corry, Pennsylvania) 3000 Death Notices Covering Northwestern Pennsylvania and Southwestern New York Extracted from the Corry Weekly Herald (Corry, Pennsylvania) (Montgomery, Alabama:G.V. Smith, c1992) FHL film 1697903 items 1-2; book 974.899/C1 V4s

Other Records[edit | edit source]

Periodicals[edit | edit source]

Probate Records[edit | edit source]

Probate matters in Erie 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

Online Probate Records

Complete Collection:

Original Probate Records on Microfilm

School 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 the City of Erie began May 1, 1888. The birth registers for Erie City are maintained by the Erie County Historical Society. They have an agreement with Erie Society for Genealogical Research to handle all genealogy requests from walk-in researchers, people who phone, write in or e-mail requests for information on family history. These birth registers are not indexed and do not list the child's name. You must know the parent's name. If a delayed birth certificate was made then the child's name was added to the register. The records cannot be viewed by the general public.

Birth records for Erie County began in 1893. The Erie County Clerk of Records maintains birth records through 1905. Individuals are allowed to search these records. The birth records for Erie County were microfilmed by FamilySearch. These microfilms may be viewed at the Family History Library.

Marriage[edit | edit source]

Pennsylvania marriages were created by county officals. Contact Erie County Courthouse

Erie County marriages are maintained by the Clerk of Records. Erie County began recording marriages in 1885.

A online index with images to some Erie County marriages can be found in the FamilySearch Records Collection, Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885-1950. Most of the records consist of marriage licenses, certificates, applications, docket books, and affidavits. These records have been microfilmed.

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.

Death records for the city of Erie exist beginning July 5, 1875. They are available from the Erie Society for Genealogical Research (ESGR). According to their website "There are five volumes of the death records dating from July 5, 1875 to January 24, 1908. There are six volumes of indices for these records. Typical information found for each entry is: name, color, sex, age, marital status, occupation, date of death, cause of death, place of birth, ward number, street address, time of residence, name of physician, place of intended interment, date of intended interment, date of certificate, and name of undertaker." They have records to January 24, 1908. These records cannot be viewed by the general public. You may request ESGR to research the city vital records in your behalf.

Erie County began recording deaths in 1893. Records from 1893 -1905 are available at the Clerk of Records office in Erie City. You may request a death record from the Clerk of Records.

These county death records were microfilmed by FamilySearch.

Pennsylvania death certificates become public records after 50 years. An annual index is released by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Records less than 50 years old are kept by the Division of Vital Records and are not public certificates. Only certain people can request a non-public death certificate. To order a non-public representative you must be:

  • Legal representative of decedent's estate
  • Immediate family member
  • Extended family member who indicates a direct relationship to the decedent
  • Power of Attorney (Please note that a Power of Attorney document is no longer valid upon the death of the individual)

See the Pennsylvania Department of Health website to obtain a copy of a non-public death certificate.

Indexes for Pennsylvania public death records are available online through the Department of Health for 1906 through 1961.

Divorce[edit | edit source]

Divorce records are available through the office of the Prothonotary.

Research Facilities[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.

National Archives at Philadelphia
14700 Townsend Road
Philadelphia, PA 19154-1096
Phone: 215-305-2044
Fax: 215-305-2052
Website

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.

The main FHC for Erie County is the Erie Pennsylvania Family History Center. For additional nearby Family History Centers, search online in the FHC directory.
The Erie County Public Library (Raymond M. Blasco, M.D. Memorial Library) allows patrons to view limited-access FamilySearch databases.

Libraries[edit | edit source]

The Erie County Public Library System
Phone:814-451-6900
Website

The Erie County Public Library system is made up of five library locations and a Bookmobile.The Erie County Public Library maintains a large collection of genealogical materials. The majority of this collection is housed in the Heritage Room on the second floor of the Blasco Memorial Library. The focus of this collection is Northwestern Pennsylvania and the tri-state area. An important part of their holdings are the obituary indexes that cover 1822 to the present. The Heritage Room has microfilm copies of the Erie newspapers, going back to 1820. They also have microfilm copies of the 1800 to 1930 censuses for Erie County and selected censuses for other Pennsylvania counties. Additionally the library has city directories for Erie beginning in 1853 and suburban directories beginning in 1957. The library subscribes to Ancestry.com Library Edition and to HeritageQuest Online.

Museums[edit | edit source]

Erie Maritime Museum
150 East Front Street
Erie, PA 16507
Phone: 814-452-2744
Website
Museum of Erie County History
419 State St.
Erie, PA 16501
Phone: 814-454-1813

The museum explores the history of Erie County from pre-settlement to today. The museum is housed in the Erie County History Center.

Societies[edit | edit source]

Erie Society for Genealogical Research
P.O. Box 1403
Erie, PA 16512-1403
Website

The ESGR through their volunteer research committee will perform some research requests.
A valuable tool that the ESGR provides on their website is a name index to the Keystone Kuzzins publication.

Erie County Historical Society
419 State St.
Erie, PA 16501
Phone: 814-454-1813 Ext. 0
Website

Websites[edit | edit source]

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. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erie_County,_Pennsylvania accessed 2/2/2017
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Pennsylvania.At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  4. 4.0 4.1 History of Erie County, Pennsylvania, (Chicago: Warner, Beers and Co., 1884, [FHL book 974.899 H2h]
  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. History of Lawrence Park
  8. The Philadelphia Courts at Common Pleas accessed 10 July 2012
  9. Handybook, 847-61.
  10. List of turnpikes in New York in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia (accessed 6 November 2014).
  11. Turnpike in Routes in the Northeastern United States: Historic Trails, Roads and Migration Routes (accessed 6 November 2014). The Ancram Turnpike went from Springield, MA to Catskill, NY; and was called the Catskill Road.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Almira E Morgan, The Catskill Turnpike: A Wilderness Path (Ithaca, N.Y.: DeWitt Historical Society of Thompkins County, 1971), 5. Online digital copy.
  13. Catskill Turnpike in Routes in the Northeastern United States: Historic Trails, Roads and Migration Routes (accessed 6 November 2014). The Catskill Turnpike went west from Catskill, NY to Bath, NY; the east part was called the Susquehanna Turnpike.
  14. Huntting, 97-99.
  15. List of turnpikes in New York in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia (accessed 1 November 2014).
  16. Anastassia Zinke, The Susquehanna Turnpike and America's Frontier History in Catskill Mountain Foundation (accessed 1 November 2014).
  17. Joan Odess, The Susquehanna Turnpike (pdf accessed 1 November 2014).
  18. 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.
  19. Handybook, 850.
  20. Handybook, 850-51.
  21. Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/images/2/23/Igipennsylvaniac.pdf.