Difference between revisions of "Blair County, Pennsylvania Genealogy"

From FamilySearch Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
(Added Orphans Court Template)
(formatting change)
Line 357: Line 357:
[http://blair.pacounties.org/Pages/default.aspx Blair County Courthouse] <br>423 Allegheny St.<br>Hollidaysburg, PA 16648-2022<br>Phone: (814) 693-3000  
[http://blair.pacounties.org/Pages/default.aspx Blair County Courthouse] <br>423 Allegheny St.<br>Hollidaysburg, PA 16648-2022<br>Phone: (814) 693-3000  
Clerk of Court/Orphans' Court<br>Phone: (814) 693-3000<br><br>  
Clerk of Court/Orphans' Court<br>Phone: (814) 693-3000<br>
Prothonotary<br>1st floor of the OLD part of the Courthouse.<br>Phone: (814) 693-3080<br><br>
Prothonotary<br>1st floor of the OLD part of the Courthouse.<br>Phone: (814) 693-3080<br><br>

Revision as of 22:00, 7 September 2012

United StatesGotoarrow.png Pennsylvania Gotoarrow.png Blair County

Blair County, Pennsylvania
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Blair County
Location in the state of Pennsylvania
Map of the U.S. highlighting Pennsylvania
Location of Pennsylvania in the U.S.
Founded February 26, 1846
County Seat Hollidaysburg
Blair County, Pennsylvania Courthouse.jpg
Address Blair County Courthouse
423 Allegheny St.
Hollidaysburg, PA 16648-2022
Blair County Website
Adopt-a-wiki page
Pa-rootsbuttonwiki.gif This page adopted by:
PA Roots and its members
who welcome you to contribute.
Adopt a page today

Historical Facts

Beginning dates for major county records

Blair County Place Names

Courtesy of Blair County Genealogical Society: by Harry A. McGraw (1947)

Boundary Changes [3]

  • 27 January 1750: Blair County was part of Cumberland County when it was created.
  • 9 March 1771: Bedford County was created out of Cumberland County.
  • 20 Sep 1787: Huntingdon County was created out of Bedford County; all but a part of Greenfield Township split into Huntingdon County while the small part of Greenfield remained in Bedford County.


Bible Records


Samuel T. Wiley's Biographical and Portrait Cyclopedia of Blair County, 1892 including index.
Jesse C. Sell's Twentieth Century History of Altoona and Blair County, Pennsylvania, and Representative Citizens, 1911 including index.
Tarring S. Davis' History of Blair County, 1931 Includes index of biographies.


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

Online Grave Transcripts Published Grave Transcripts County Cemetery Directories


Family History Library Findagrave.com


WorldCat Names in Stone


Billion Graves

Pennsylvania Genealogy


Pennsylvania Gravestones

Billion Graves

Names in Stone

Access Genealogy


See Pennsylvania Cemeteries for more information.

Blair County Cemetery Survey

Woodbury Township

Biddle Farm Cemetery: on Clover Creek across the street from Snively Cemetery. Not to be confused with the Biddle Farm Cemetery on Plum Creek. Biddle Farm Cemetery on Clover Creek: Latitude 402553 N. Longitute 0781205 W. Transcription available (ca 1930/1970) in the George Liebegott Collection housed in the Martinsburg Public Library and also available on microfilm at the Family History Library. Cemetery restored in 2001 by Ramona Householder who published her findings in The Biddle Family Cemetery. Copies of the book The Biddle Family Cemetery are housed in the Blair County Genealogical Society and the Family History Library in Salt Lake.

Dell/Smith Farm Cemetery: on Clover Creek three miles east of Williamsburg. In very poor shape. Transcription available on Family History Library US/CAN Film 883,492. Not to be confused with another Smith Cemetery, also located in Blair County that no longer exists.

Saint John's Cemetery: at Shellytown near Clover Creek. Transcription (ca 1950/1970) available in the George Liebegott Collection housed at the Martinsburg Public Library, Martinsburg, PA and also on microfilm through the Family History Library.

Snively Cemetery: on Clover Creek. Cemetery in great shape (2001). Transcription available at the Martinsburg Public Libary in Martinsburg, PA in a brownish folder/book titled Snively Cemetery and published 1983 in Williamsburg, PA.

Huston Township

Ditch Cemetery: Transcription available in Ditch Cemetery File at the Blair County Genealogical Society.

Taylor Township

Biddle/Hoover/Smith Farm Cemetery:  located near East Sharpsburg, Taylor Twp, on left side of road (back behind house) down Plum Creek. Further down Plum Creek Road than Snowberger Cemetery. In poor shape (2001). Won't be able to see it from the road unless you have been their before. 1936 transcription done by George Liebegott and reposited in the George Liebegott Collection at the Martinsburg Public Libary, Martinsburg, PA and also on microfilm through the Family History Library.

East Sharpsburg/St. John's Reformed Church/Umbower Cemetery: located by St. John's Reformed Church in East Sharpsburg, PA. Transcription available in the Martinsburg Public Library Genealogical Room. Transcription for oldest section done in 1979, the remainder in 1992.

Snowberger Cemetery: located near East Sharpsburg, Taylor Twp, on left side of road down Plum Creek. 1936 transcription done by George Liebegott and reposited in the George Liebegott Collection at the Martinsburg Public Libary, Martinsburg, PA and also on microfilm through the Family History Library. Cemetery in good shape (2001).


For tips on accessing Blair 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

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.

Blair county pennsylvania churches.png
Finding Church Records at Other Repositories

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

County-wide Database - Multi-denominational

Denominationd in Blair County include Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist Episcopal, Presbyterian, and others.

Contains church records of:
  • Altoona: First United Methodist Church; First United Presbyterian Church; St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • Barnesboro: Duncansville Presbyterian Church
  • Hollidaysburg: First Presbyterian Church; First United Methodist Church; Martinsburg Methodist Episcopal Church
  • Tyrone: First Presbyterian Church
  • Williamsburg: St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church; Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • The Blair County Genealogical Society has over 160 publications for sale, many of which are Church records. By clicking on the titles, one can see a sample page from the book

Court Records

Blair County, Pennsylvania Genealogy court records are housed at the Blair 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

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. Blair County, Pennsylvania Genealogy 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.[4]

Clerk of the Court

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.[5] For the Blair County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Clerk of Courts address see the Courthouse section on this page.


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 Blair County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Prothonotary office information.

Orphan's Court

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.[6]

For Blair 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 Blair County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Court Records in online catalogs like:

Emigration and Immigration

Ethnic Groups





Published Histories

Land and Property

Land records in Blair County began in 1846. These records are filed with the Register of Wills and Recorder of Deeds office in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania. Blair County Genealogical Society holds the original deed books from 1846-?. (The most recent deed books are at the courthouse.)

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

  • 1973–present Blair County offers online access to land records. Fees apply.

Land Warrants

Additional Resources

Note that the "Maps" section below 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 Blair County Pennsylvania Land in online catalogs such as:


https://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/images/e/e5/Blair_county_pennsylvania_townships.pngBlair county pennsylvania townships.png
About this image
Click the image to view an enlarged version

  • The 1873 Atlas of Blair and Huntingdon Counties From actual Surveys by and under the direction of Beach Nicholas, Published by A. Pomeroy & Co. has been placed online at the usgenwebarchives.  The atlas shows many landowners, populated places, and landmarks, and is invaluable when used with the 1860, 1870 and 1880 censuses.



Naturalization and Citizenship


Blair 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 Blair County

Online Newspapers

To learn if there are newspapers on line 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 and Indexes

Newspaper Excerpts and Abstracts

  • Claar, Archie C., WWII Newspaper Clippings, Blair County, Pennsylvania (SLC, Utah, 2004) FHL film 1573626

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 and Index

  • Obituary Index: The Obituary Index lists the dates that local obituaries appeared in the Altoona Mirror. It is searchable by last name or maiden name. It currently covers the period from 1936 to the present. Once an obituary date is located a patron can visit the library and print it from the library's microfilm or patrons who cannot visit the library may order prints from the library to be mailed to the patron for a nominal fee.
  • Blair County Obituaries at Blair County, Pennsylvania USGenWeb Archives Includes:
Archie Claar Obituary Collection 1934-1942
Altoona Mirror Obituaries 1998-2003
Morrisons Cove Herald Obituary Abstracts 2006-2007
Miscellaneous Obituaries

Obituary Excerpts and Abstracts

  • Claar, Archie, edited and indexed by Jan Oberle and James D. Boor, Obituary Clippings [in Blair and Bedford Counties, Pennsylvania] (Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania:Hoenstine's, 1990-1996) FHL book 974.87 V4c volume 1-66 Photocopy of newspaper clippings. Each volume contains an index.
  • Altoona Mirror, Altoona Mirror Obituary Collection; Also Known as Old Greenfield Township Obituary Collection (SLC, Utah, 2001) FHL film 2259074 (first of 14)
  • Weston, June L. Hoffman (editor), Civil War Veterans' Obituaries, Articles, Letters and Photographs (Hollidaysburg, PA:Blair County Genealogical Society [Pennsylvania], 2005-2010) FHL book 974.875 M2w 1861-1910


Indentured Servants


Poorhouse, Almshouse

Probate Records

Probate matters in Blair County, Pennsylvania Genealogy are handled by the Orphans' Court and start when the county was created. To obtain original probate records, contact the Orphan's Court in the County Courthouse.

In addition to wills and administrations, the Orphans' Court also handles: audits of accounts of executors, administrators, trustees, and guardians; distribution of estates of decedents, incompetents, and minors; appointment and control of guardians; adoptions; appeals from the Register of Wills involving probate matters; 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 FamilySearch.org. 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:

Blair 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 Blair County, Pennsylvania Genealogy probate wills in online catalogs like:


  • 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.


Blair County Courthouse
423 Allegheny St.
Hollidaysburg, PA 16648-2022
Phone: (814) 693-3000

Clerk of Court/Orphans' Court
Phone: (814) 693-3000

1st floor of the OLD part of the Courthouse.
Phone: (814) 693-3080

Family History Centers

Blair County Library System
1600 Fifth Avenue
Altoona, PA 16601
Phone: (814) 946-0417 ext. 132


Railroaders Memorial Museum
1300 Ninth Ave.
Altoona, PA 16602
Phone: (814) 946-0834

Genealogical Society
Historical Society
  • Blair County Historical Society
    3419 Oak Lane
    Altoona, PA 16602
    Phone: (814) 942-3916

    Mailing Address:
    P.O. Box 1083
    Altoona, PA 16603
    E-mail: bchs@hotmail.com

The Office/Research Library of the Tyrone Area Historical Society is located in the northeastern end of the Tyrone Shopping Center. The library contains a sizable collection of books, newspapers, genealogies, historical maps, and other reference materials pertinent to all areas of Tyrone History. Several Tyrone-related artifacts also are on display.

Hours: Wednesdays 1–4 P.M. year-round or by appointment with a board member


Vital Records

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.


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

  • 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.
  • Delayed Birth Index: Individuals who were born before 1906 at Blair County Genealogical Society website.

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


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


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 Blair County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Vital Records in online catalogs like:

Web Sites


Populated Places


  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), [FHL book 973 D27e 2002].
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Adams County, Pennsylvania" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adams_County,_Pennsylvania (accessed 17 July 2012).
  3. Pennsylvania line : a research guide to Pennsylvania genealogy and local history, 1990 ed. (Laughlintown, Pa.: Southwest Pennsylvania Genealogical Services, 1990), [FHL book 974.8 D27p 1990].
  4. The Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania http://www.pacourts.us/T/CommonPleas/accesssed 10 July 2012.
  5. Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania, Clerk of Courts in http://www.pacourts.us/T/CommonPleas/ClerksOfCourts.htm (accessed 25 Aug 2012)
  6. The Philadelphia Courts at http://www.courts.phila.gov/common-pleas/orphans/ accessed 10 July 2012